Being a city girl I had very little experience and exposure to farm animals, except for the mandatory Sunday afternoon drives my Dad insisted on taking the family on, which inevitably found us lost in a cow paddock or caught up in a flock of sheep across the road. These occasions are not amongst my most favourite childhood memories. Though well intentioned as quality family time, I likened it to slow, repetitive torture, but fortunately it didn’t leave any irreversible impressions of cows and sheep.
So it was with a sense of adventure and desire to experience country life that we accepted a house sitting assignment on a hobby farm, on approximately 3 acres, in a rural area. There were 2 cows, 1 sheep, 1 horse, 4 chickens, a cat, 2 dogs and a budgie.
The cows, Wallace and Gromit, were young and surprisingly cute with their big brown eyes. The sheep was obstinate and always fighting with the cows over the food. He was not very popular and earned himself the name of “Sunday Roast”. (No prizes for guessing his future!)
Jazz the horse was a majestic black, gentle giant, which was lucky for me as I volunteered to take care of rugging him. Needless to say I was a little nervous at first, standing behind him and threading straps between his legs to secure his rug. That is truly a position of trust for any male allowing a stranger to handle their back end! But such is the new experiences of a House and Pet Sitter.
Being quite short, as I am, was also a bit of a challenge to throw the rug over the top of his back, but he was very patient, and I improved over time, and with the help of a few carrots we became good friends. Fortunately the duties didn’t extend to riding him, as that was reserved for the owner, much to my relief.
Even though we had written instructions for the care of all the animals, which we highly recommend, it was wonderful to spend the day with the owners, before they left, to be shown how to do everything, so that when they left the next day we all felt confident about our ability to handle all the house and pet sitting duties, so the owners left with peace of mind and comfort knowing everything would be taken care of.
So your are going on that well deserved holiday and you have heard about using House Sitters to look after your beloved furry friend(s). Well The first thing to consider is where will you find your ideal House & Pet Sitter, which can get quite confusing.
There are other important factors to take into consideration before composing your House Sitting Advertisement that will make a huge difference between getting your choice of Ideal House Sitters, or as is happening these Christmas Holidays, missing out completely on getting anybody.
So to assist you in securing your Ideal House sitter we have included our top suggested essential elements to consider in your holiday planning.
Plan Ahead for House Sitter's Sake
Don’t leave your planning to the last minute!
Let's face it, if you don't want to leave your best friends with just anybody and your preference is to have Pet & House sitters, you will need to advertise in plenty of time to have the best chance of finding that someone suitable and for the dates you require.
One thing we have noticed is how many home owners miss out on securing sitters because they leave their advertising too late, particularly over the busy Christmas – New Year period, and Easter holidays.
Another thing to consider is you may even need to be prepared to pay for House & Pet Sitters over these peak periods because there is such a high demand. This could especially be the case if you are not located in a popular area, and for it to be as attractive to Sitters as other areas would be. Even kennels & catteries are heavily booked over these periods, so don’t assume that this can be a back up plan as you may be disappointed.
Think About Your Dates from a House Sitters Point of View
When planning your holiday and knowing that you require House Sitters, think about the dates of your departure and arrival home. If you are going away over peak periods, such as Christmas and Easter, you may wish to look at the Public holidays and extend your dates before and after them, to make it more convenient and attractive to house sitters. For example: arriving on Xmas Day or departing on New Years Eve, may not suit many house sitters, so you are limiting your options, as the more attractive and convenient you make it the more choice you will have.
House Sitter Accommodation
If you are planning to leave early in the morning, you may wish to have the House Sitters arrive the day/night before, so as you have time to meet them (if you haven’t prior to this), go over the instructions, and do the “hand-over” tasks. If you don’t have the room to accommodate your House Sitters overnight, then you could offer alternate suggestions in your area, if they are not local. We can assure you that when you take these little things into consideration getting quality Pet & House Sitters will not be an issue at any time.
If you are flying to your holiday destination, you may wish to consider asking your House Sitters if they would be able to drive you to the airport, and/or collect you, as sometimes this is the easiest option and is something we have been happy to do. Additionally an attractive option for some House & Pet Sitters is the use of a car over their stay and can sometimes make the difference in getting that Sitter.
The simple facts are that the more time and consideration you put into your planning in using a House a Pet Sitter, the better your chances are of securing your Ideal house & Pet Sitters and keeping your beloved furry fury friends safe, happy and loved, giving you peace of mind and a relaxed time away.
We were fortunate to care for two of the cutest dogs, who were full of personality and very affectionate. This is what epitomises the fun of pet sitting and dog sitting.
Arriving in the dry country area of central Queensland, there wasn’t too much to be excited about, however the home owners were so lovely and inviting and their dogs were gorgeous, so we were very happy to be there. After being taken out for lunch and being shown around the town, we settled in to the house and got to know the owners and the dogs a little better.
Everything was going along nicely until we were watching the 4pm news and heard that Qantas was grounding flights due to industrial action. Well our home owners were due to fly out on their holiday the next afternoon on Qantas, so they were thrown into a state of panic! Quick thinking by Gavin enabled them to book on to another flight, although they would now be departing from an airport 2 hours away instead of locally. Consequently we offered to drive them there, which meant a 4 hour round trip for us, but hey it meant that they could still go on their holiday and we were able to continue our house sit. It was very unusual circumstances, but being flexible and resourceful is part of being a good pet sitter and house sitter.
From there on everything went smoothly and the dogs were an absolute delight to care for.
Check out the video below to see the girls in action when we were going “walkies”.
After a big run in the park the dogs were happy to relax at home and cool themselves on the tiled floor.
It looked like synchronized sleeping, and that’s pretty much how they slept on the end of our bed each night, very quiet and still. The area itself didn’t have much to offer as far as places of interest go, however we went further afield to explore the Gem fields one day, and experienced panning for sapphires.
Needless to say we didn’t make our fortune, but scored a few small sapphires and had fun doing it. We finished up the day visiting the private mining plots and were amused at how serious they take themselves, as seen by this sign.
Luckily Qantas had sorted out their flights by the time the owners were due to return and we were able to collect them from the local airport. The dogs were so excited to have them home and the owners were pleased to see the dogs looking so happy and healthy.
Which is definitely a result of being cared for in their own environment and having lots of TLC. It was sad to say goodbye to such lovely dogs and people, and we hope to meet up with them again one day.
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