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11 hacks for travelling with a dog

11 hacks for travelling with a dog

At one point or another, you may end up travelling with a dog (aka your best mate!). You don’t have to have trepidation about it as it can actually prove to be a great time for both you and your pooch.

In order to make things easier while you are travelling with a dog, you should utilise the following 11 travel hacks below 🥰

 

1. When travelling with a dog, bring a dryer sheet

Many dogs tend to get very nervous when it’s thundering and lightening outside. They often get scared because of static electricity builds up in their fur.

You can use a dryer sheet to calm them down.

Simply rub it over their fur to get rid of static electricity buildup. It’s a quick and easy way to calm them down when it’s stormy outside.

 

2. Book travel based on your dog’s schedule

It’s imperative that you book your travel at the right time. You don’t want to be taking off on a flight or starting a long car ride during the time of day when your dog has the most energy. This is why you should book your travel based on your dog’s schedule.

Try to make your travel plans for when you know he will be tired and want to nap. While there’s no guarantee that he will actually sleep, your travels will go a whole lot easier if he snoozes for at least part of it.

👉If your schedules don’t match up, have you considered engaging a pet and house sitter? Find out more

 

3. Pack a squeegee when travelling with a dog

Squeegees aren’t just for cleaning car windows. They can actually be very beneficial at cleaning up dog hair. You can use it to get up hair on carpets, furniture or beds.

 

4. Get the contact information for vets at your destination

Unfortunately, dogs can get sick or become injured when you are travelling. Because of this, you need to know where the nearest vet is. You don’t want to wait until there’s an emergency in order to find a vet.

Research vets at your destination beforehand. Reach out to them to make sure that they are taking new patients.

If they are, keep their contact information handy just in case you need it while you are at your destination.

how to travel with a dog

 

5. Strategise so that they’ll need to relieve themselves less on travel days

You probably don’t want to stop constantly so that your dog can relieve himself. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do so that he will need to go potty less.

Don’t feed him or give him water right before you walk out of the door. You may want to feed him or give him water so that he’s not hungry or thirsty, but he will just need to relieve himself at an inopportune time.

Try giving him something to eat or drink about an hour before you walk out of the door.

 

6. Use a pet carrier that has wheels

Carrying your dog around over long periods of time can be difficult. You can make it easier on yourself by getting a pet carrier that has wheels. This will allow you to safely navigate your way around a crowded airport without putting your dog’s safety in jeopardy. Just make sure that he is used to it well ahead of travel time.

Do a few practice runs in the weeks leading up to your vacation. In order to make it easier for him or her, put a favourite toy or blankets in it as well.

 

7. Bring an indoor potty system

There may be times where you can’t take your dog outside to relieve himself. This is where an indoor potty system can come in handy.

You can use it when your dog gets sick and needs somewhere to go pretty quickly. It also might be forbidden to let your dog relieve himself outside of your holiday destination, or you might find that it’s very rainy out and isn’t safe to take him outside.

No matter what the reason may be, he can use the indoor potty system to relieve himself. You won’t have to deal with accidents because there wasn’t a place to take him to do so.

 

8. Pack baking soda

Even dogs that have been potty trained for a long time can have accidents while travelling.

If your dog pees on a carpet, you can easily clean this up with a bit of baking soda. All you need to do is sprinkle it over the wet spot. In a few minutes it will absorb all of the urine.

 

9. Portion their food beforehand

You want to make sure that you pack the right amount of food for your dog. One way to do this is by portioning it before you travel.

Pack a day’s worth of food in a sealable bag. This will ensure that your dog gets the right amount of food, and you won’t have to travel with dog food that you won’t end up using.

travelling with a dog

 

10. Have an extra collar and leash

One of the most misplaced items when travelling is a collar or leash. This is why you need to have an extra of both. You don’t want to let your dog run around without a leash or collar, and there might not be a retailer near your hotel where you can purchase one.

 

11. Pack a can of chicken broth

Dogs can easily get upset tummies when they are travelling. If your dog just has a little bit of motion sickness, you don’t necessarily have to run to the vet.

Chicken broth can help soothe their stomach.

Place a little bit of it in his/her water to drink. Chicken broth is packed with nutrients, and it can make him feel better pretty quickly. Just make sure that you choose a chicken broth that’s low in sodium as too much salt isn’t good for dogs.

Travelling with your dog can prove to be a very enjoyable time for the both of you. If you will be travelling with your dog soon, make sure you utilise some of the travel hacks mentioned above. By doing so, you will ensure that both you and your dog have a great time no matter where in the world you go.

 

Got questions or other tips? Let us know in the comments.

Can’t take your pooch with you on holidays? Have a read about other options so they’re well cared for while you’re away 💕

 

 

Lessons on how to rehome a dog

Lessons on how to rehome a dog

Before Cooper and I set off on this house and pet sitting adventure, our intention was to be surrounded by dogs. Humbled by our experiences along the way, we have learnt eye-opening facts on how to properly rehome a dog. Our biggest lessons came in Malta, and we want to share with you here.

 

A family of rehomed dogs

In Malta we cared for nine dogs on our house sit. Geoff and Theresa initiated us into their family as Cooper and I each took hold of our own set of pooches. We got to understand their routines and personalities, and a highlight of each day was, of course, walk time!

Each morning in a flurry of excitement, fur babies of all shapes and sizes danced around the kitchen. Collars and leads were attached, although I can’t say patience is a strength of these cheeky dogs.

I took 12 year old Smudge – food lover, Dalmatian cross, big personality. In my other hand I had little Spike, the dog with nine lives, and old soul Eliza, mum to the fox terriers Cooper was handling, Christa and Giselle.

Geoff and Theresa showed us the ropes before they went away. Fearful giant Zula went with Geoff. We likened her to the lion who had lost courage. He also had ‘the Queen’, Amy, a type of woolly Sicilian sheep dog.

Our ‘dog whisperer’ Theresa, would wait behind and bring her two special rescued dogs. Rusty is just a pup, simply terrified; and Percy, a Dachshund mix, won’t look at anyone but Theresa.

We’d need to get to understand their characters before tackling these walks on our own. I’m pleased to say we did master it.

Smudge and Sarah on our Malta house sit

 

Navigating ‘Cat Alley’

Geoff and Theresa led the charge on the first few days we were all together. Determined to learn, we followed their instructions. Each day our dogs would go to the field behind their home, to play together and with other rehomed dogs.

Getting to the field meant navigating Cat Alley. Now that’s an adventure.

 

We’d all leave the house, one set of pups at a time, keeping an eye out for cars coming past the front door on the narrow road outside.

Spike doesn’t like motorbikes – he tries to attack them.

I had to learn quickly:

  • That a dog on a lead chasing motorbikes means all dogs I am holding onto will get tangled up!
  • If you’ve got a strong pup you need to be careful they don’t get away and run in front of a car. Use your good arm 👍
  • I also learned the hard way that my finger kept slipping on the ‘release’ button on the lead. This meant my leads would extend at exactly the time I didn’t want my dogs running away from me! Rookie errors.

👉Read: 6 lessons learnt as pet sitters, and things YOU need to know

 

Out the door: under 20 seconds ’til we’d turn the corner.

The Malta sun blazed upon us, even at this early hour. I’d see Cooper and Geoff ahead, core strength at work as they held onto their sets for dear life.

Welcome to Cat Alley, where the dogs go crazy. Christa and Giselle especially, their little frames finding tiger-like strength each day, as they dragged forth, onward towards their nemesis.

Cats on car tops glaring down, or scaling trees, scoffing at our spectacle. Then we’d spot them on the road ahead, taunting the dogs! Cat Alley. A dog’s worst nightmare? Or dog owner’s?

 

The strategy for getting through here was to be quick and strong. As a team, we’d managing our yelping, excited pack, quietly hoping a lead wouldn’t snap, and doing our utmost to prevent the dogs from tangling and running into each other.

Old Smudge would always stop at the most inconvenient time to do his business here too. Honestly if he wasn’t so damn cute… !

Sarah Blinco and Cooper Dawson on house sit with 9 dogs in Malta

 

Field of dreams

After undoubtedly the most active four minutes of the day, our double-gate entry to the field is in sight!

There’s two gates here for a special reason. Many of the dogs are anxious or hyper-sensitive. So, we bring them into a holding area and shut the outside gate so no-one disappears down Cat Alley and onto the street. Second gate opens, and our group flies into their freedom field.

Theresa, Geoff, Cooper and I put down our leads, fill up water bowls and lead the dogs around the field to play.

A friend of the field, Caroline, gave us a tip:

Always keep walking, don’t let a group of dogs congregate while owners chat and gossip – it can lead to ‘too much excitement’ (or a brawl).

 

The field, rented by Theresa and Geoff, is an important space that helps dogs socialise and get into a happier frame of mind.

Sicily is about two hours’ ferry ride from Malta, and there’s a terrible homeless dog problem there.

Sarah and my family of pups in Malta

 

Rescue dogs and their families

Cooper and I have met many beautiful rescue pups over the past year. Their families shared with us meticulous details on any anxiety or behaviour to care for in their rehomed dogs. It’s a privilege to have been able to get to know so many beautiful personalities. In Malta, we were followed around, up and down stairs; The dogs snuggled with us in the lounge at TV time, demanded cheese at meal time, and lapped up love at bedtime. We love them!

Parents of all of the rescue dogs we’ve met care deeply about their fur family, and have been matched with their furever pups. But there are heartbreaking stories of terribly high ‘return’ rates to shelters that we have heard of too.

 

How to rehome a dog – things we can learn

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a dog person and/or you are looking to rehome a dog too. All dogs, like people, have unique personalities. To effectively place a dog in its furever home, a proper match needs to be made.

Theresa and Geoff explained more about this to us when we spent time with them, and in the video above ☝

The dogs they’ve rescued have been through TRAUMA: neglect, serious abuse, abandonment.

It’s why some of our babies on the house sit were reticent to be too near to us.

Theresa and Geoff have a really low ‘return’ rate. They put in the time to match families and dogs though, as you’ll see in the video above.

 

Adoption and rehoming tips

Details we garnered to help you find your perfect pooch:

  1. See what you can find out about the dog’s personality and background. Does he/she need to run around, are they best with a family, or a couple/single?
  2. Will the breed/personality be right for your circumstances – do you have young kids?
  3. How active is your dog going to need to be, and can you cater for this?
  4. Have you considered an older dog, not just a puppy? There are so many benefits to rehoming older dogs who have just been down on their luck. Puppies are NOT right for everyone.
  5. Are you willing to socialise your dog – take them to a dog park and to learn to play with others?
  6. A dog deserves love for life, and you should be able to pay for vet bills if required.

 

Theresa and Geoff are always on the lookout for good homes for dogs they rescue. Show your support and get in contact via their Facebook page, Adopt a Sicilian Stray.

 

 

House sitting Australia guide

House sitting Australia guide

In response to readers’ questions we’ve produced a house sitting Australia guide. While Cooper and I have our sitting experience in the UK and Europe (so far), we are Australian, and happy to offer insight into an incredible destination.

If you dream of spending time Down Under, house sitting in Australia is a great option. Here we’ll share with you options on what sites to use, and where to go in Australia as a house sitter.

Meet our Aussie animals while house sitting

 

What is house sitting?

House sitting is where you take care of someone else’s house – and often, pets – in exchange for free accommodation. Some people do get paid to house sit, but many do not. You can house and pet sit anywhere in the world, and it’s a great way to see new places and supplement accommodation costs.

You do need to take the ‘job’ seriously, especially if you’re taking care of pets. We always leave a property as we’ve found it, if not in better shape! Discover how we got started, and house sitting tips.

Sign up for our e-news for an exclusive FREE guide

You might end up in Melbourne while you're house sitting in Australia

 

Why house sitting in Australia?

House sitting Australia wide gives you a real chance to see our beautiful country. If you’ve ever tried to plan a trip to Aus, you’ll quickly have discovered how vast the country is. Also, for most people Australia is a long way to go – so you want to have a bit of time to stay and travel, if possible. With all that travel as an expense, house and pet sitting in Australia can save you money on accommodation. An added bonus is that you might end up discovering an amazing place that you wouldn’t have if you’d not been assigned a house sit there.

We find it’s a good idea to not get too attached to a particular outcome when applying for house sits. Don’t just aim for Sydney, for example. Search for what’s on offer in the State of New South Wales, and then you can travel to Sydney around your house sit.

Similarly, see what’s available in some of our other gorgeous big cities like Brisbane (such a GREAT place these days), and the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Travel visas to Australia can be granted for up to a year, and house sitting in Australia allows you to ‘go slow’ – take your time in a place, immerse yourself in the Aussie lifestyle. There’s no better travel experience than this, and house sitting gives you an economical way to do it.

House sitting is particularly great for not just retirees, but also for those who work for themselves, freelancers and digital nomads.

House sitting Australia guide

 

House sitting Australia – considerations

If you want to travel this way in Australia, a few important things you should consider:

Transport:

As mentioned, Australia is huge. Our cities can be spread out, and the space between towns and cities can be vast. How do you plan to get around when travelling in Australia? Will you be taking the bus or train long or short distances? Will you hire a car, or buy a cheap one? Access to your own transport options will determine where you go. It’s very hot here, sometimes you simply can’t hike for hours to get from one place to another. Plan your travel – and your house sitting commitments in Australia – accordingly.

Budget:

How much money do you want to spend while travelling in Australia? There are very expensive destination here, like Sydney. But if you head to lesser known towns or cities, you’ll find cheaper cost of living and travel options. Determine how long you’ll be here, where you want to go, and consider ways you can save or spend money.

When you’re on the ground in Australia, there are plenty of tour operators who advise those with a lower budget on bus or train deals for getting around. Smaller towns or cities like Cairns also offer visitors on a budget more deals for entertainment and excursions that won’t break the bank. Get on Aussie forums or ask questions of other Australians for advice and local tips before you travel.

Trip type:

We’ve got everything in Australia, from the city to beach, Outback, rainforest and desert. What would you like to see? Do your research and aim for house sits in destinations where your wanderlust can be quenched.

Remember – Australia is huge – so you’re best to place yourself in an area that’s in your heart to see. That said, there’s something to be said for being open to new experiences and surprises. I’ll leave that one with you.

House sitting Australia guide - do kangaroos really jump down the street

 

About Australia

There are six states in Australia:

  1. New South Wales
  2. Queensland
  3. South Australia
  4. Tasmania
  5. Victoria
  6. Western Australia

and two territories:

  1. Northern Territory
  2. Australian Capital Territory

 

At a glance

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is where our national capital, Canberra, is located, and it is the centre of government. New South Wales (NSW) is Australia’s most populated state, and our oldest. This is where Australia was originally settled by the British, as a penal colony on the shores of Port Jackson where Sydney now thrives as the country’s largest city. Our home state, Queensland (QLD) is Australia’s second-largest (in size). Here you’ll find the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, unique rainforests and extraordinary islands. You’ll love Queensland – and our capital Brisbane – if you enjoy warm weather, outdoor and water activities.

On the other side of the country from Queensland is Western Australia (WA), Australia’s largest state. Here you can explore vast deserts and secluded, sublime coastlines – miles and miles of untouched serenity. The state’s capital is Perth, a popular destination for travellers from all over the world.

Victoria (VIC) is the smallest of the mainland states in size but is home to Australia’s second most populated (but arguably coolest) city, Melbourne. Fashion, art, coffee and culture – Melbourne has it all, and all visitors love it! This lovely state is full of beautiful coastal and country scenery too.

Wine lovers, head to South Australia (SA) in the southern central part of the country. Adelaide, the capital city, is a foodie paradise, and a great base for exploring surrounding wineries, the Flinders Ranges and wilderness hotspot Kangaroo Island.

At the top of Australia, you’ll find the Northern Territory (NT). Darwin, on the northern coast and Alice Springs further inland, are the most well-known destinations up here. You will have heard of the famous rock, Uluru too – it’s here, at almost Australia’s geographical centre.

From the top to the bottom of Australia – discover beautiful Tasmania (TAS) which is separated from the mainland by the Bass Strait. Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, was founded in 1804 as a penal colony, and is Australia’s second oldest capital city after Sydney.

 

👉Find out more about Australia’s states and territories.

House sitting Australia guide - the real experience

 

Top sites to try if house sitting Australia is on your travel bucket list

There’s a number of options you can try if you’re looking for house sitting jobs in Australia (or if you’re looking for house sitters), but the top sites we know of are:

  1. TrustedHousesitters is who we book our house sits through.
  2. Mindahome
  3. Aussie housesitters
  4. Housesitters.com.au
  5. Happy housesitters
  6. Mad Paws

 

👉Find out more in our video guides

 

Our advice on what to look for in house sitting sites:

We have been house and pet sitting for about six months now, and plan to do more. But we did our research for at least a year before deciding to sign up for a service. In my experience, here’s how I recommend you assess a site before planning your dream trip (to make sure it IS a dream trip).

Professional look and brand feel:

This might be stating the obvious, but there’s no excuse for a lazy website these days. Look for professional design and easy user experience. I believe it shows care and that there’s likely to be a team of professionals behind the brand. I’d also be looking to see how easy it is to find basics like FAQs, details on how your details and security is managed.

Website videos, testimonials and social media:

If you’re ready to take the next step and commit to a house sitting site, whether you want to travel to Australia or elsewhere, delve deeper to see what you can find. Are there videos the brand has produced to show what they do and how far they reach?

Another simple tip is to take a look at how they present on social media – are there recent posts, reviews, a presence, even? This all goes a long way to show the legitimacy of the brand, its offering, and the people using its service.

House sitting Australia guide - stay in Sydney

 

You get what you pay for:

I come across a lot of ‘forum’ looking sites, or ‘shout outs’ on Facebook. If you’re going to negotiate with a stranger online for a free deal, good luck to you. A lot of people have mentioned to us that they were considering putting a call out on Facebook, for example, or applying for jobs they’d seen on there or a free site.

All because they don’t want to pay a subscription fee. In my opinion this is highly risky – you could end up anywhere!

Look at reviews on sitters and house sits:

If you go down the route of paying for a service, which I highly recommend for your own security, take the opportunity to look at reviews. Just like you would on Airbnb or Tripadvisor, you can gain a lot of insight be looking at what people have written about a house sit, or a sitter. If there are gaps, that may be a sign you should take too.

And please don’t forget the old rule: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Subscribe to the service’s e-news:

If you’re interested in house sitting Australia or internationally, and you’ve identified a service to use, sign up for their e-news. This call to action should be easy to find on their website, and their newsletters will give you more insight into how active the brand and its users are!

Paid vs free

I’ve found a few sites that are either totally free or that charge sitters but not home owners. This doesn’t sit so well with me. House sitters should have the same protection as home owners, and in my opinion I think if both parties are willing to pay for a service then that for the most part legitimises those services.

Paid services usually mean more security checks too, on home owners and house sitters. Nothing’s ever perfect, but you can set yourself up for the best chance at an awesome experience. Invest the time and a little money into this – we believe it’s worth it.

 

If you have other views or questions, do let us know in the comments. Or better yet, join our dedicated house sitting group on Facebook – join here

 

Find out more practical tips about house and pet sitting as you travel the world- subscribe right here for our free info series

 

 

 

House sitting UK: 6 lessons learnt (and ‘must dos’ for YOU)

House sitting UK: 6 lessons learnt (and ‘must dos’ for YOU)

It’s been over six months since we set off on our house sitting UK adventure. We’ve explored terrific destinations in the UK through house sitting, including London, Northampton, the Cotswolds, Bedfordshire and soon Devon and the Sussex coast.

We’ve loved house sitting in the UK, and we’ve also been to Malta, France and Ireland.

House sitting UK: 6 lessons learnt

Leave the toilet seat down!

You hear stories about dogs drinking out of the toilet, right? One night we were sound asleep but awoken at 1am.

“Can you hear a noise, is that an intruder?” I asked panicked (but still tucked into bed)

“I’m not sure… do you think I should check?” asks Cooper, as we hear again… what is that?

“Slurp, slurp, slurp…” 😆

Our beautiful shepherd, Luna, couldn’t be bothered going downstairs to her bowl. Our lesson? Close the toilet lid! It’s true – dogs DO drink from the toilet.

Luna in Northampton on our dog sit where we learnt a house and pet sitting lesson...

Never forget poo bags

We find poo bags in all or pockets now. It’s pretty funny. The bags always come in handy, of course. But what about the one occasion you forget to take them?

In Northampton we had simply popped out to the corner store. When I was inside gathering supplies, Cooper was walking Luna (pictured above) around the block and having a little play with her. You guessed it – she chose this very time to do her business.

And it was no small matter!

Cooper scrounged around to find cardboard and resources to clean up after Luna, but it wasn’t pretty, oh no.

Hence, poo bags in every pocket since that time.

 

Watch what your dog eats

I’m sorry, this seems to have turned into a post about toilets and dogs’ business. You see, we took care of another gorgeous pup, Teal. A Springer Spaniel – about the best behaved and most affectionate creature you’d ever meet. But Teal has a secret.

Teal eats poo. In the depths of fields around the Cotswolds, this innocent pooch will grab a ‘snack’ the second you turn away. At first I thought Cooper was exaggerating because he spotted this, er, behaviour first. I didn’t believe him. Not our lovely Teal.

However, when I turned around after being engaged in conversation with a fellow dog walker, I saw it. Oh Teal. Perhaps he needed some nutrients that are in there?

Whatever the case, we were reminded that dogs are like kids. Keep an eye on them at all times 🐶

 

👉Find out how we got started pet sitting in London

Be mindful of how you’re using treats

We took care of a precious little old man called Monty. He was such a beautiful old soul. A 15 year old Jack Russell, for the most part he was super easy to look after. Except he suffered major senior separation anxiety.

When we arrived he seemed ok, but once his parents left he wouldn’t leave his bed or hid under theirs. It broke our hearts. We kept an eye on him over the 12 hours to come, and we even called TrustedHousesitters pet line for guidance to make sure we were doing all the right things, which we were.

For anxiety, we’ve discovered we need to give dogs in this scenario their space. It’s beneficial for them to be in their own home. If they are not sleeping or eating, then you should contact a vet. One thing we had going for us was that Monty liked his food. We used this to try and coax him to love us 💖 We even got him downstairs by laying out a cheese trail – his favourite treat.

After a while though, we realised we were using treats in the wrong way – we were reinforcing his behaviour to stay in his bed or hide from us. We’d give him treats for it! Instead, we switched it around – gave him treats for coming to us and we got him outside on walks which cheered him right up. Our lesson: consider what kind of behaviour you’re rewarding with treats, or are you giving them to make you feel better?

We’ve shared more on this in our video guides 👇

 

Close doors and check where your pets can go

House sitting in the UK brought many lessons our way. When we took care of Blue, a senior Lurcher doggie in London, we’d been told where in the house he could go. It was pretty much everywhere except the bedrooms. What we didn’t realise is that’s exactly where he’d try to go. Some of the door handles weren’t shut properly and we discovered this after he went missing twice. Blue managed to break into the rooms, have a nap on his siblings’ beds but then got locked in, bless him!

Our Luna in Northampton was known to break into the fridge and eat all the meat, so we had to lock the door to the kitchen if we went out. Luna’s also actually unlocked the front door to go in search of her family 💕 So, we needed to deadbolt it for her own safety from the busy street outside.

A special mention must go to Harley in Dublin who knew how to follow you into the toilet, jump up on the sink and drink water while you wash your hands. His mum said that is entirely his father’s fault for teaching him 🤣

 

Learn to share your personal space

 

 

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Polly and Darcy ☝ haven’t been the only babies to want in on our private space. Pretty much all dogs and cats, once they get to know you, will want to be with you – or on top of you, in bed with you…

But you know what – that’s the bit we love the most. If you don’t, then this gig probably isn’t for you.

 

 

Find out more practical tips about house and pet sitting as you travel the world: subscribe to our newsletter for a FREE guide on how you can travel the world house and pet sitting. 

And of course – questions/comments are appreciated below 😸

 

 

How a dog hotel is helping find furever homes 💕

How a dog hotel is helping find furever homes 💕

This lovely story on how a dog hotel is helping to find furever homes popped into our inbox recently.

We were so inspired that we had to share. We’re embarking on pawesome travels ourselves, and one of our most visited posts here is on options available for your dog when you travel. So, we figured this dog hotel item is a good fit 🐕

A boutique dog hotel making a big difference

As this tale goes, in March 2017 Ashley Bush received a photo from a friend. The pic featured an adorable little dog called Chester who was ‘one of the team’ greeting guests in the lobby of a Florida hotel, the Aloft Tallahassee Downtown.

Chester was a rescue dog, recruited as part of the hotel’s foster dog program.

Curiosity got the better of Ashley. That’s how she ended up stopping in to meet Chester.

The Leon County Humane Society had placed the Pekingise/Chihuahua cutie at Aloft for his effervescence and abundant cuteness. They also figured he had a unique ability to thrive in the busy environment of a hotel lobby. If he got tired, they’d set him up with his own doghouse, a custom-built replica of the hotel.

Ashley said she felt an immediate connection with Chester (pictured below).

“I put him on a leash and took him around. He jumped up on the sofa next to me, very curious and sweet. Chester seemed very well-adjusted.”

 

How a dog hotel is helping find furever homes - Chester before adoption

 

Travel + dogs 🐶

Ashley and her partner, Walter, ended up adopting Chester 🙌

How many of us are likely to book a local hotel staycation, and leave with a furry friend? Cooper and I probably would!

Chester was the third dog adopted from the Aloft Tallahassee Downtown as part of their foster pet program. This excellent initiative was started by the Aloft Asheville Downtown and it’s spread to some of the group’s other hotels in America.

Each hotel partners with a top local animal rescue facility and hundreds of rescue dogs have found new homes through the collective program.

 

Chester before adoption - amazing work being done by this dog hotel

 

Where did the idea come from?

Seems serendipity was at play. Emma Ledbetter, director of food and beverage at Aloft Asheville, was flying to interview for her current job. She sat next to a man who worked at an animal rescue facility. They got to talking, and coincidentally ended up sitting next to each other on the flight back. That’s when she had an idea…

After securing her job, she brainstormed with the hotel’s general manager about having an ‘ambassador dog’ that would ultimately be adopted.

The first canine guest, Gabriel, was housed in the back office and it took just three days to find him a new home. Staff then moved their foster dogs into a contained area in the lobby, and had the custom dog house built.

“Even associates who aren’t really dog people got excited and helped make the program a success,” Emma says. “And the guests love it. It’s so fun to see businessmen come in and the first thing they do is greet the dog.”

 

Chester after adoption

 

Corporate culture and man’s best friend 💕

Ingrained in McKibbon Hospitality’s corporate culture is the opportunity for teams to undertake projects that will enhance the guest experience, lift employee enthusiasm and do good in the community.

“The foster dog project is a perfect example of how these factors converge,” says Randy Hassen, President of McKibbon Hospitality. “It checks all the boxes. And it’s a great example of innovative thinking about how to run a successful hotel. We’re not surprised that three of our other Aloft properties started their own programs.”

 

Chester is still living happily with Ashley and Walter. But, his new family haven’t forgotten where he came from. They frequently take him for visits. His hotel family still loves him too.

 

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We’ve since discovered there’s a number of hotels around the world running schemes like this! Here’s 5 you might like to read about.

If you know of any other great schemes like this, or awesome animal tales linked with travel, let us know about it in the comments. 

 



 

4 types of house sitting jobs UK (and how to get them)

4 types of house sitting jobs UK (and how to get them)

We recently posted about becoming house and pet sitters in London using TrustedHousesitters. Because we’re expanding this beyond London only, we’ve been asked about house sitting jobs UK and how to secure them.

There’s four main types of house sitting jobs in the UK that might be suitable for you, depending on whether you want to travel, stay locally and take care of animals or not.

 

House sitting jobs UK

Local stays

No matter where you live in the UK, there are house sits nearby. We were based in London when we first decided to sign up to TrustedHousesitters, with a view to using the service for long-term travel. The site makes use of reviews, which help home and pet owners make a decision on who sits for them.

Being new users, we applied for local house sits in London. This gave us experience and the chance to build our reviews.

Plus, sitting locally offers a change of scenery and makes it possible to explore new neighbourhoods. Win/win!

If you’re on TrustedHousesitters, you can set up an alert with your availability and preferred location, and apply as new sits are published. Often home owners prefer someone who lives locally, believing them to be more reliable than someone who may be travelling through.

Short term

There’s plenty of short term house and pet sitting opportunities available in the UK. This is especially true if you’re around during key holiday times, like Easter, summer (August/September) and Christmas. By short term, we mean about two weeks.

Applying for a short term house sit in the UK means you can take a trip to a different part of the country and not have to worry about accommodation. This is a cost-effective way to travel.

Keep an eye out for daily alerts from TrustedHousesitters and apply for dates and locations that appeal to you as soon as you spot them.

Tip: if a sit already has over ten applicants, feel free to put your hand up for it. But, why not take it as a sign and apply for somewhere else instead? Go with the flow and be open to new experiences and destinations.

4 types of house sitting jobs UK (and how to get them)

 

Long term

We consider long term to be over two weeks. There are house and pet sits in the UK (and beyond, of course – house sitting Ireland is on our itinerary) that range anywhere from two weeks to a month, two months and even six months. Over the next few months, Cooper and I plan to ‘slow travel’ and explore the digital nomad lifestyle. We want to take our time in destinations. With that in mind, we specifically applied for longer term sits.

For us, long term sits are an excellent opportunity to ‘live’ somewhere new, and we can get into a routine for working and setting up our digital business. It’s also more cost-effective for us to stay in one place for two to four weeks.

There’s a wide range of sits in the UK, from country to city house sits, some that require a car, and others where you’re fine to walk everywhere (our preference). Our first long stay UK sit was in Northampton, which was ideal for our needs.

Before you commit to a long term sit, make sure you’re comfortable that all the facilities at the sit fit your needs, along with transport being appropriate for you, and that you have supermarkets or other preferred amenities around. You should also be certain that you will happily stay there for that long. Outside of an actual family emergency like a death in the family, you should never back out of a sit you’ve committed to because that majorly upsets the plans of the people you’ve agreed to sit for.

With animals or without

The best part of TrustedHousesitters for us is the opportunity to travel and take care of dogs. We LOVE dogs and are happy to spend all our time with our little charges, ensuring they’re as happy with us as they are with their own family.

If you’re using TrustedHousesitters, or any similar sites, you can filter searches by animal, to look for cat sits, horse sits, reptile sits… the list is endless. You can also opt to sit without any animals.

Only ever commit to a sit that you have experience for or that you’re willing to give a loving go to, especially if animals are involved.

 

 

Our experience so far has been that anyone using a service like TrustedHousesitters has the same attitude as us: they’re loving animal people, kind and open to meeting new friends from all walks of life.

Hopefully this has inspired you to get out and travel, whether it’s in your own backyard, or further afield. Comments and questions always appreciated – drop us a line below.

Cooper and I have signed up to TrustedHousesitters – click the link if you’d like to know more or join the service too.

Are you a house and/or pet sitter? Come and join our special Facebook group 😃

 

 

 

 

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