Tales of Teddy

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Friday Find: Pet sitter

pet sitter

Last weekend my parents-in-law firmed up their summer holiday plans. “I’d better get onto the dog people,” said my Mother-in-law. Jess, their elegant, elderly greyhound, is too old to accompany them abroad, and because they don’t want her in kennels, the pet sitter that they have discovered belong to a company called Homesitters. This clever firm sends reliable, often mature, animal-lovers to live in your home and look after your pets, be they birds, horses, guinea pigs or, of course, dogs or cats.
“It is an enormous step to invite a stranger into your home,” says Homesitters’ Chief Executive Adèle Barclay, “So we try very hard to get it right. We supervise the assignment, we provide excellent back-up, we have comprehensive insurance cover and because we employ our sitters, we are rigorous in the vetting process.”
Although there is no age limit, your pet sitter (they have nearly 1,000 throughout the UK) will often be retired as they tend to be most readily available. Often they will have experience with the animals that they offer to care for – included on their books are former dog breeders, animal trainers, farm workers – and of course, the pre-requisite is that they are also animal lovers.
It clearly works. Pets get to stay in their familiar environment and that’s an idea that appeals to an awful lot people. The company has been going for 35 years and over 70% of new clients re-book within two years.
But if you fancy the idea of it, it’s best to get cracking: regulars book early. See the website for costing out your pet nanny, but before you suck in your breath at the price, consider that someone pet sitting in your home provides added benefits such as security, while keeping the place aired and weather-proofed, and then there’s the added bonus: when my parents-in-law came home from their last trip they found their lawn had been meticulously mown. “We might not double-dig the kitchen garden,” says Adèle, “But routine maintenance, mowing the lawn, is part of the standard service.” All in good hands.

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