Harrogate housesitting for an Akita

28 Sep, 2018

Harrogate housesitting for an Akita

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Experienced house sitters Mike and Diane, known as Travelloafers, applied for a Harrogate housesitting assignment on HouseSitMatch. Little did they know that the description of a resident ‘large dog’ they’d be caring for would lead to unexpected and enjoyable adventures.

Read their blog on their fascinating journey of house sitting in the Harrogate area to find out what happened when they met Rex, a rescue dog!

Harrogate housesitting for Rex the Akita
Meet Rex – the Akita in this Harrogate housesitting assignment

Harrogate Housesitting for Tyrannosaurus Rex!

When considering a Harrogate housesitting assignment we were also considering a number of other options. Then we saw Rex’s picture and he drastically changed our plans. Funny how a dog can change everything.

We had perused HouseSit Match for pet and house sitting opportunities across Europe, but in the end we decided we’d live up to our name and be travel loafers throughout the UK in September. But the devil fools with the best laid plans. When Rex’s owners approached us, we fell in love with this stunning, massive dog. He has to weigh 40 kilograms!

After some discussion and messages with his owners, we were comfortable with the idea of keeping Rex company for ten days or so while his people enjoyed a holiday in Europe. Rex is a rescued Akita, and his owners obviously care a great deal about him. That much was obvious and it sold us on the idea.

Meeting Rex at the Meet and Greet

Rex lives in the Yorkshire city of Harrogate. As Canadians we had never heard of it until we read about the housesit opportunity on HouseSitMatch. After reading up on the area, we were quite excited to be going. We left London’s King’s Cross station and were there in less than three hours by train and ready to start our Harrogate housesitting assignment.

We met up with Rex outside the house. Yep, he was huge. T-Rex! Given his background as a rescued dog, his owners were a bit concerned about how he might react to us, and perhaps a touch surprised that he took to us immediately. I like to think we have a way with animals.

Getting to know Rex

We’re comfortable with them and I think they sense that, whether they be cats and dogs, or donkeys and horses. We spent our first day settling in, getting to know his owners and the daily routines. Our Harrogate housesitting post started well. The first night we were alone with Rex, he slept in his usual bed in the master bedroom.

By the second night he was sleeping at the side of our bed in the guestroom. He enjoyed the love and attention we gave him.

Rex’s personality

Having said this, being an Akita, he has a certain aloofness about him. As one friend of mine who has experience with Akitas told me, he understands you but he just doesn’t care. That sort of describes Rex. He thinks for himself and is a touch stubborn. But he has an endearing character. When he became playful at dinnertime, we wanted to squeeze him like a teddy bear.

Long before we were to leave, we knew we’d miss this wonderful Akita.

Dog walks with Rex

Rex needed walking three times every day, that was a major requirement of our Harrogate housesitting assignment. He’s a senior so we weren’t about to break a sweat walking him.

He stopped a lot along the way to leave his ‘calling card’ taking his time. No particular place to go and all day to get there. Akitas are large animals, so when Rex stopped, we stopped. When he decided on this or that direction, we had to follow.

Harrogate housesitting located near the public parks
Valley Gardens in Harrogate, UK – a delightful interlude of the Harrogate housesitting

We noticed how people reacted to him from our very first walk. Some made sure to cross the road from a block away in order to avoid him completely. Others made a point to come up and ask if he was friendly, taking a few moments to give him a pet and chat with us.

What to do while house sitting in Harrogate?

Rex was the focal point during our house sitting adventure in Harrogate. He is a great conversation piece and we met several other Akita owners. I was left with the impression that owning an Akita is like being in a club.

As for Rex, he was usually content with trotting along at his own pace, paying no mind to other people and dogs.

Always together
Harrogate housesitting - the dog and his bone
My bone, mine!

We never left the house without Rex, we felt that was important in this Harrogate housesitting assignment.

He led us along and he showed us Harrogate. There’s a huge green space known as The Stray that covers several city blocks, indeed several acres.

The city is beautiful, lush and so very clean and green. The residents of Harrogate obviously take great pride in their small city. There are historic buildings and flowers everywhere. I have never seen so many roses in my life!

The public gardens were a delight

Rex took us to Valley Gardens, the crown jewel of Harrogate.

Valley Gardens is a large, well used public space featuring a wooded area, tennis courts, a play area for young children and their parents, a disc-golf course, a skate park, a cafe, a gazebo, and dozens of flower beds showcasing thousands of flowers and a variety or trees. English gardens are alive and well here.

It also features the highest concentration of unique mineral springs in the world, 36 of them in this park alone.

Maintaining routines during the Harrogate housesitting

When we were house sitting in Harrogate and not out walking and exploring, we had a pleasant time staying in the house. There was an incredible library of books featuring dozens if not hundreds of spy thrillers starring Jason Bourne, George Smiley and Jack Reacher. I could have sat there for months!

The library at the Harrogate housesitting was glorious

The kitchen had a nifty feature that I hadn’t seen before. The tap offered hot and cold water of course. But also boiling water – instantly and right out of the tap. Preparing coffee or tea or even water for cooking has never been more convenient. At first I thought a feature like that was a trinket or a gizmo. But after using it for a couple of weeks, I don’t know why this isn’t standard in all kitchens!

Escaping the hurricane

Hurricane Irma was all over the news, so for the first time in months we turned on the television. The contrast of what was around us compared to the devastation in Irma’s wake made us keenly aware of our good fortune of being here with Rex.

To a large extent, pet and house sitting is what you make it. And in Yorkshire out Harrogate housesitting made it easy for us to make the best of the opportunity.

I happened to be at the kitchen table by the back door when the owners returned late one night. Like all returning owners, they had a hopeful, yet apprehensive look in their eyes as they slipped their key into the lock.

And like all returning owners stepping through the door, this becomes a sigh of relief when they realise everything is just the way it was the day they left. Rex slid off the sofa to greet his people.

Sad to be leaving our Harrogate home

It always pulls at our heart strings to realise that our time is coming to an end and that the pets are always happy to reunite with their owners and have life return to normal.

Looking back on the Harrogate housesitting, we were right. We do miss Rex. Thank you Peter and Dee for letting us look after your wonderful pet. And thank you for the nice review:

Harrogate Housesitting Reference:

“We were keen to find someone who could primarily look after our Akita dog (a rescue dog) as well as house sit. We found Travelloafers to be a highly capable couple who made an immediate positive impact on our dog (and us of course!). Our neighbours have subsequently commented that he appeared to have settled very quickly and very well with them.

While we were away they communicated regularly and in detail by email. We could also have used Skype but did not feel the need to do so. As well as caring for our Akita, they kept our house safe, clean and tidy. We highly recommended them.”


If you are looking for a reliable couple to look after your pets and home, we will consider any situation whether it be a town home or a farm or what have you. All you need to do is contact us via Housesit Match.

Also, if you are considering booking a hotel room anywhere in the world (or B’n’B, or a hostel) visit our Travel Loafers website for the very best rates, for England York or Harrogate!

Dianne & Mike

To start your housesitting adventure whether it is a Harrogate housesitting or you are based elsewhere, when you start to look for your housesitting solution register with HouseSitMatch:

To register as a House-sitter follow this link

To register as a Homeowner follow this link

Further reading about housesitting and trusted long-term house-sitters

At Housesitmatch.com we like to share useful blogs and practical advice to help you answer that question about why might I need a house sitter. Our recommended content is about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters and housesitting in the UK useful.

What a housesitter does – Top 10 responsibilities

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