To paraphrase an old Navy slogan, be a house sitter and see the world. Statistics show that more than 60% of households in the United States have pets. Most have a pet dog and almost as many are homes to pet cats. Almost 12 million homes have pet fish and about 6 million have pet birds. Now, what happens to these pets when their owners have to be away from home for a family reunion, a vacation or a job assignment? The smaller pets, like bird and fish are often left in the care of a nearby relative or friendly neighbor. The larger ones like dogs or cats are consigned to a kennel or cattery. These methods can be difficult, are usually expensive or, in some cases, simply impossible. Enter the pet and house sitter.
|Shiny house sitter by trontnort, Creative Common Licence|
House sitters are mature, responsible individuals who takes care of a home and pets while the owner is away. House and pet sitting has evolved into an organized activity that provides house sitters with a unique opportunity to travel to different places around the country, or around the world, while enjoying free accommodation and the benefits of staying in the comfort of a home in the process.
House sitting requires living in the home and keeping it clean and secure. The house sitter can take care of the household chores such as receiving and forwarding mail, paying utility bills, tending to the garden and even supervising household repairs, depending upon what the home owner and sitter agree on. When pet sitting is included, it also means feeding and grooming the pet or pets, taking them to the vet if necessary, exercising them and taking care of them in general.
By doing house and pet sitting young students, retirees, people on a gap year or those in between office jobs can get to travel to many places, live in decent, comfortable homes and not have to pay for a hotel, apartment or rental accommodation. House and pet sitters often use these earnings to save up for a home, enroll in college or buy a car. Many others simply use it as a chance to visit new places they normally could not afford to.
For the house and pet owner, the sitter provides safety and security for the home as well as personalized care for the pet. For the pet owner, getting the services of a pet sitter is much less expensive than placing the pet in an animal care center. If the pet sitter looks after the home as well, the owner enjoys even bigger savings. Then, of course, there is the “psychological” benefit of keeping the pet at home in familiar surroundings and not subjecting it to the stress of a strange environment like a kennel or cattery.
Pet and house sitting have opened up new opportunities that make sitters happy, owners happy and, most of all, pets happy.