If you’re keen to get back on the travel trail, but don’t want to leave your best mate behind, here, find out exactly how to house sit with your own pet! Nicky and her husband Andy travels full-time in their campervan around the UK and Europe, and their beautiful Spanish rescue dog, Gus, tags along for the ride.
They now apply for house and pet sits with their dog, which for some pet sitters, feels really complicated. But, if you’re keen to give it a go, take heed of Nicky’s invaluable advice on how they – in the first place – score sits with Gus; and also, the benefits he brings the dogs they are sitting for!
Nicky’s top tips on how to house sit with your own pet
As an avid house and pet sitter who has experienced opportunities across the UK and Europe, Nicky advises anyone coming into the business to really have a good think about what type of sits you want. She also says, start now – start in your own city. This advice echoes what past guests, Kate and Dave, shared as their top tips. Have a read here.
Rescuing a dog on the road
While sitting in Spain, Nicky came across an animal shelter that – of course – had a dog waiting for his new furever home. As it turns out, they met Gus, “the perfect dog” for them. He was two and had been born in the shelter. A black dog, he had struggled to be discovered for a new home. This happens frequently for both cats and dogs in Europe, unfortunately due to a very old superstition around black animals being unlucky.
Gus has proven to be quite the opposite: he’s their four pawed travelling best friend.
Nicky took her time introducing Gus to the lifestyle though, so he’d be comfortable. It’s an important lesson for all of us, especially anyone rescuing a dog – give them time and the proper space to understand and feel comfortable in their new environment.
House and pet sitting with your dog
Once settled, this trio picked up travelling and house sitting again.
Nicky said one of her best pieces of advice is to ensure your profile on house and pet sitting sites makes it very very clear – front and centre – that you’re travelling with your fur baby.
“The top of our profile clearly says, Nicky, Andy and Gus ”, and in her applications she reinforces, “thank you for considering all of us”.
Another great idea – she’s encouraged the homeowners writing a review to please include a reference to Gus in the review, once again, to reinforce the benefits he’s brought to the sit, and how easy it was for him to be included. This tip was also mentioned by Laura who doesn’t travel and house sit with a dog, but her family of four :) Find out more about house and pet sitting as a family.
Finding the right sit for you and your dog
Nicky says that she does do a lot more work now to choose house sits that are right for both she and Andy, and especially Gus. It’s obviously worthwhile in order to score those perfect sits though.
If a profile states that a dog doesn’t get on with other dogs, then of course she will not apply. She says, prioritise your pet when applying for sits – set your boundaries. Some homeowners are so keen to have you as a sitter, that they’ll say “Yes, come along!”, when, the match for Gus and the dogs on the ground, wasn’t right. Be selective in location and situation in terms of other animals there.
Despite the bit extra work around sifting through available house sits and applying for those that match their bigger picture, Nicky reports that they’re in demand! They’re booked 12 months in advance! In fact, they get plenty of repeat business from families whose pets loved the sits with Gus.
Travel and house sitting
“Travel is the ability to see other places and immerse yourself in a new culture”, says Nicky. But she stresses that in an application for a sit, they’ll highlight that the pets come first. Importantly, that they plan to be present, and love the pets as if they are their own.
The beautiful thing about pairing ‘travel’ and ‘house sitting’ is that you can live like a local. You can see places you might never have visited had it not been for the house sit! And, you’re constantly reminded of the good in people. That is, inherent kindness despite what we may see on the news.
It’s also wonderful to have the chance to see what the Universe presents and to go with the flow. “It’s wonderful how things inevitably align,” marvels Nicky. We agree.
Freedom and Four Paws
Join us on our podcasting adventures as we hear inspiring stories from amazing people travelling the world. They’re living their best life, often with their pets in tow!
In this episode of Freedom and Four Paws, discover how being a dog owner yourself, can add value to applying for gigs as a house sitter where there are other dogs. Nicky is brimming with excellent advice for house and pet sitting with your own dog.
Listen for additional tips on travelling in Europe and being mindful of what visas and health certificates you may need.
Watch the episode for their complete story and advice. Or listen on your favourite podcast service, search ‘Freedom and Four Paws’.
Find our guest, Nicky, on Facebook and Instagram, @retired.and.inspired2020
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