Adventures While House Sitting



Recently I was talking with an acquaintance on St. George Island (SGI). When he stated that housesitting must be like a vacation; my mind began to work. The only housesitter that we have met with an "I'm on vacation" attitude lost his position and hurt his client. While we feel honored and blessed to have opportunities to housesit in beautiful places and in beautiful homes with great owners and pets that become our friends, we are never on vacation. House and pet sitting are big responsibilities that can be very stressful and require hyper-vigilance. We work hard at understanding and fulfilling what owners expect from us. We have to "learn" the property, pets and area and quickly adapt. We are compelled to maintain security at all times. We strive for good communication and relationships with owners, pets, neighbors and service workers. We have to have the ability to intuit homeowners and pets needs moment by moment, keep the property in a constant state of clean and neat, have the ability to deal with emergencies, provide regular updates to the owners, protect the client's privacy and confidences, daily perform a multitude of small and large tasks. That list covers just the basics.  We have always worked much harder while house and pet sitting then we ever have while at our own home.  All that being said...we love house and pet sitting and try to find a balance between responsibility and relaxation and I believe we have managed to do that in each and every situation from Alaska to Guatemala otherwise we wouldn't be still loving it!





Last fall a local Carrabelle realtor contacted us to care for his personal fishing cabin, two dogs and a flying squirrel, while we had never sat a squirrel before, let alone a flying squirrel, we had raised an Alaskan Red Squirrel from infancy. Apparently abandoned and vulnerable it fell a good 25 feet from its nest perched in a large white spruce tree at our Alaskan home. Our female malamute, with strong mothering instincts, found the little bundle first and drew my attention to it. Its eyes were still closed and it was bald as a baby mouse. I fed it goats milk with an eye dropper and kept him warm in my otter skin booty. He survived and we dubbed him "Chippy." He seemed healthy and active, and as he grew found new ways to amuse himself as well as us. He loved to tear around the house and play with the two malamutes we had. Chippy's favorite game was hide and seek in the couch cushions. He spent hours at my jewelry table playing with findings. The cute little guy was surprisingly clean and odor free and didn't complain about being in a box for the night. We buried his native foods around the house and he had no problem figuring out what was and was not edible. I took Chippy outside regularly so he could adjust a little at a time to living wild. He climb trees and started searching out his own native foods. The day finally came when he jumped off my shoulder, ran up a tree and decided to keep going. He stuck around our neighborhood and would occasionally startle a visitor by running up their leg. But, it was obvious he was becoming wilder by the week and we were happy for that. In the fall we departed for a ranch sit in Oklahoma. The following spring we returned home and could no longer recognize which squirrel was our little buddy Chippy. 


Caring for the flying squirrel was fun. He had a large cage with two wooden cabins, natural branches, a wheel and other toys. He was fed a small bowl of nuts twice daily and drank water out of a second bowl. We could tap on the side of his cabin and he would peek out. In the evenings he was set free, while confined to the screen porch, and ran around burning off energy. While we never saw him fly, his arm flaps were sometimes visible. He was a nice playful little creature with huge black eyes. While watching him I thought of the flying squirrels i'd seen soar from tree to tree while living in a remote cabin in the Forty Mile River drainage of Interior Alaska back in the 1980s. And then I thought of and missed our little Alaskan buddy... Chippy.


Just completed a 17 day house, pet and garden sit. The experience was pleasant and we had the added bonus of keeping an eye on a local attraction...the bottle house. The bottle house and the working bottle lighthouse attracts visitors from all over. At night the buildings are lit from the interior and the colorful bottles create a festive atmosphere. The builder of the bottle and light house, a retired art professor, and his wife reside in a historic (over 100 year old) home in a beautiful waterfront neighborhood. We enjoyed the pets and care of the lush vegetation and gardens on the property. We also had the luxury of sitting under the stars on the back deck while listening to live music as it drifted our way from the local oyster houses/restaurants. The best part is we now have new friends! If you're ever in the Carrabelle, FL. area be sure to visit the bottle house.



Yesterday, I received an email that just made my week. David and I both teared up as we read..."Hey Cassy, was up at the ranch this weekend.  I just want to say that you and David are the best.  These last house sitters have really left me with a mess…total neglect to the yard, did not keep the main house clean, dead bugs and mouse droppings every where.  If you didn't know this before; I want you to know now how grateful and appreciative Ken and I are for all you did while taking care of our place… truly a blessing.  I brought back a box with some dishes, and while I was unpacking those items it brought back fond memories of you lovingly helping me with packing back in 2009." R. R.

The above email made be think afresh about housesitting and what motivates people. I don't know about other folks, and it is very disappointing to hear about neglectful sitters, but I know what motivates David & I. When someone entrusts us with their most precious possessions; their home and pets we feel an almost overwhelming sense of responsibility, we take that responsibility to heart and work hard to fulfill our commitment as perfectly as possible. We are greatly honored by property owner's trust in us and we feel gifted to have yet another opportunity for a unique experience, to meet more wonderful folks and spend time loving on their pets.

So to those house and pet sitters that follow our blog...just remember; its hard to do a bad job when you are truly thankful, and it is so very rewarding to receive thanks especially five years later!




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Carrabelle, FL



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