Daisy and I ran after rabbits today. Squirrels darted up trees. We jumped mole hills and rabbit holes and sniffed nervously at fox burrows. I’m sure one of us would have caught something if we weren’t attached to each other by a lead.
Every day we move around the garden wetting down the strawberries and the new lawn seed. We sprinkle water gently onto tiny, almost see-through green tomato plants and turn them daily to help them grow up straight, with sun on all sides.
I now know how to deadhead daffodils, look after a dog on heat (not that she is yet thankfully!) and how not to clean a self-cleaning oven.
It’s vital to jot down your homeowners’ instructions as they race out the door to their waiting holiday, but when push comes to shove, its Google to the rescue!
Housesitting is a learning opportunity. It’s also a rare chance to live cheaply (usually for free), in often incredible homes, lovely settings and interesting countries all around the world. There, you can be alone if you want to be or intermingle with the neighbours and community.
“Aren’t you just being a scab?”, someone asked me, meaning taking unfair advantage. That had crossed my mind too at first…but when Daisy is scratching at your bedroom door at 6 in the morning, it’s not just a one-way street.
It turns out that some sitters even get paid! Often with pets you can’t leave the house for more than an hour or two at a time. A pet sitter is much cheaper than a cattery or kennels and less unsettling for our furry friends! In other words, a pet sitter can be worth fighting over!
To add to my peace of mind, and in the hope of a re-sit or good testimonial, I also try to do little extras to make sure the arrangement is win-win.
You might agree to do certain jobs around the property anyway. Imagine coming home from holiday to a freshly stocked fridge and spring cleaned home, firewood chopped or overdue quotes obtained.
But regardless, doing a little something extra like cooking a dinner for the owners’ first night back, cleaning the windows or picking some flowers to welcome them home can add that touch of magic!
So, Daisy and I feel quite fine about things thanks! A privilege for me definitely – hang on, its time to feed the cats – but hopefully good for the owners too.
I’d hate you to nab all the good spots, but if you want to try housesitting, or to find a sitter (and there’s none among your friends), websites like http://www.trustedhousesitters.com and http://www.mindmyhouse.com are good places to start. Some countries also have local agencies for paid sitters. You might just love it!
Toodles! Rabbits to chase, poems to write and curtains to draw shut!