Share a short festive “tail” and we’ll donate $50 to your favorite animal or pet registered charity

We absolutely loved seeing all your Christmas photos in our recent photo share post - it lifted us into the festive spirit. And we know there’s a story in us to be told, so we’d love to hear the stories behind both these photos and also others from your “Christmas’s Past”

It’s hard to sometimes put these experiences down in words, to take the time and delve back for those stories … so we thought perhaps we could tempt you by offering $50 for every member story we receive, donated on your behalf to your favorite animal registered charity.

Tell us where in the world you’ve spent your festive time on house sits, something about the experience and the pets in your care. Here are some ideas …

  • Why did you choose that particular sit?
  • Was it the beginning of a new friendship between you and your owners or sitters?
  • Who did you look after?
  • What did you do to make Christmas special for everyone?
  • Did you learn anything that has stayed with you as an “I never knew that” moment?

You don’t need to be the greatest storyteller, just share memories from the heart. Owners or sitters - all stories are welcome - even those through the eyes of the pets!! We’ve already had one lovely story for “Christmas Future” from members @julie and John … have a read here for some inspiration:

So let your words flow, share your experiences and let’s create a celebration of Christmas for all our members to enjoy, while at the same time helping those charities so desperately in need of financial support to keep caring and helping animals and pets in need!

(Terms - Minimum of a 100 words for $50 donation to apply - you may submit as many stories as you like, but the $50 is once per forum member. Deadline for submissions is Midnight GMT December 15th )

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Great idea! Does this apply to animal sanctuaries in the US or worldwide?

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Hi @Timmy this applies to worldwide animal and pet registered charities that have online donation functionality.


I have a tail I would like to share. Do I post it on this thread?


Yes please Margaret, that would be lovely. Thank-you!

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Our first Xmas as smallholders made extra special by our ewes
When we were purchasing our current and first smallholding we received several ‘phone calls from the sellers asking did we want this and did we want that left for us. So, four ewes came as part of the fixtures and fittings; all due to lamb around Xmas time.

                          Dafty & her lamb, New Years Day

Dafty was one of these ewes and, I might add, was already named “Dafty”. Why? Well, the entry against her name in the records book stated “Dafty: beats up lamb for the first 3 days so need to make sure she is tied up so lamb can feed”.

She had lambed two times before we arrived and always had this problem of initially accepting her lamb. We were concerned that we would have to cope with a stroppy ewe trying to beat up its lamb.

It just so happened that in the first few months we were at our new property in Shropshire we visited another smallholder to talk about keeping pigs and ended up coming away with several aloe vera products. She was a good salesperson – in response to my query of does aloe vera work on animals we had a gel to rub on Dafty’s udder and a calming drink to put in her feed.

A couple of weeks before she was due to lamb we started the aloe vera treatment.

One evening Dafty was spotted to be in a corner of the barn by herself and looking a tad uncomfortable. A later check found it all quiet in the sheep barn at midnight … and at 2.00 am … and at 4.00 am ………… and at 6.00 am.
Were we being neurotic as we waited for the first lamb ???

Come breakfast time the lamb seemed to be emerging correctly but Dafty was laid on her side bleating out very loudly with each contraction. What a noise. “Was she alright?” we wondered. The lamb started to emerge and the noise continued. After a short while out slid the lamb, Dafty turned to it, started licking it to dry it off and it was soon feeding from her. She was the perfect mother. Was it the homeopathic treatment or was it just third lambing lucky?


Well @Margaret did she lamb again and did you ever find out what worked? I would say it was your wonderful care and good husbandry that won the day or should I say it was all about EWE … :heart_eyes: :sheep:

Thank you for sharing your lambing Christmas story … did you ever rename her?


Ho! Ho! Ho! Yes she lambed each year (loving all her lambs) till at the grand age of 12 she became our pet, loving her chest rubs and back scratches. Sha was always our Dafty.


My sister and I were heading to England to spend winter there in 2019. The motivation to go at that time of year was so we could experience a wintery Christmas with all the lights and decorations; visit Christmas markets, both in England and Europe; enjoy house and pet sits during the festive season; and spend time with our much loved elderly cousin who lives in Lincolnshire and to take her out for Christmas Day dinner. We had several sits booked both pre - and post - Christmas but sadly no sit in Lincolnshire near our cousin for over Christmas (there seems to be a shortage of listings in this county) so we had booked a B & B nearby which we had stayed at before.

The morning we were flying out, what should appear but a listing in a tiny hamlet less than 10 miles from our cousin for 23-28 December! And we knew that hamlet because we had sat there the year before for another owner! It was the shortest and quickest application I have ever written and I hoped the owner would be happy to wait till we had landed in England so we could discuss it further. On arrival at Brunei there was a message saying how thrilled she was to receive our message as she didn’t think she would get a sitter at short notice and ones who already knew her hamlet and some of its residents.

It was just meant to be! We had a wonderful time in her very comfortable home with two gorgeous cats for company. Plus we re-connected with those we already knew in the hamlet. As we already had a sit in Somerset booked from the 27th December, the owner kindly organised for the cats to be fed by our previous owner when we left early on the 27th. How nice was that.

And, of course, we got to spend time with our dear cousin over Christmas and enjoy an amazing, traditional Christmas Day dinner.

We are so thankful for how this all turned out. We flew back to Australia on the 24th January 2020 and we all know what has been happening in the world since then!


@temba That’s definitely a “meant to be” serendipitous story, and a lovely one to wake up to and read! Thank you for sharing!


We have been retired for 9 years now, 3 Christmas ski seasons, 2 with family and 4 long haul travelling. The 4 long haul have all been on housesits, rather than in hotels or hostels.
Our first ever sit, on our first trip, was in New Zealand for four lovely cats. We’ve remained in touch with John ever since.
Our second long haul Christmas was with “White Cat” in Hanoi. What a joy to be able to live like a local with the food and temples, and then to close the curtains in our apartment, have BBC radio on iPlayer, BBC TV and to make trifle with ingredients from the supermarket stocked for expats.
Our third long haul Christmas was three fabulous dogs, for six weeks, just south of Mexico city. We had hugs from our vegetable sellers in the market when we said we were leaving. ‘Chicken Man’ invited us to a fiesta and ‘Dog Man’ invited us into his house to meet the new puppies.
The fourth, just before Covid, was for an independent cat in a fabulous apartment just outside Johannesburg. Our first time in Africa, getting us nicely ‘aclimatized’ before we set off on 6 weeks of adventure.
Through all four housesits the consistent things have been fabulous pets and a roast chicken dinner with all the British trimmings.
We love THS


Thank you @JackieX for “tails” of your past house sitting Christmases! That’s quite a collection and well done for organizing a traditional Christmas lunch in each!! We had Christmas one year in Mexico, and for the life of me I can’t remember what we ate!! I remember Margaritas… maybe that’s the memory loss issue :rofl: Thank you for taking the time to share and hope this Christmas is just as memorable for you and your family :christmas_tree: :evergreen_tree:


Last Christmas was pretty depressing because we could not visit any of our family members or friends due to the pandemic. However, we were fortunate enough to book a lovely sit in Hilton Head South Carolina a few days after Christmas to enjoy ringing in the New Year at the beach. The home owners were delightful and their two small pups were a treat to spend time with. Caring for these sweet pups so that the homeowners could spend New Years with their family lifted our spirits. As an added bonus, one of their pups resembled our sweet Foxy who had passed away from dementia a few years ago. I found this to be a comfort and a sign that better times were ahead for us in 2021. This rang true. We have had many great sitting adventures this year, including a great Thanksgiving sit near my husband’s family. This Christmas we are booked for a sit in my hometown of New Orleans caring for cats and chickens. We will be able to celebrate the holidays with my family and our friends while being able to spend time with adorable pets while having our separate space. Being able to spend the holidays with pets and family is an amazing gift.


Thank you @Southernsitter for sharing your lovely memories of Christmas past and the comfort you got from the pups in your care. It’s so good also to hear of the positive experiences you’ve had this year and that precious time with your friends and family.

I’m sure we all agree… there is no better gift! Have a wonderful Christmas.



We started pet sitting three years ago during Christmas after we moved out of Rome. We had shipped most of our stuff to my parents and started our new journey with few belongings and many fluffy friends. Even though we had 0 reviews and there weren’t many sits in Italy we got contacted by a family in Ravenna. They were specifically looking for vegans because the last sitter didn’t quite understand the house rule not to prepare meat (she was spotted at the butcher’s), so we were in luck! The family had a boxer, a shepherd dog, and a kitty. The only problem was that I had a phobia of dogs, and the boxer was completely out of control (which we knew beforehand). This could have easily been both the start and the end of our pet sitting career, since I didn’t know how it would go and if I would be able to overcome my fear. My girlfriend could have handled the dogs on her own during this sit, but what about future sits? The boxer was a completely untrained energy bundle that had little self-control when excited (he was around 50 kg), so our first encounter was quite overwhelming. The backstory to my phobia is that in my neighbourhood growing up in Greece I was barked at every day by fierce, hyper aggressive guard dogs, so I never had any positive experience with dogs. But after just one day with Boogie the boxer I found myself with an uncontrollable beast of a dog on my lap watching TV. There was not one bit of aggression in his heart, only joy to meet new people and cuddle with them. He was so emotional and attached that he would go to his safe space (a cage) and sob when the owners left, and he had the same reaction when we travelled to our next destination.


Thank you @Timmy what a lovely story about trust and pets teaching humans … I lived in Ravenna for 2 years a pretty special place. Thank you for sharing your happy ending.

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Even on our darkest days…Love is always there

This is the story of the unconditional love of one sweet boy named Otis and the pure joy a little girl named Lila Ruby, brought back into our lives.

Our family suffered a heartbreaking loss in 2015, that no one could have ever imagined. Our daughter and her husband lost their infant daughter, Marlowe Rose, after a 5 week battle with a rare genetic disease.

They had adopted Otis as a rescue puppy back in 2011. As you can imagine, friends and family came together, during those horrific 5 weeks, to care for Otis and lend a hand in any way to possible. While mourning the loss of their daughter, Otis brought the necessary routine of daily life back into their existence.

On Christmas Day of 2016, the entire family had joy once again in our hearts, as we welcomed Lila Ruby home for the very first time.



Thank you @Joanne, smiling through the tears … have a wonderful Christmas.


Thank you @Angela-CommunityManager. Being able to travel this year, and spend time with family for the holidays, has been wonderful!

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