As a family we always look forward to any trip to Cornwall in the UK. This visit was particularly special. We secured an opportunity for dogsitting in Cornwall. The county has resonance for us as my husband has family here. Our charge was a dog called Puffin. Even as the founder of HouseSitMatch I still get a thrill from housesitting and dogsitting especially.
Discovering each new location from the owner’s perspective is one of the major benefits of this type of affordable travel. While dogsitting in Cornwall we enjoyed the daily pet care, and ran the home and garden care duties breaking up each day with a tourist visit and coastal walk. As well as getting to know Puffin our pet charge the visit revealed a few unexpected surprises.
What is a dogsitter?
A dogsitter is someone who loves dogs and is happy to care for dogs by dogsitting for their petowners in their own home. Your dog has their own bed, food and toys, enjoying all their home comforts while you are away, it is an affordable and practical alternative to kennels.
Dogsitting in Cornwall
As a family we’ve always loved dogs. And my husband has family in Cornwall so we are always eager to visit this coast. And I love housesitting so it seemed a good idea to try dogsitting in Cornwall. Why not? I think being able to housesit somewhere you like and care for a resident dog is the ultimate treat.
When this housesit first appeared on the website listings I hadn’t been thinking about dogsitting in Cornwall. However, on reading the advert could see that the owner was looking for dog sitters North Cornwall and then I became very excited. The thrill was because the housesit was situated near my husband’s relatives. Arrangements were made, and three weeks later we arrived at Kath’s house.
Kath was convinced that keeping Puffin at home with dog sitters was a good idea. She said it is ‘Best for my dog’ for her to be safe and relaxed in her own home when I am away, though she had considered dog boarding Truro among other options.
Dog sitters meet their pet charge
The first thing Kath the dog owner did on our arrival was introduce us to Puffin her dog. Puffin proved to be a wonderful pet, and hostess as it turned out. She showed us all her favourite toy hiding places and ball throwing areas on the local beaches and her favourite walks along the cliff faces.
Puffin is a little nervous, of tall men in particular. So at the very start of our dogsitting in Cornwall we spent some time introducing ourselves to help her feel comfortable with us. We each took time to meet her and pet her gently, in Kath’s presence. David especially spent time building a bond.
Dog sitters and dog walking
We went for a walk with Kath and Puffin on the first day. Learning the routines with the pet owner is a good start to dogsitting in Cornwall or anywhere. This was so we could get used to each other. It was important to see how she behaved and if she’d return to us after being let off the lead. The guideline given to us by Kath her owner was either two short walks or a nice long ramble each day.
We love walking any time of year, and dogsitting in Cornwall means we have plenty of opportunity for walks and rambles. We fancied ourselves the following year perhaps as dog sitters Newquay or dog sitters Redruth. The area is addictive!
The scenery is stunning on the coastal path above St Agnes and Trevaunance Cove not far from Newquay. It was a breath of fresh literally after our urban existence in the home counties.
Dogsitting for Puffin
One of the challenges of dogsitting for a pet you don’t know is trying to understand habits, likes and dislikes and to build trust and a bond quickly. Learning what Puffin likes, however, didn’t take that long. She loves playing catch It doesn’t have to be with a ball, she can catch pretty much anything. And she is pretty good at it!
Housesitting platform offers free dog minding
- Walking the dog – Puffin it turns out loves walking on beaches, on the coastal path, in parks. This made dogsitting in Cornwall a treat because she loves walking with friends. A ball is an added bonus. We’ve always enjoyed walking so this routine proved a great pleasure and added joy to each day of the housesit.
- Routines are important in dogsitting – Puffin is an early riser and was let out about 6:30am for her constitutional. Breakfast followed swiftly.
- Playing with the pets – Every morning and then almost before I have settled for my first coffee Puffin presented her ball. Her eyes eager to get going and ready to tease you into a joyful mood. She was irresistible. Needless to say playing with our wonderful Puffin was all part of the pet sitter service.
- Be mindful of the dog’s needs – Dogs need water when they exercise – We found that during every walk Puffin would need to take a drink at some point during our rambles. We were dogsitting in Cornwall in August. Occasionally the weather was very warm. While walking the dog needs to have access to water. Kath had a left us a collapsible water bowl for her and Puffin was happy to use it.
Muddy paws Cornwall
Often we would walk and hike for two to four hours a day with her. The dog walk became such a valued part of our routine when dogsitting in Cornwall. Getting muddy paws at the beach or on cliff top hikes was a given.
As we were discovering this part of the Cornish Coast so too Puffin was learning about new crevices in the landscape where a tennis ball could hide. She wanted to discover as much as possible running back and forth and herding us in our small posse. She made dogsitting in Cornwall a real adventure.
Builders at the housesit – Extra care with the scaffolding
The coast guard cottage we were housesitting in dates from the 1820’s. It is a characterful building. Kath the owner was in the middle of some maintenance work and had a couple of builders working on the property on some vital renovations.
During out dogsitting in Cornwall it rained a couple of times so there were a few muddy paw marks here and there. But these were simple cleaning duties, easy to maintain during out stay.
Plus we made Albert and Jim hot cups of coffee each morning to help them along. And so every time we took Puffin out for a walk we had to be mindful of the builders and their work area.
A dog and a housesit under construction
As a result, we also had to keep in mind that while Puffin had been living with the builders and their scaffolding around the house for a while we had to look out for her. There were tiles and equipment around on the ground while the builders were working during the day, on two sides of the house. The guys were great and knew her character well. So they kept an eye open for her too.
Pet minders and free dogsitters
Huge added bonus to our dogsitting in Cornwall
During the week we met up with David’s cousin Martyn and his family. Martyn works for the RNLI and overseas the life guard crews across North Cornwall. Post Covid-19 we checked out The Victory Inn which had organised safe measures for eating drinking, and a good one way system around the pub to enable paying guests to eat inside and out safely as restrictions eased.
This lovely meet up made our dogsitting in Cornwall all the more enjoyable.
Communications with Kath during the dogsit
Kath was only away for eight days. However, I asked if she wanted me to send her updates and messages about Puffin while she was on holiday. I always ask when I housesit, because occasionally the homeowner prefers not to hear unless there is a problem.
In this instance, Kath said she liked my short updates and photos of Puffin up to her various tricks, she is quite a cheeky dog, really quite the entertainer!
When sending respective Puffin and holiday updates each morning, we would swap snaps of where we were. Mine would usually include Puffin’s latest antics and any notable developments in Kath’s vegetable garden, all great fun while we were dogsitting in Cornwall. It was an easy way to keep her up to date and helped us both build confidence and a trust.
All in all it was an excellent housesit experience. Certainly it was one as a family we would repeat. Thanks Kath and special thanks to Puffin our Canine Entertainer in Chief for the week!
Further reading about dogsitting with Housesitmatch
At Housesitmatch.com we always try to share useful and informative blogs and practical advice with our members. Read on to find some helpful articles with useful tips for dog owners and dog sitters about dogsitting.