Home and Pet Sitting

     Since retiring seven years ago, I have enjoyed six home/pet sitting stints which include personal travel as well. I do this for free if the homeowners live somewhere I'd like to be.
     My favorite stint was four horses and two donkeys and five cats at an isolated ranch in the Sierra Nevada Mountain foothills for six weeks. I also dog-sat for three dogs near Toronto for eight weeks. I home and cat sat for several months in Tucson, AZ for a couple who owned a second home at Point Reyes, California. While they were at Point Reyes, I was enjoying their backyard swimming pool and bicycling around Tucson. One winter, I dog-sat in rural France for a bilingual Russian-American citizen while she visited her son's family in South Africa. I drove her Range Rover on tiny French roads with no problem, visiting nearby castles and cathedrals and cities. I also was one of four managers for a beach resort on Culebra Island, Puerto Rico, for several months, in exchange for an apartment overlooking the ocean. One summer, I lived in the charming Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City, taking care of three cats and a Craftsman style historic home.
     These experiences give me a slowed-down lifestyle with time to enjoy neighborhood chat/folks/community centers. I feel more like a local rather than a tourist.

     There are several websites which hook-up sitters and homeowners. I've participated in three of them and have no preference; some have high annual subscription costs, some don't, and some offer more worldwide opportunities while others don't. It all depends on your personal preferences of where you'd like to be. The best opportunities are very competitive, sometimes receiving more than 50 "applicants". Trusted Housesitters for example, has over 7,000 folks in the USA willing to home/pet sit for free. Home/petsitters pay for their own transportation costs, including round-trip airline tickets. But usually, utilities, Wi-Fi, and TV at the home are all provided free.

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