Now some of you might find the notion of housesitting a little unusual, having a stranger in your home to look after your property and pets your most precious possessions. However, Michelle the housesitter can go one better than that, she takes her dog Eddie with her wherever she goes! And yes, they’ve enjoyed many happy housesits over the last few years, looking after their hosts’ property and pets, together. Here is a short Q&A Michelle kindly did for us via Twitter. Do read on for some excellent advice if you want to take your dog with you.
Twitter – Happy Housesits #HouseSitChat Q & A
Q1 Welcome to the chat Michelle! Tell us about yourself?
A1: I’m an unemployable, geeky, fifty-something, single, English woman with endless curiosity, a love of dogs and very itchy feet :-D. I housesit around Europe with my rescue dog Eddie. She’s an amazing housesitter who always gets asked back! #HouseSitChat
I have a portfolio business that lets me be location independent. So it is easy for us to find happy housesits where the owners are happy to take Eddie and I together. I invest in property, build websites for myself & others – including fellow housesitters – do affiliate mrkting & design t-shirts for housesitters. In between caring for homes & pets of course! #HouseSitChat
…A2: Having all the creature comforts & the comfort of creatures instead of soulless hotels. Particularly important as a solo female traveller
It’s about living now not waiting for a retirement that may never come. I love meeting so many wonderful people – homeowners, neighbours & fellow housesitters. Experiencing places like a local not a tourist.
I work in the same “office” every day – but it has different views every few weeks! I do real travel instead of just commuting to work day after day. While there is some work I have to do at certain times, mostly I can be very flexible with my time in our happy housesits.
Longer sits are better – Eddie a has chance to settle for a while & travel costs are reduced. Repeat sits & local referrals are great. We’re housesitting in Italy for neighbours of a regular client then back to the regular client afterwards – perfect!! #HouseSitChat
Q3 What #tips can you give to people #housesitting for the first time? @HappyHousesits #HouseSitChat
Understand you are providing a service not having a free holiday. Be professional even if no money is changing hands. Start local with friends and family. Get honest feedback to improve ready for sitting for strangers. Ask for references to use. #HouseSitChat …
See if it’s for you before you sell up & go full time homeless. Get clear on what is right for you and what you are prepared to do in exchange for your accommodation. Do some “easy” sits first before you tackle remote places, exotic animals etc #HouseSitChat
Q4 What is it about this way of living that makes you so happy?
A4: I used to dream of living in fabulous homes around the world and thought I’d have to earn millions to own them. Now I live in them – they just aren’t my homes! It’s an amazing way to live beyond your wildest dreams but within your means. #HouseSitChat …
Q5 How do you travel and #housesit with a pet? Are there any specific challenges? @HappyHousesits #HouseSitChat
A5: Getting sits when you are a housesitter with a dog is harder – not all homeowners want strange pets in their home. I’ve learned what to look for in ads to improve my success rates. Pet introductions are key to the sit going well. Eddie is very polite and gentle which helps a lot #HouseSitChat …
When housesitting with a dog @HappyHousesits it makes sense to find a way to introduce the dogs first before the actual start date of the #housesit assignment begins. Though, it isn’t always possible if sits are far away, but I have tried and tested techniques and always brief homeowners ahead of time to ensure it goes well #HouseSitChat
We’ve been lucky that we have had some very happy housesits, and not real issues to deal with.
We only travel in the EU due to quarantine etc. Brexit may hamper that further. Driving takes time & is expensive but flying can be stressful for Eddie so I mix it up a bit when I can. Hotels between sits need parks etc nearby for walkies. #HouseSitChat …
Michelle’s Practical Top Tips for Happy Housesits across Europe
Here are a few bullet points prepared by Michelle about she and Eddie travelling in Europe together, and in particular the practical steps she takes to ensure smooth passage for both.
1. Pet Passport
Eddie’s passport is from Cyprus which is where she was born and I used to live. Whatever happens with Brexit after the 1st November, I am hoping that this may work in our favour.
2. Rabies Jabs
In order to fly for the first time with Eddie, we had to ensure her Rabies jab was done at least 21 days before the flight date.
3. Pre-Flight / Travel Medication
1-5 days before the flight, she had a worming, tick & flea treatment and a ‘Fit to Fly’ examination. The details of all this was recorded in her passport.
We do this now each time we fly or each time we use the Eurotunnel or Channel Ferry. Travelling by road within the EU, there are no border checks so no extra treatments and stamps were required in her passport.
4. Rabies Titration
In readiness for Brexit, we had a rabies titration test done to check the level of antibodies in Eddie’s blood.
We had this done in Italy as that’s where we were housesitting at the time, just in case Brexit happened suddenly. The rules appear to be that there is a three month wait for tests done in the UK but only one month for tests done in the EU.
In Italy, while the local vet could draw the blood and send it off to the lab, we had to take the test results to the Italian equivalent of DEFRA. They are the only ones who could enter the information from the results into Eddie’s passport.
5. Going forward
Now, IN THEORY, as long as we keep Eddie’s Rabies vaccination up to date, we should be able to travel relatively easily within the EU. All that remains is to find out what category the EU places the UK in after Brexit, which will determine what steps we will have to take immediately before each trip.
6. Rabies Vaccinations in the UK
I had Eddie’s rabies vaccination redone in the UK. This was on our last visit there, between successful housesits and trips around the country. This is because in the UK, the vaccine is given a 3 year efficacy whereas in most of the EU it’s only 12 months. I don’t want her having too many injections too often. I’m hoping the 3 year expiry date will be honoured on our travels as we continue our successful housesits across Europe.
If you fancy trying to housesit with your dog read Michelle’s advice carefully, and ensure you adhere to the Government guidelines. This is the recipe for successful housesits.