When we began our house and pet sitting journey for our friends way back when, we never imagined it would evolve into something so incredible.
During the past year (yes, it's really only been twelve months since we decided to become "professional housesitters" as TLC International Housesitters) we've met some fascinating individuals who have not only enhanced our lives and introduced us to some wonderful canines, but they've also become our friends.
What's even more amazing is that as word spreads that we're doing this "housesitting thing", requests for our services continue to pile up.
That's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, but it's also a downer because we're only one couple--two 60-something individuals--who thanks to the laws of the universe and physics simply cannot be in two places at once no matter how much we beg Star Trek's Scotty to "beam us up".
Having to say "NO" to a house/pet sitting assignment just plain
sucks hurts. And it seems that lately we've had to say "NO" far more than we've been able to say "yes". As you might well imagine, we're not happy about that.
This downward trend began early in 2014 when we were asked to housesit an hour north of Rome, Italy. Being in the middle of another house and pet sit assignment (waving hi to Holly and Maya), we naturally said no. But it hurt. I mean, come on. We're talking ROME, Italy! If it would have worked into our schedule, we'd have been there in a heartbeat.
Since then, we've received many more requests for our services. We've declined three engagements just for September alone, and yesterday bowed out on a house and pet sitting engagement in Toronto. C&J are classic musicians who tour frequently. We're familiar with their work and would love to meet them in person. Plus, they have a cat! We love cats. They wanted us for two separate dates starting in April and returning in June.
Sadly, we're committed for both months, and it really, really hurts to have to say "no". Again.
So, if you're in need of a house and pet sitter, and we're unavailable, please consider using Housescarers.com or Trustedhousesitters.com.
As a homeowner it costs nothing to place an advertisement. And if you have the luxury of time, and know a few months in advance of when you're going on vacation, place your ad on these sites as early as possible. Last minute requests do get filled, but I wouldn't recommend such a situation. In my mind, it's just a headache waiting to happen, and when things are done last minute important details are often neglected.
When you post your ad, include a photo of your pet(s), and home. State the dates you'll require a house sitter, and don't forget to boast about the amenities your home offers. Cable TV, wifi, hot tub, or being in close proximity to a tourist attraction make your home stand out from the rest. But please, don't include your full address. If you live in a town, the name of the town is sufficient...for now. You can provide that information to your housesitter. No one else needs to know.
Also, be honest and forthcoming about your beloved pet.
If Fifi is hyper and loves nothing better than to chew on Italian leather shoes, please don't claim she's an innocent or so laidback she's comatose. If she requires medication, say so. Housesitters use this information to determine whether or not they're a good fit for your requirements. It also gives you the advantage of sorting out the chaff from the wheat. Be prepared for the 20-somethings who are looking to crash at your place for FREE as they travel around the world. If you're okay with that scenario, great. Your home could become 'party central'. If not, look for a more mature person or couple.
Upon viewing your ad, housesitters who are interested in taking care of your property and pet(s) will take the initiative and apply via email. Read their credentials carefully. Do they have a police check? Will they provide references? Do they even like dogs or are they cat people? This "first contact" gives you the ability to screen these replies in the privacy of your own home. Treat it like a interview and narrow the list down to those you think best suited for the job. Next, it's time to start the "interviews".
You can either email the housesitters, or give them a phone call. Another option is to arrange a live Skype chat at a mutually convenient time. This conversation process gives you a second opportunity to get a feel for who these people are. It's also an opportunity for them to figure out who you are and what your needs are as a homeowner.
Another thing to remember is that during this early stage of the game neither party is committed. This is NOT a done deal. If for whatever reason you don't hit it off, simply thank them for their time. Explain you will make a decision at a later date, and once you do let them down gently!
Finding a house and pet sitter isn't as complicated as you might think. If they're the right person or couple for the job, you'll know it. And so will they.
Happy house and pet sitting search.
Now, where's Scotty? I need him to beam me UP. I'm looking for SPRING...
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