If you have ever wondered what it would be like to move abroad and house sit, then all your questions will be answered today. To give us all the inside information on pet sitting, please welcome Jemma and James.
1. Firstly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you are from and your background. My name is James and I *work* as a pet sitter along with my partner Jemma. I’ve highlighted work, because Jemma and I don’t charge for what we do. We housesit for free, because it gives us an opportunity to live in a new place surrounded by pets. I guess you could call us Pet Hooligans! Currently we’re looking after a house (and the very adorable included cat and dog) in the South of France for five months.
2. You are currently working as a Pet Sitter, how did that come about? Both Jemma and I were stuck in a conundrum for some time which is that we both wanted to travel, but at the same time we wanted to live a semi-normal life; especially one that included pets. We were about to put off the idea of travelling all together until we discovered pet sitting. Although we initially built our own website to try and find petsits, we now find most of our housesits through the jobs page on Trusted Housesitters.
3. How long have you been doing this and what benefits has it brought to your life? We initially started out by taking on petsits for a week here and there but have been pet sitting full-time for around a year now. I don’t even know where to begin with the benefits: being able to travel and yet at the same time have pets in your life is absolutely amazing. We’ve also got to visit some really interesting parts of France and the world that we probably wouldn’t have known about had we not responded to a pet sitting advert.
4. Please tell us a little about your typical day. A typical day always starts by getting woken up by the pets. I don’t mind though; I’d be in the wrong job if I did.
Most pets are quite excited about having a new friend, so they usually burst in first thing in the morning and lick our faces. I usually grab a coffee and take them out to do their business and later on we’ll take any dogs out for a walk and make sure everything else is fine around the house.
Both Jemma and I work for companies in the UK, so we usually turn one room into an office and spend most of the day in there working. The pets (in the case of this housesit a cat and a dog) usually come and join us as they like the company.
Throughout the day we’ll break up our day by walking them, feeding them and playing with them.
In the evenings, we usually tend to relax and read a book or watch a film.
5. Are there any disadvantages to pet sitting or anything to take into consideration. It’s a lifestyle that involves a lot of interaction with the pets so if you’re not the kind of person who likes pets on the bed with you or them licking your face first thing in the morning it’s not for you. For us, saying goodbye at the end of a petsit is always difficult.
6. Have you always loved animals and had pets in your life? We’ve both always loved pets but not always been lucky enough to have them in our lives. Just before we started pet sitting, we lived in a rented flat and weren’t allowed to keep anything larger than a goldfish. I imagine this is a scenario a lot of pet lovers find themselves in.
7. Please tell us a little about any of the pets that you have looked after, and as this is Pet Hooligans, whether they ever get into any mischief? Oh so much mischief! We looked after one dog who used to love to rip up footballs and every day he would sneak into the neighbour’s garden to steal their son’s latest footballs. We had to learn how to apologise in French very quickly!
Another lot of dogs rounded up a field of cattle once which meant more apologizing. The dog we’re currently looking after (Cassie) likes to chase an old lady who cycles past the house each day. I think it’s good exercise for her though! (Both Cassie and the old lady.)
8. What are your plans for the future, is pet sitting something that you want to continue doing? Absolutely. We are always on the lookout for new adventures and are currently applying for housesits in Spain and Portugal!
9. If people are interested in doing something similar, what is the best way to get started and do you have any tips for them. I would probably start by reading some of the profiles of other pet sitters on TrustedHousesitters.com. From there you’ll have some good ideas of what to write when you put together your own profile.
References are very important, but often when you’re starting out these can be difficult to get. For that reason I would suggest pet sitting for friends and family first. This will give you a good idea of what’s involved and of course if everything goes well you’ll have a pet sitting reference to add to your profile. Once you’ve got a few under your belt you can begin applying for some of the pet sitting opportunities that pop up.
10. Finally, if people want to learn more about you do you have a website, Facebook page or Twitter profile where they can learn more? Here’s our house sitting profile which gives a bit more information about us. You can also read about our adventures in looking after a farm of alpacas here.