Question of the week: What brought you to TrustedHousesitters?

Hi Testers, and happy Friday! Thanks so much for starting off some great discussions this week.

Today, we’re sharing a ‘Becoming a Member: Question of the week’ and we’d like you to transport your minds back to when you originally joined TrustedHousesitters. Tell us, what was it that brought you here, and made you want to join?

Looking forward to seeing your answers!

What a great question and after 10 years with TrustedHousesitters I can honestly say it was fate and one of those “being in the right place at the right time” moments that can often, literally change your life.

I had lost my beloved Springer Holly and as animals are part of my very being (like so many of us) pet sitting gave me the opportunity to have animals in my life once more without becoming a permanent pet owner again as I knew that just wasn’t right for John or I at the time.

I was living in Vancouver, Canada and in the UK sitting a friends cat in Wiltshire when a chance email brought Any Peck (co-founder of TrustedHousesitters) into my life with his dream of creating:

“A global community of sitters who love animals so much they will care for them for free” … and a “will you help me?”

10 years later, over 200 house sits, working with a amazing team of passionate pet lovers, pet and housesitting the world while helping to build our community in true digital nomad style, connecting (and loving) literally hundreds of pets and their wonderful owners I have a lifestyle that feeds my three passions; PETS PEOPLE & PLACES …

I really do have the best job in the world and everyone on here is part of my world …

THANK YOU for making it a truly better and very special place! :heart:

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Greetings all from a very blustery island in the Channel (Guernsey!)

We used to have two adorable border terriers in our lives and when the last one died five years ago we were at a bit of a loss. Another dog? Mmmm, we’d suddenly started to appreciate the ties that being a dog-owner involved. The walks no matter what the weather, the lack of freedom to stay overnight at a friend’s house. Expensive kenneling if we wanted to go away, vet’s fees (well over £8000 in the last couple of years as one of our dogs became diabetic). We felt too old to take on a puppy and rescue dogs are difficult to get here. And then a friend suggested we take up house-sitting. We mulled over the idea and thought there was no harm in giving it a go. We began here on the island with two sits to see if we liked the experience. Both families very quickly became firm friends. Then we decided to cross the water and spent a year doing sits in the UK. Having had such positive experiences we decided to venture into Europe and have spent the last two years doing sits in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy. We’ve made friends everywhere we’ve been and been invited back to so many places that we’ve lost count. So, we have the best of both worlds, a furry friend or two to love, free accommodation when we travel and new friends. What’s not to like?

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We were looking for an alternative lifestyle. Tom was semi-retired and I could work from anywhere. It was by chance we found housesitting in a Google search. We thought why not, so we joined TH. The first one went so well, we have never looked back, 4 1/2 years later. Similar to others a chance of fate and now a lifetime of memories - 60 sits and 10 countries later (visited more along the way but have sat in 10).

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Well, our reasons for wanting to pet-sit are emotionally draining to recount (and appear in our profile) so I won’t recount them here. I see the question as “why did you choose TrustedHousesitters?” Rather than why why we wanted to sit. So:
Short answer; the “Trusted” part. For newbies like us, there’s a fear element and we are firm believers in adages such as “always buy the best you can afford”, “you get what you pay for” and “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is”. (All that will be our age talking!)
All those free groups and sites appear to be aimed at the young, carefree, nothing to lose generation (and yes, I was that person once. Hitchhiking across Europe with a friend, sleeping under the stars etc.) But life teaches you lessons and some of us choose to pay attention. My version of throwing caution to the winds these days is trying a new Krispy Kreme flavour :joy: so, ask yourself whether you want to buy your lovely shiny new car from the main dealer or an Online Arthur Daley (age showing again!).

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Back in early 2016, we sent a prayer out into the universe for “effortless cat care”. We had both stopped working, loved to travel but hated the idea of leaving the kitties in a kennel or paying the fees for a live in housesitter. We mentioned it to a the godmother of our cats and she passed along your name, having heard about you from another person.

I googled and we were off. Created a profile, posted pictures, paid the fees and I started watching for opportunities. We started off sitting internationally, going first to a 2 week sit in Port Macquarie, Australia, caring for the largest chocolate lab, Sophie, on the planet and her kind, generous, loving mother, Jennifer. (NOTE: Sophie passed in late 2019. We hoped to get back to see her again on our 2019-2020 trip but she died in October before we arrived. However, we still connected with Jennifer and Jim and enjoyed an amazing holiday with them on Lord Howe Island. Google it and make your plans. AMAZING). Back to 2016. We arranged the rest of our trip around this sit and absolutely loved Australia and caring for animals as we travel. Its much more intimate, walking dogs we’ve meet some of the most interesting people and would NEVER have had these kinds of interactions staying in a hotel or even an Airbnb. The next year, we went to Maun, Botswana and New Zealand. The third year, I did some solo sits in Italy, France, Switzerland after my solo walk on the Way of St. Francis in Italy. We’ve returned to Australia and New Zealand and once I set the intention to sit on 6 continents, I did a sit in Portland and made a new long term friend.

Now, I can’t imagine life or traveling without Trusted Housesitters. We have made so many friends, loved so many animals and the world, as crazy as it sometimes feels, is much kinder and smaller and more intimate in my Trusted Housesitter’s universe. Thank you so much for creating this wonderful service.

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I was referred by a colleague and I browsed the site for a while until I found a sit I liked the look of. I signed up, applied and got the sit (beachfront Adelaide) in 24 hours and it’s all been great since then. I have looked at other sites but nothing comes even close to the user experience of TrustedHousesitters - and that’s improved the past three years, too! I also feel that the quality of sits is farrrrr better with THS. I’ve been to some amazing places with THS and I’m super grateful for the amazing animals I’ve had the honour to care for.

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For years, when we worked and lived in Paris, we exchanged homes having only one dog that we put in pension when we traveled (he was quite agressive with strangers


When we moved to Provence, we adopted 2 cute (but big) rescue dogs. Then it became more difficult to find home swappers to look after them when we exchanged, although “looking after” them meant only feeding them, letting them free in a huge garden, so no need to walk them. The cat was no problem, but I refused to put these dogs in any pension. They had been abandoned before.
That’s why I’ve been informed by a friend, member of another organization, that pet sitters could be a solution. After a horrible first experience (the death of one dog while we were very far away) we were happy with all sitters, some came twice.
It gave me an idea : my husband does not want to travel as much as I do. So doing pet sitting allows me to travel alone, to stay with animals (I love their company) and I know my pets are happy with my husband. They are all males

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I’ve done a short sit last february in Guernesey (for 4 days only , instead of a week, as a storm announced by the forecast pushed the owners to come eback from London,and I had to go back myself to London in order to be able to take my other flight to France).
Reading your post makes me ask you a question : do you sit sometimes for a day or two in your island ? Or do you prefer to go away ? On my side, I’ve contacted some owners living near by suggesting I could help them if they had to leave their pets for one day or two, none ever replied. I thought I could be helpful and it could bring me more references.
I liked very much your story. Do you speak french ? I may contact you directly, I’m mostly an owner and ocassionnally a sitter, if yes. I guess on the list of sitters living in Guernesey there must not be too many Jane ??

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Hello! Good to hear from you. Yes, we do prefer to go away as, although we enjoy the company of an animal, we also want to travel. We’re reluctant to do sits here on the island as unfortunately we find that there’s a danger of becoming a regular dog-sitting service. As you’ll be aware you often become friends with the owners and then it’s hard to say no. We’ve missed the opportunity to do other sits having agreed to look after the same animals here. We have recently been approached by new owners here but have declined due to Covid. There are about half a dozen sitters here registered with TH (or there were last time I looked!) However, there are several commercial sitters/dog-walkers so I’m not sure how often sits here come up. It may be that you were the person who sat for one of our families here! I hope that helps.
Happy sitting!
Jane

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Well I first heard about Trusted Housesitters when I read an article in ‘The Times’ some years ago about the founders. They were a couple who were travelling, got asked to housesit for someone while on their travels and thought it would be an idea to set up a housesitting organisation. I decided to join in 2012 in order to housesit for holidays, travelling from home but while I was still working. I never actually did housesit then and my membership lapsed. However, 2 years ago after not getting a job I really fancied I decided to relook at TH and thought I’d take up a travelling/housesitting so rejoined. In January 2019 I rented out my home, sold my furniture and car. So far I’ve done 19 housesits (11 in England and 8 in New Zealand). Back in my home owing to my travels cut short because of the pandemic.
I love the lifestyle and can’t wait to rent out my house again and get back in the road, meanwhile housesitting from home and back!

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For us it was the combined ability to continue our love of travel and still have the dog companions when we are at home. Most the time we work hard, And don’t travel. However, when we do travel we certainly love the peace of mind that our dogs are in their own home and we are not incurring the added cost of Long-term pet or day. As we often times take two week trip’s internationally that would add up very quickly for two large dogs.

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The dog’s name in Guernsey was Scheggia. I can’t publish her photo I guess as I 'm not going to bother the owners asking for permission. She was a terrier, cute.

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Ha! I thought it must be. They’ve become good friends of ours but we haven’t done too many sits for them as we’re often away from the island. I wrote about our first sit with Scheggia in my book ‘Barking Mad: Confessions of a Dog-Sitter’ ! Hopefully you’ll get the chance to come back for a longer stay some time.

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Her owners are english and italian ?? Barbara offered me a book when I left “invisible women”. The world is small…


Scheggia was not a barking dog at all. She was cute

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Yes, it’s the same family. Scheggia has an account on twitter! She’s certainly very barky at times! You obviously charmed her!

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Why am I, now, I a member of THS when I was before a member of another organisation, similar, but with ads in french and in english?
Because on Nomador if a sitter or an owner, does not like a comment, s/he can delete it !
On Nomador you can subscribe for free as long as you sit only 3 times a year , or seek a sitter only 2 (?) per year. it comes to money when you want more
I don’t like “free” sites. If an owner does not want to pay 70 € to find the good person, it sounds strange as s/he will live in your home, look after your furry kids !
As an owner I always chose the sitters who had paid the subscription (these ones only could have feed backs from owners published and see more photos of their homes published by HO)

I much prefer THS where comments can’t be deleted, you may always reply to a critic If you find it unfair.

I appreciate THS vet line, the easiness to contact the team, the ads length and precisions, the full profiles and listings, the reviews and feedbacks.

My only critic ? missing answer ratings…

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My husband and I took a first time cruise in 2015 from Singapore to Dubai. We met a couple from England who we became quite friendly with on the cruise and they were talking about their pets and I asked who looked after the pets and they said “Trusted HouseSitters”. I’d never heard of THS so was intrigued. I’d thought of doing home swaps but never thought of house and pet sitting. We joined as soon as we returned home and applied on our first local sit which we were so excited to get and did a lot of local house sits in the beginning to get a feel for it.

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During 2017 spent $1,500.00 for a 2 week stay at a AirBnB in Boulder, Colorado.

During 2020 spent $300.00 to travel to Housesits for four (4) months in New Mexico and Colorado…

'Nough said?

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