Pet Sitting Rescue Dogs

Pet Sitting Rescue Dogs

Pet Sitting Rescue Dogs

We have just completed our 43rd pet sit, caring for Kai a big strong 4 year old male  German Shepherd/Pit Bull Cross.  

This has been our most challenging pet sit yet and also our most rewarding one.  

So much so, that I felt compelled to share our experience with Kai and our other experiences so far with the different rescue dogs we have cared for, in the hope of highlighting some of our key observations we have made and strategies that have worked, that may help fellow sitters with rescue dog assignments and perhaps even owners of rescue dogs who are keen to hear about our experiences and results.

Meet Kai 4 year old German Shepherd/Pit Bull Mix

Kai is a rescue dog with more than a few anxiety issues, makes you wonder what the first part of his life was like.  Woe betide anyone that strokes him without him seeing your hand move first and takes him unawares, lots of defensive barking.  To add to that recently Kai had a traumatic event happen, his owner told us, when a previous pet sitter who got his prong chain collar stuck on him tightly and had to call in Animal Control to snip it off of him. Since then he has been understandably guarded about his collar. A next sitter left after just one day as Kai became aggressive towards her (all because of his anxieties with this collar).

He is a big strong dog and he gets over excited and hard to calm down.   But when he does we can tell he has a loving side to him and wants to be good. As Pet Sitters we do all we can for the pets in our care and call on all our experiences and kindness to keep them safe and happy and feeling loved, always being respectful of their characters and anxieties.   We’ll never be able to fix all the anxiety problems of a rescue dog that misses his mum and has had a recent trauma with a stranger.  What we do is to try to create our own little oasis of calm and love for the pets and we take it everywhere we go.

Kai loved evening time and laid on or very close to us on the sofa, it melts our hearts seeing this softer side of him. He actually sleeps on the bed, so he must want to feel close to us, we didn’t mind. He has a cuddly blanket that he holds and sucks on at night when he’s tired, he’s such a needy boy really, it pulls on our heart strings.

Our week was consumed with providing Kai with so much love, encouragement, praise and attention.  We told him ‘good boy’ continuously, unless it was not appropriate.

Meet Kai

Kai lives with his lady owner and she mentioned on our arrival that Kai is quite dominant. He pulls on the lead, can be very boisterous when playing and barks at dogs he doesn’t like.   He gets ‘spooked’ at loud sudden noises and if he is touched/stroked unexpectedly.  She told us that on occasions Kai will guard the door to stop her from leaving him when she goes to work. 

So with all of the above, we have set the scene for you about the type of pet with issues we have in our care for the week!

The prong collar Kai wears, his owner told us, is due to his pulling on walks.  However, he has big issues with this collar as we explained above. 

Now, I hear you shouting, why is the owner still making the dog wear the collar?  The answer is that the owner, who has no problem herself putting it on Kai, felt it stops him pulling on the lead.   She was very anxious about us using the collar with Kai,  but she wanted us to use it as she knew it was a collar strong enough to hold him.

In fact, Kai is a clever dog and we believe could quickly be trained to walk better on the lead without pulling and then eliminating the need for the prong type of collar.  We kept him close to us when walking and avoided other dogs when we could.  When we had to pass another dog, we would turn and distract Kai away, getting him to sit for treats and then lots of praise when he ignored the other dog. By the end of our week he was walking much better, sitting at pedestrian lights, we were so proud of him!

Before I continue, having read just this back, it must sound as if this dog is far too dangerous to be left with strangers. But, honestly, Kai is anything but dangerous as we grew to learn during our time with him. 

We’d love for you to continue reading this post and please do send your comments and experiences at the bottom of this blog post page. We ourselves learn something new about the pets in our care on every single sit and are still learning from others, it would be great to hear your experiences so we can all learn together.

Kai The Rescue
Kai Has A Lot Of Love To Give But Always Had An Ear Up Listening - Never Totally Relaxed!

Thanks for staying with us! I have become extremely interested in rescue dogs behaviour and recently taken a course in Canine Behaviour Training, purely to further my understanding of these beautiful animals.

Lets continue by telling you about the experience we had with Kai, what we learned and what we tried to provide him with the best pet sitting experience we possibly could.

Managing Aggressive Play with Kai

On arrival we were greeted with boisterous excitement from Kai and his immediate request for us to play tug the toy with him. The owner said he loved this type of play but can get a little aggressive and when this happens we should turn away and hide our hands and he then knows to stop.

Now we’ve sat for a number of dogs that love a game of tug of war, but Kai’s toy tugging play was true to the owners comment, meaning it quickly turned to aggressive behaviour towards myself including accidental biting, growling, and scratching. He really just didn’t know when and how to stop, the build up of excitement just got to a stage where he lost control.

From the moment we took charge of Kai, we toned down the tug playing game to a very gentle style, which meant that Kai would no longer be really pulling the toy away from us, each time he began to pull we just let go, as a result he just kept coming back to let us grab hold of the toy each time. If we felt he was starting to show any signs of aggression we would immediately let go of the toy.

With lots of praise and encouragement to be gentle and this very calm approach to his favoutie tug play, as soon as the second day we saw signs of a much gentler play from him and very little sign of the aggressive play we’d first experienced.   As with all dog training, repetition, routine and rewards are definitely key. We noticed through the week Kai was playing in a much gentler manner.

Thinking about it though, if a dog has aggressive issues, its perhaps not such a good idea to encourage games that encourage signs of aggression. Maybe using a Kong to entertain them and throwing a ball when on walks might be a more suitable way of entertaining them.

Managing Stress Related Aggression

Our dreaded collar issues comes under this section!   I have aleady told you about the awful experience Kai had with his collar just a few months before we sat for him, when his prong collar got tangled and had be cut off him.  Now I can’t begin to imagine what an awful experience this must have been for Kai and trying to imagine what a stressful experience it was for him helped immensely in how we would go about fastening and removing his collar before and after each walk.

He was understandably very wary of having his collar put on and in particular having it taken off, especially with us being total strangers, so we took a gentle approach which seemed to be working well for the first couple of days. However, on day three, as we were taking off the collar he got spooked by a loud outside noise and became very aggressive to tell us to stop. Now any one that has experienced first hand an aggressive dog will know what a scary experience it can be! A few minutes after the event it was so obvious that Kai was very sorry and that his intention was not to harm us but just to tell us he was frightened.

In order to ensure Kai didn’t have any undue stress we decided to leave the collar on while we came up with a plan that may help him become more trusting of having the collar removed and be more comfortable with what for most dogs is a regular part of daily life.

We are true believers that the best form of dog training is praise and rewards.   So using this Reward method, we would sit Kai down, 4 times a day, and show him a treat while we clipped his lead to the prong collar. Each time he let us do this we gave him the treat and plenty of praise. Kai was pretty intelligent and got the idea very quickly that the treat related directly to him letting us clip the lead to the collar.

We felt that we needed to gain Kai’s trust more before we attempted again to take his collar off. So coupled with the treats and praise when attaching and removing the lead, we spent a lot of time cuddling him, stroking him and pretending to accidentally touch the collar while giving him plenty of praise. We continued this for a full 3 days before we made the attempt to try and remove the collar. On day 6, on our return from the morning walk, Kai was already sitting waiting, his eyes fixed on his treat which was showed to him every time we removed the lead, but this time, very gently, we slid the collar off him …… and it worked!  He got lots of praise as you can imagine.

The combination of treats, praise, building trust and repetition turned Kai’s bad experience into one that he now associated as being a positive experience (even if he ultimately new he would receive a treat as a reward for being so good!) 

Managing Nervous Anxiety with Harry

August 2019 we sat for Harry – a very nervous and anxious but totally sweet rescue Saluki.   Harry’s parents were retired and spent all of the day with him, never leaving him for more than a couple of hours.  He was an extremely nervous dog, frightened of tall men in particular they said and they had never left him before with pet sitters. Bearing this in mind, when the owners got in touch we went out of our way to go and visit them prior to confirming the sit, so that they could meet us and hopefully be reassured that we would be suitable sitters for Harry but also for us to get a little idea of Harry’s anxieties.

Meet Harry The shy Saluki!

From the moment we arrived at the home and the owners left for their vacation, Harry spent the whole day laying upstairs on the bed clearly wanting to be away from us.  Julie went up regularly to check on him and chatted to him as she spent time in the room with him so that he could get to know her voice and presence.

Fully understanding Harry’s anxieties helped Julie coax him around to at least come down for his evening meal. It was clear that his anxiety was with me as the owners had made us aware of his nervousness of tall men. I gave him plenty of space and if close to Harry I made sure I spoke softly and made no sudden movements.

Julie was very quick to bond with Harry, she has a bit of a gift with anxious rescues and not only was she able to coax him to come down for his supper she  also got him to sleep in his basket next to her side of the bed that night. The key thing was that we respected his anxiety and accepted that I had to almost ignore Harry until he felt ready to express an interest in me, as difficult as that was for me.

On day 2 Harry began walking passed me without becoming nervous and dashing by me as quick as he could, as he had before.   On day 3 Harry ate his breakfast while I was in the kitchen – what dog doesn’t warm to the person that fills his food bowl up!  He then let me take him out for his first walk of the day on our own – huge progress and a turning point.   

Most dogs love to be groomed and Harry was no exception his owners had told us.  So here was another chance to bond with him, at grooming time. Must have felt nice, we caught him smiling!

On day 4 Harry slept on the bed with us and let me stroke him and from then on happily came to me to have his lead put on at walk times. He had at last bonded with me through our taking gentle steps with him and going at Harry’s pace!  A really rewarding experience!

Harry The Saluki

Managing Separation Anxiety with Monty

We saw signs of separation anxiety behaviour whilst caring for  Monty – a rescue Jack Russell Cross. This is quite a difficult anxiety to know how to manage but we found the best way to go about it was to keep Monty happy and entertained to take his mind off him missing his parents and being fretful.   Taking him on his favourite long walks and lots of playtime with treats during the day and most importantly, for the first few days, was not leaving him on his own. This was a little easier as we were a couple so if we needed provisions one of us could go out for them. 

Meet Monty The Jack Russell Cross

This approach worked really well, spending lots of fun time with Monty, and over these first few days we saw a real change in his emotions and growing in confidence and he began to enjoy cuddles from us instead of shying away.

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Venice, California

Venice Beach So What’s It Really Like

Venice, California
Welcome to Venice, California!

We were excited to be spending Christmas and New Year in Venice Beach, we’d been pretty lucky to be chosen for the sit from quite a few applicants and would be caring for 2 easy cats for the owners. We headed straight down from our house sit in Placerville via Pacific Highway 1.

Tip: To give yourself the best chance of getting some amazing sits like this one in Venice Beach take a look at our post on Joining Trusted House Sitters, full of tips on how to stand out above the crowds!

We had the use of the owners lovely 3 bedroom home just a 20 minute walk from Venice Beach Boardwalk. A pretty good location to explore Venice and nearby Santa Monica.

Meet Smudge and Cashmere, our Venice Pet Sitting Buddies!

Venice Beach was not quite what we expected, or should we say not like the photos depicted. First impression of the boardwalk was of a mix of graffiti, an abundance of clothing stores, fast food outlets and we feel we have to mention it, the numerous homeless people encamped along the boardwalk. We only mention this as we want to portray and honest version of our stay in Venice. We also feel very sorry that our fellow humans have been put in a position that they have to live on the streets. We’d be very interested to here anyone else’s first impression of Venice Beach, please feel free to drop us a comment at the bottom of this blog.

Having given our first impression, we have to say that our impression did change the longer we stayed in Venice, so please read on!

Venice Beach Promenade
Venice Beach Promenade!

Second impression was a little different once we had googled a little more about Venice Beach. We found words like, “interesting”, “eclectic” and “crazy” and started build an idea of exactly what Venice Beach was all about. In summary it really is an unusual place and a really great place to people watch!

Graffiti Art Venice Beach
Just one of some of the amazing graffiti art around Venice Beach!

Venice does actually pay homage to its Italian name sake, as it has a section of canals at one end of the town, colourful buildings, lots of rather unique art and certainly a lot of unusual characters who you’ll regularly see on the boardwalk.

Venice Canals California
Venice Canals in California!

The beach is pretty amazing, stretching as far as the eye can see, its attached to Santa Monica at one end and encompasses Marina del Rey at the other. If you walk toward Marina del Rey along the boardwalk you’ll eventually hit one of the best parts of the beach in my opinion, just last the pier and away from the hustle and bustle of Venice you’ll find a beautiful stretch of sand fringed by some rather unique houses and apartment buildings. Head the other way towards Santa Monica, past Muscle Beach and the rather should we say unique part of Venice boardwalk, you’ll reach the first part of Santa Monica where you can almost feel the different vibe!

View of Venice Beach
Venice Beach and the Boardwalk!

So what about some brunch while in Venice? Well, like many travellers we headed to Egg Slut, which is located just by the Venice Sign. We grabbed a couple of Bacon, Egg and Cheese to go. For some reason they didn’t serve coffee after 11.30am, so we headed down the boardwalk to Starbucks!

Eggslut Venice Beach
Two of the biggest Eggsluts you've ever seen!

One more thing before you go. Be sure to head down to the beach at dusk, as Venice is known for having some pretty amazing sunsets!

Venice Beach Sunset
Beautiful sunset at Venice Beach!

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Placerville

Exploring Hangman Town Now Known As Placerville

Placerville
Placerville or as it was called in the old days Hangman Town

Our California house sitting journey has take us to Hangman Town known today as Placerville. An old gold mining town with a very interesting past, particularly for a number of criminals hanged from a tree for their crimes way back in the 1840’s and 50’s hence it used to be called Hangman Town.

Tip: To give yourself the best chance of getting some amazing sits like this one in Placerville take a look at our post on Joining Trusted House Sitters, full of tips on how to stand out above the crowds!

Our accommodation for the week was house sitting for a couple who had a property up in the hills with lots of land looking over the town and we had the pleasure of caring for their cat called Suni and three very characterful chickens.

Placerville Pet Sitting
Pet Sitting Our Three Feathered Friends

Placerville retains its old gold mining town charm and feels a bit like going back in time when you head down into the main street. With its bell tower in the square and reminder of its Hangtown past with the local ice cream parlour still having a noose hanging from its top floor. Couple this with main the street full of shops with old fashioned signs and four wheel drives signifying that you really are up in the hills, makes this a real experience of imagining how it was back in the gold rush era.

Hangman Tree now days an ice cream parlour!

Our favourite coffee stop was Placerville Coffee Depot located at the end of Main Street and Hog Wild BBQ provided us with a great meal, check them out if you like ribs, chicken or pulled pork.

We were visiting in December and amazed at the number of shops specialising in Christmas ornaments and decorations. It looked as if they sold them all year round, really pretty to look round but amazing to think that people are buying Christmas decorations all year round!

Placerville Town Centre
Placerville Town Centre

For food shopping you’ll need to head to the other end of town which felt like you were going to another town all together, its a good couple of miles along Placerville Drive to Raley’s Supermarket or take the main highway to Perks Corner and you’ll find a Safeway Store.

For the cheapest petrol in town head for Fuel 4 Less at the end of Main Street.

Parking in Placerville is pretty good too, roadside parking and a few car parks, all offer 2 hours free parking before they start charging. Plenty long enough to explore the town and grab a coffee.

Haircut in Placerville
Jonathan getting a trim at the one of a kind Barbers Shop in Placerville, best place to find out all the local gossip!

One of the main reasons for us taking the house sit out in Placerville was the opportunity to take a day trip to Lake Tahoe. Its a must go place for fabulous scenery, good skiing and water sports, really good hiking spots and great places to eat and drink.

Lake Tahoe
Beautiful Lake Tahoe

We took the stunning scenic route 50 through Eldorado Forest to South Lake Tahoe. Talk about a stroke of luck as we had heard about a winter storm a few days before we arrived in Placerville and half expected the road to be closed or snow chains needed. But we had blue sky, clear roads and snow on the trees. It was just like one of those scenic drives you only ever dream of doing. Simply beautiful!

Winter Drive to Lake Tahoe
The stunning drive to Lake Tahoe

After about an hours drive we reached South Lake Tahoe, a really popular town boasting ski resorts and a fabulous lakeside location, providing what can only be described as paradise for water sports and winter sports lovers!

Our plan was to drive the 72 miles around the lake, and we decided to go anti clockwise due to the position of the sun for photos. We set of on the 89 towards Tahoe City.

Winter in Lake Tahoe
Jonathan trying to capture the beauty of Lake Tahoe

First stop was the Emerald Bay View Point for what has to be one of the best views of Lake Tahoe. There are a few view points where you can capture panoramas of the mountains and lake. We hiked out through the snow to a cliff top overlooking the lake which took some doing, but we had it to ourselves and captured what we thought was the perfect selfie.  After a long hike back to the car, we set off heading further north, shortly arriving at the official Emerald Bay View point with a really easy walk to get the perfect selfie! We drove past it muttering!

Emerald Bay View Point
The most photographed point at Lake Tahoe - Emerald Bay View Point

Second stop was Tahoe City, a waterfront location and plenty of shops, but not a decent coffee shop in sight, so we headed further north!

Coffee Lake Tahoe
One of the most scenic coffee stops ever!

Third stop was incline village where we hunted down a Starbucks to takeaway. Incline village is pretty big actually and has some fabulous houses and a great place to pay a visit to Lake Tahoe State Park and San Harbour, which were our next stop, the perfect spot to sit on the rocks and drink takeaway coffee!  There is a really nice footpath walk by the side of the lake at Secret Harbor and some great photo opportunities at Secret Cove and Chimney Beach.

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park!

Heading back down to the southern part of the lake taking the 28 and then on to the 50 we passed through Nevada State Park, East Shore Forest and Zephyr Cove Park as we return to our start point at South Lake Tahoe just as the sunset. From the lakeside we could watch the last few skiers taking their last run down the mountain at the Heavenly Ski Resort while watching the sun set over the lake and mountains in the other direction. A great finish to a fantastic day!

South Lake Tahoe - ski runs in the background taken from the lakeside!

We had a great week staying at Placerville, drinking coffee on the porch while feeding the chickens and caring for their sweet kitty. We even had a couple of visits from the local wild black turkeys that roam the area.

Placerville A Visit From Wild Turkeys
A visit from the wild turkeys in the back garden of the house!

In summary we found Placerville a beautiful place to spend a week. The highlight was definitely the day trip to Lake Tahoe, and we really recommend taking the time to try and get up to the lake if you are visiting California, its well worth the drive, so much so that we would love to return and stay down by the lake if ever a house sit came up down there, we are keeping our eye out for one!

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netty and tortoise

Start House Sitting

Want to know about a fantastic travel hack??  House and Pet Sitting is the latest trend of low cost travelling – whether you want a long term adventure or an affordable vacation staying ACCOMMODATION FREE!  read on! Do you enjoy the company of animals, meeting new people and want to extend your travel budgets …. if this sounds good – then continue reading because we want to tell you more about this fur-bulous way to travel and how it all works.   So many people say it must cost a fortune to fund all of our travels, it doesn’t, we have a very low travel budget, here’s how it works!

House sitting allows you to ‘live like locals’ instead of staying in bland hotels. You will meet the most wonderful and gracious people along the way. We hope this blog will help you start your own adventure travelling around the world!  

This concept of travelling to different destinations caring for owners homes and pets can work for any adult age group.  You just have to love animals and be aware of your responsibilities to the owner for their pets and their home and understand that house and pet sitting is a commitment and not a free holiday; keeping all the time to the owners’ wishes and instructions. Younger adults are embracing this way of travelling, often full-time.  But this way of travel isn’t just for younger long-term nomads, pet sitting is a great way to spend your retirement, it may only be for short breaks now and then, enabling you to enjoy a different location and a new environment. House and pet sitting can make life so interesting and varied and the house sits range from weekends to months in length.

Pet sitting is a win/win for both pet sitters and pet/home owners. The owners get to travel with peace of mind because their home and pet(s) are being exceptionally well cared for in their own home and with no costly boarding expenses. And travelling Pet sitters like us, get to enjoy time staying in beautiful cities around the world giving lots of love to pets and homes. Another great aspect to this adventure is that no money changes hands; it is all about trust, obligation, diligence, kindness and care.

SO THE FIRST THING TO DO IS JOIN AN ONLINE HOUSE SITTING AGENCY –   

There are now quite a few that bring together house/pet Owners and house/pet Sitters. The Owners advertise their ‘sitter’ requests and on the same website house/pet Sitters are able to promote themselves and their strengths and their availability to sit. Our favourite by far, is this House/Pet Sitting platform Trustedhousesitters  – it is the one that we use, it has the largest international house sitting community – covering over 70 countries – and we can fully recommend it because we are paying members ourselves.   It has been around since 2010.  They have the greatest number of world wide listings and the highest quality listings.    What would you say to this??? – Three months living in a Chattel house on a Caribbean island?  A month in a villa Southern France…..yes, for real!  

 

You can read here about ‘how to’ along with ‘tips on’  joining the online House sitting Community   and further below we have outlined further points think about. 

There is an annual fee to pay to sign up to the TrustedHousesitting online Agency – both for Owners and Sitters. The fee is £89.00 GBP ($119.00 USD).

Once you have signed up as a Sitter, you will be able to read the twice daily postings of the latest house sits that are emailed to you direct as placed on their website by home owners.  Then, when you see a sit that gets your attention ie. the pets, dates, location etc are of interest to you, then you can apply to do the sit via the secure website. 

Pet sitters of course fund their travel costs to arrive at the sit. And in exchange for the caring and loving of the pet(s) and the owners home, and garden if needed, swimming pool etc., the accommodation is free, therefore, keeping living costs extremely low for the sitter.  The majority of our last two years have been spent house-sitting, saving us well over £10,000 in accommodation costs, allowing us to spend that savings on an incredible set of travel experiences we might never have enjoyed otherwise.  For instance the saving helped us fund a 16 day road trip around California before the start of our international pet sitting adventure in the USA.

  as

Once you have joined an international pet/house sitting agency you need to think about the following:

1.  CREATE A GREAT PROFILE FOR YOURSELF………….You need to stand out from the competition!   Your Profile has to really impress the owners.  Head on over to our blog post ‘tips on creating your great Profile‘ for help on creating your great profile.

2.  RESPOND TO SITS QUICKLY…………………… When you see a sit that ‘grabs’ you apply as quickly as possible, you will be amazed at the amount of sitters that will also apply. If you are lucky enough to be selected by owners on to their shortlist – offer the opportunity to Skype/Facetime. We have Skyped prior to confirming all our sits, it’s a great way to ‘meet’ the homeowners and get to know them, both parties need to feel happy and relaxed that they’ve made a good choice.   In our opinion you can gauge very quickly in this type of ‘meet up’ if you’ve found a good match.

3.  READ THE HOUSE OWNER’S REQUIREMENTS ……………….  Observe these fully and make sure you are comfortable and able to carry out the requested tasks. It may be that the dog will need two hour-long daily walks, or the pet may be in need of daily injections, there may be specific house/pool maintenance tasks. Don’t commit unless you are happy to carry out all of the responsibilities. Of course do your own due diligence about the location of the sit, research the neighbourhood, you want to be sure you feel happy in that locality especially if the sit is for an extended period of time.

4.  TRAVEL VISA REQUIREMENTS………………. They differ sometimes from one country to another and you want to be sure that you comply with the Visa requirements fully. Before taking on a sit in another country make sure that you are able to stay in that country long enough or you are able to apply for any necessary visa in time for the sit.

5.  ARRIVE FULLY PREPARED ……………. Make sure you have received the Owner’s Welcome Pack at least a week before you arrive for the sit. It will contain all the relevant information about the house and the pet(s), more detailed information on the owners requirements, emergency contact information, location of the nearest clinic/hospital, watering of indoor and outdoor plants, dishes they prefer not to be used, how to operate the home alarm system if there is one, the vets details etc. Always make a note of the main specifics to take with you on arrival and a note of any questions to ask the homeowners. It’s your job to make sure you ask all the questions you need answers to.

6.  KEEP IN TOUCH……………. Not going overboard, but certainly letting the owners know how everything is going and how their pet(s) are doing. Of course some owners want frequent updates and some not so much. You can always ask the owner’s preference about this. We always send a photo or two showing the pet(s) happy and relaxed, to put the owners minds at rest while they are away from their home.

7. RESPONSILIBITY…………….. Whether you are staying in a villa in Italy or somewhere amazing you have never visited before, never lose sight of the responsibility of pet care.  Of course the owners will want you to enjoy their home area and explore a little, if we are sitting for say dogs and they are happy to explore with us we are always happy to take them with us, if not, we never leave the home/pets for long periods of time, never for more than 4-5 hours in a day, go by what the owners say too.  If the homeowner walks their dog an hour in the morning and an hour each evening; you need to commit to that schedule 100%. While you’re not getting paid, taking care of the pet is still ‘your job’ and that responsibility should be taken very seriously.

8.  RESPECT THE OWNER’S HOME…………….You will need to treat the owners home as you would your own, keeping it clean throughout, dusting and vacuuming, washing dishes, cleaning bathrooms, and before the owner returns making sure all that you have used – fridge, microwave, oven, toaster etc are all thoroughly cleaned.

9.  ON THE OWNER’S RETURN……………… As well as having the owners house clean and ready for them along with having their pets relaxed and exercised, it’s a really nice idea to have a meal prepared for the owners on their homecoming, you can chat about their travels, tell them how the pet/house sit has gone all over a home cooked meal and a glass of wine. This obviously depends on the owners return time along with having an idea of what the owners like to eat!

10.  ASK FOR A REFERENCE …………….. If you have done a great job they will give you a great reference and that will go a long way towards your future sits. Informing prospective owners on your sitting performance. On TrustedHousesitters the pet/homeowners post their reference directly to the website.  No one can revise or edit the reference in anyway before it’s posted, so all references are genuine.

With home and pet sitting you get to live like a local. You get to know the locals and their lifestyle. As a tourist you often only see the tourist sights where you’re staying, but as a house Sitter you get to see the daily life of locals, visit the local market and chat to neighbours. The house Owners will give you great local knowledge on best sights to go to as well as best coffee shops and lunch spots.

House sitting, especially those for longer periods, allows the opportunity to travel at a much more relaxed pace.  Where possible we always take the pet(s) with us on journeys out, mixing visiting local sites and places of interest with their exercise requirements.  If they cannot or do not like to walk too far or journey in the car, we make sure they are well cared for/exercised etc before we pop out to the shops or for a visit and make sure we return within the acceptable time that the Owners have instructed us about.

Making worldwide friendships – you get to know the owners, initially through the correspondence you have together about the sit and then further when you have been accepted. You get to meet the owners at the beginning of the sit and then when they return from their vacation and the communication whilst they are away. We have made long-lasting friends around the globe. When you do a great job for the owners, they are so grateful to you for caring for their treasured pets and as sitters you are thankful to them for welcoming you into their home – they open up their homes to you, often introducing you to their families and neighbours and very often a strong and immediate bond is formed. Having the opportunity to meet new people all around the world is something we cherish and feel very grateful for.

Pet sitting can be truly life changing as it has been for us who have taken to pet sitting almost full time. Pet sitting can also open up opportunities to travel to countries you never thought you’d get to travel too – in our case California and Cape Town so far – where will our pet sitting journey take us to next?

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Mookie in San Francisco

Pets Sitting in San Francisco With Mookie The Samoyed

Mookie in San Francisco
We have been lucky enough to have the chance to visit San Francisco all thanks to pet sitting. Our live in buddy for 10 days was Mookie the Samoyed. Just 1 and a half years old and full of energy, Mookie showed us the sights of Sunset District, his favourite Ocean Beach walk and all his mates down in the dog park at Stern Grove.
Tip: To give yourself the best chance of getting some amazing sits like this one in San Francisco take a look at our post on Joining Trusted House Sitters, full of tips on how to stand out above the crowds!
We had the use of the owners beautiful home in the heart of Sunset District, just a mile from the beach and a short walk to supermarkets and restaurants. The owners were kind enough to leave us their car so we could explore the area further and take Mookie to some of his favourite places.
Mookie in the Car
Mookie Seeing If His Mates Were At The Beach!

Ocean Beach

A beautiful long sandy beach that welcomes dogs, the beach stretches from past Golden Gate Park to the end of San Francisco Zoo. Its a popular beach for surfers and has plenty of roadside parking. Mookie loved it here, chasing sticks, digging in the sand and playing with passing dogs.
Tip: Make sure to head to the beach for Sunset, you can get some great photos and watch the sunset while sitting on the sand dunes.
Mookie at the Beach
Amazing Sunset With Mookie at The Beach!

Stern Grove

Spanning over 30 acres Stern Grove Recreational Park is a great place for dogs as it has a nice dog park popular with the locals. Located in Sunset District it was just a few minutes drive from the house and one of Mookie’s favourite places. We took him to the park in the mornings as this was when his best friends a lively Alsatian, a Springer Spaniel and a baby French Bulldog were at the park. He couldn’t resist a paddle in Pine Lake one of three lakes in the park.

Tip: Keep an eye out for the dates of Stern Grove Festival, a free event of weekly concerts and performances held at the outdoor amphitheatre.

On Our Way to Stern Grove Dog Park!

Downtown San Francisco

Unfortunately we were unable to take Mookie downtown as he wasn’t very keen on the crowds and traffic. The bus stop was conveniently located at the end of the road and the owners had said that the traffic and parking were both horrendous down town, so as we didn’t have Mookie with us we opted for the bus. We ordered a $5 all day ticket using the MuniMoblile App giving us access to all buses. A 50 minute bus journey from Sunset to Downtown, a quick change of bus and then down to Fisherman’s Wharf. 
 
The Wharf is lined with shops and restaurants, make sure you walk as far as Pier 39, bustling with great places to eat, a variety of shops and a great atmosphere. If you fancy a boat trip under Golden Gate Bridge or a excursion to Alcatraz, then you can book them down at the wharf or during the busy months probably a good idea to book online.
Tip: We had lunch at Chowders on Pier 39, a bustling little restaurant serving great Clam Chowder, Fish and Chips and really good prawn cocktail. We highly recommend the Chowder, they serve both red and white, we opted for the white!
After lunch we took a walk up the steep hill at Hyde Street to take a look at the famous crooked street features 8 hairpin turns. You can take the Tram up the street if hill walking isn’t your thing!
 
Before we headed home to Mookie we had time to take a bus up to China Town to pick up some cheap fruit and veg. From here we could walk to Union Square shopping district, home to stores including Macy’s, Bloomingdales and H&M. From here we picked up the No.7 bus back to Sunset District.
Fishermans Wharf San Francisco
Pier 39 at Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco!

Best Views Of Golden Gate Bridge

We just had to have a selfie at Golden Gate Bridge, so did a little research and found out that there are a few places you can get a good view from. We took the scenic drive from Sunset District around Sea Cliff. We stopped at Baker Beach to walk Mookie and had a picture with him on the beach and Golden Gate Bridge. We then drove on to Golden Gate Lookout for a selfie, but actually found that the photos on the beach had a better angle of the bridge.

Selfie Of Golden Gate Bridge
Selfie At Golden Gate Bridge

Funston Beach and Park

A little gem just south of San Francisco Zoo and opposite Lake Merced, Funston Park is a great place to take the dog, with lovely walking paths following Sunset, Chip or Horse Trail. Sheltered by pine trees and with beautiful ocean views from some areas of the walking trails it really is an idyllic area. A popular hand gliding site too.

Funston Beach Trail takes you down a steep path which accesses the beach. A beautiful stretch of beach, when we visited we had the whole beach to ourselves. There is a car park at the southern end of the park.

This was one of Mookie’s favourite places to go!

Funston Beach
Mookie Having A Great Time With New Friends At Funston Park And Beach

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is huge measuring 1,017 acres and is located at the north end of Sunset District and really popular it boast within the park a golf course, an angling club, a dog training area, polo field, pedal and rowing boat hire, botanical gardens, Japanese tea garden, a 10,000 seat sports stadium, lots of picnic areas, two dutch windmill, numerous lakes and footpaths, a herd of bison and we even came across a gaze of raccoons!

Free parking is available on Ocean Beach car park at the bottom end of the park (shuttle service operates between the free parking lot at Ocean Beach and major attractions within the park. The shuttle runs every 15 to 20 minutes from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and major holidays. Limited time parking can be found on many roadside locations in the park and on the outskirts. Underground paid parking is available at The Music Concourse on the north side of the park at 10th Avenue and Fulton Street. More paid parking is available at Kezar Stadium located near the Stanyan Street entrance to the park open all week and Millberry Union on Parnassus Street at weekends only.

Dutch Windmill Golden Gate Park
Dutch Windmill Golden Gate Park!
Lovely Footpath Walks in Golden Gate Park!

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