Hi everyone, I am Maria - new to trusted house sitting but not to house and pet sitting as have done a lot over the last 8 years.
My little family are exploring the opportunity to go travelling next year and we are hoping to supplement our accommodation on our travels with house and pet sitting. We really want to get to know new places and we absolutely love animals so it seemed like a great opportunity.
We have a 3 year old, Eden. He is very kind and gentle and we have done house and pet sitting in the last 12 months for friends and family with no problems but I am not sure how to convince owners to place their trust in us when we have a little person! My Mum has a dog who he loves and we recently looked after 3 cats in a townhouse in London and he was so gentle with all the animals. I know that a sit with a dog or cat or small furries would be no problem.
Does anyone have any advice or has anyone made it work travelling as a family with a small person?
Hi Maria! As the owner of a sensitive dog and the mother of zero children, I am inclined to distrust a young kid’s ability to read my dog’s body language and respect her boundaries. I’d also be concerned about my dog getting the same attention and care that she’s used to with another dependent in the house.
For the record, kids are non-negotiable for me since my dog is not super friendly. That said, here’s a couple specific concerns I would theoretically have for a prospective sitter, and it might be helpful for you to preemptively address them in an intro message!
How will you split your time/attention between your child and my pets? Can you definitely meet my pet’s normal routine, or would there be compromises?
What kind of supervision can you guarantee when child and pet are in the same room? (For example, I would not be comfortable with you working from the desk in the corner of my living room while the other two are on the couch.)
Knowing Eden is “gentle” isn’t enough info for me, I’d like to know more details about how exactly your child would interact with my pets. Does he freely approach animals? Does he always want to pet/interact when he sees them? Does he follow them around? Does he try to kiss, hug, or carry pets? Does he feed them his food? Does he run, shriek, or have loud toys? Does he have soft toys (which my dog would think is hers and try to rip apart)?
Safety is also a huge issue I’d want to see addressed, though I don’t have any specific questions about it off the top of my head. I guess I’d want to make sure you were able to fully separate my pet and your child if they didn’t get along, without stressing out or neglecting my dog.
I am definitely more anxious about pet-child interactions than the owner of a friendlier animal would be, but hopefully this is a helpful starting point!
Where circumstances allow, it might make sense to arrange an in-person visit to allow the HO to observe you and your child interact with their home and pet(s). You might also have better odds applying to sits that have families with children of similar age as the HO and the pets may be more accommodating to the situation.
Welcome to the forum! We’re glad to have you here. I am providing a link to another thread about traveling/pet sitting with little ones that I think you’ll find useful as well.
I know that @Mal has had success traveling with her little ones so she would be a good contact here to reach out to if you have more specific questions.
I myself have a one year old and have not yet been successful finding a sit that will allow the three of us (in our desired location of course). I haven’t given up hope yet as there is still some time!
One recommendation you will find a lot here on the forum is trying to start with shorter local sits to gather reviews. You might find that it could be easier to get a sit with your child locally as you could potentially meet the owners ahead of their departure and assure them of your families capabilities as trustworthy sitters. That’ll help you be able to secure sits in other locations where you all have been wanting to travel.
Hello and welcome @Marainbowria
How absolutely wonderful that you are beginning to introduce little Eden to travel. It will be something that will shape highly how he sees the world. Discovering new places, learning and seeing different people and cultures whilst still being in a home environment with the love of animals is extraordinary, for an adult never mind a child!
My own brood are all adults now but since early I took my children on wonderful trips both domestically and internationally. We did not pet sit but we stayed in various different settings, rural and urban, on land and on the water. I like to believe their lives are much richer now because of those experiences and they actually are quite happy to say “oh yeah, we’ve been there…, seen that, done that…”
All of them are animal lovers, owners and several love to travel. One is actually a sitter and the one that introduced me to this.
I have seen listings geared towards families and some places have different types of animals like chickens, ducks, sheep, small pups, and of course kittens. You may have to do some searching, but there are families out there just like yours who would be thrilled to share their home and lifestyle with you. I personally have met two, both in Scotland who were looking for families but got me instead
So go for it Lovely and see how it goes.
Use pics of Eden with animals on your profile and just express your genuine thoughts and desires. Get some references from those who you have sat for.
Don’t try to convince anyone just put it out there, apply and keep going.
All the best.
Thank you so much Amparo for your truly lovely message. It was filled with hope and optimism and really lifted me reading it this morning.
We’ve decided to give up our house in the spring (we only rent and it’s so expensive to just stay in one place) and we want to hit the road for a time. I still need to work along the way (but I have my own business so just need an internet connection!) and I’m sure it will be the most wonderful adventure for us all. I’m hoping house sitting will be a part of our journey!
Your message made me feel sure we can make it work despite my fear and uncertainty and Eden will benefit so much from the different experIences we can give him along the way and all the different people we are sure to meet.
Thank you truly. You don’t know how much I needed your words
Hi Maria, We travel with our daughter Júlia who is now 4 years old, we started when she was a baby, and although the covid has not let us travel as much as we wanted, this summer we have been almost a month in the UK and on Friday we are going to spend a week in France.
If the HO ask us about Júlia we try to explain how she is and how she acts with the animals. We also give reference outside the family so HO can call them if you prefer. There are families with small children like yours that I’m sure would love to have you.