Every so often, Bruce and I talk about going on vacation. And it sounds awesome. Like really awesome, but then I get these visual flashes in my head and the flashes have fur. Ugh, what to do with your pets when you go out of town? I feel very fortunate that I have a cat sitter whom I adore. Like adore. If I won the lottery I’d convince her to be our live in cat lover. But what to do with the dogs?
We luckily have an agreement with my brother-in-law that he would take Chip if we needed to go out of town, but Milo. Oh boy. Last time we left Milo with my parents, they warned me that if my son ends up as spoiled as my dog I’m in big trouble. Taking him to a boarding facility is out of the question as I think he would die of anxiety. Dropping him off at an in-home dog sitting service is an option, but I have a feeling he’d feel most comfortable if he stayed at our place. That’s where the Housesitting Couple could come in handy.
Jenna and James are freelance writers who travel the world by offering their services as both house and pet sitters. They offer their services, such as tending to your pets, gardening, picking up the mail, in exchange for a place to stay in a new area. “Both of us had wanted to travel for quite some time but since we work as freelancers (or were planning to), we couldn’t see setting up office in a hostel working practically or setting up office in a hotel working financially,” Jenna and James tell Pawesome. “Before we discovered house sitting, we hadn’t envisioned an option that would allow us to work in very comfortable surroundings whilst also having pets around us.”
The couple began house and pet sitting a few years back, though only for a week or two here and there. In July, the couple took the plunge and moved to France for the next nine months to sit various places around the same area. In the fall, in fact, Jemma and James will be looking after an alpaca farm! “We try and get a few housesits close to each other, both in terms of dates and location, so that we can stay in one area for quite a while,” Jenna and James explain. While they call themselves the Housesitting Couple, “every assignment so far has included pets so perhaps ‘the pet sitting couple’ would have been a better name. Most people are willing to leave their house in the hands of fate, but not their pets. It isn’t so much the cost of kennels that puts people off; but rather the conditions of some of them and the fact that their pets are used to one-on-one attention. In most of our house sits with dogs, a daily dog walk lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours. You could never expect that of a kennel for practical reasons, which is why a lot of pet owners turn to house sitters like us.”
Jenna and James find the majority of their gigs via TrustedHousesitters.com, which screens sitters and posts queries from home owners in need of a sitter.
As someone who can’t go out of town without seeking out the local animal community, I can see how staying in a pet’s home would make being in a foreign land that much more comfortable. “It’s great that they’re a part of our lives even when we’re travelling; we could never have imagined that as being possible,” say Jenna and James. “If there was a hotel that had pets as part of the experience, people would flock to it — pets and travel is just something that hasn’t been done before, but many of us see it as the most sensible idea ever.” Here, here!
Images: Jenna and James