While many of us may not take a holiday abroad this year, if you’re
planning a getaway of some sort and have a pet (or a menagerie like me), take a
note of this website address: www.trustedhousesitters.com
I have twice used Trusted Housesitters and both times I couldn’t have
had more pleasant or more responsible people looking after our two dogs, three
cats, plants and vegetables.
I discovered the website some years ago having finally exhausted the
possibility of yet again asking neighbours, friends and family to house sit. Finding the site was like regaining my
IT IS A FANTASTIC idea allowing pet owners to go on holiday without first
having to laboriously find and check out a good dog or cat kennels (which can
cost a fortune and also be a very harsh experience for animals unused to being
away from home). It means one’s house is not left empty in one’s absence and it
provides the perfect opportunity for animal lovers – most of whom seem to be
retirees or IT professionals - to travel around the world, sometimes even
hopping from one sit to another, entirely rent free.
The annual subscription to Trusted Housesitters is very reasonable (at
circa £90) and it has a very well organised and user-friendly website. There
are references for all house sitters – based on feedback from their previous
sits – and likewise there are references from the house sitters with regard to
the home owners and their animals.
I imagine most people, like myself, would choose a sitter with a history
of sitting (which must make it difficult for first-timers), but it’s very
reassuring to read endless rave reviews as to a person’s reliability and
empathy for the animals they have cared for.
The website is global with people from all over the world offering their
services. Sits can be for as short as a week or even for months at a time. Cortona
would appear to be a very popular destination which means anyone looking to
find a house/pet sitter here, will be spoiled for choice, but wherever you are
based in the world, there seem to be lots of travel-hungry people open to most
any kind of setting.
As a suggestion, I would say it’s best to make your post some months in
advance of your holiday so that before you book your travel dates, you already
have a confirmed sitter: Your initial post can be flexible i.e. one can request
a sitter during the month of July; once you have decided upon your sitter, you
can narrow the timelines down as and when you book your holiday.
There are clear guidelines as to what is expected from both parties, as
there are for cancellations etc.. To roughly summarise: You are requested to
provide your sitters with a space of their own i.e. a cleared out bedroom with
wardrobe space, a clean and tidy house and a ‘manual’ of what to do with your
pets inclusive of diets, medications, emergency numbers etc…
From my own experience, all sitters have come the day before departure
in order to ‘bond’ with the beasts and be shown where things are and how they
function. One can request daily updates on your animals’ well-being or request just
the occasional phone call.
Apart from the Trusted Housesitters
annual subscription, there is nothing else to pay for this quite literally
‘liberating’ service: the sitters pay for their own travel arrangements and car
hire (should you not have a car to lend them) and in exchange they stay rent
free in your home albeit while looking after your furry friends.
All of the photographs above were taken by Wiebke and Boris, our
wonderful house sitters last summer whom – as you can see – our animals
obviously adored; Wiebke and Boris with
whom we remain in touch, assure us the feeling was mutual!