John Charlick 79 years and his partner of 20 years, Richard (70yrs) are regular home and pet sitters through national home and pet sitting company Homesitters Ltd and they love their way of life.
John has been homesitting for seven years since retiring from a career in the hospitality industry and Richard, a former care worker, retired recently so they can now do assignments together.
The couple used to run a small boutique hotel in St Ives in Cornwall. Now both are fully retired, they enjoy homesits which they view as mini breaks, with the bonus of looking after someone else’s pet. They tend to do around eight assignments a year, which is enough to keep them busy in retirement.
John and Richard were both keen to stay active in retirement and after chatting with a friend who dog sits, they thought the flexibility of the role would allow them to travel to interesting new places and be around different animals. After doing some research online, John decided to apply to Homesitters.
John says, “I am a real people person and love the social side of the job, but my favourite thing is staying in gorgeous homes and visiting places I haven’t been to before. We often stay in great locations and very glamorous homes, with swimming pools and tennis courts. I took up playing the piano again a few years ago so if there’s a piano, I enjoy playing in the evenings.
“I also like spending time with the animals, particularly dogs. I’ve owned dogs in the past, but now that we live in a flat it isn’t practical to have one and they are rather a tie. Homesitting gives us the opportunity to look after dogs and take them for walks, but we can then hand them back to their owners – rather like having grandchildren!”
One of John’s most memorable home sits was an assignment in Guernsey. He explains, “I’d never been to the island before, so it was interesting to visit for a week. I stayed in a charming house looking after a cat, it was almost like a holiday with free travel and accommodation. After seven years of home sitting, I have a few regular clients and we particularly enjoy home sitting for a lovely couple in London looking after their whippet. We stay there several times a year and usually arrive the night before the client goes away so we can all have supper together – we almost feel like one of the family. Homesitting is also a good way to earn some extra income and being away from home means we can sometimes make savings on our utility bills, especially during the winter months.”
John says he would recommend Homesitters Ltd to anyone else considering becoming a home and pet sitter.
He adds, “The company is very professional, and I particularly appreciate the way they stay in touch while we’re on assignment. The whole process is very efficient. I once forgot to check in and they called me straight away to check I was ok. I also find the preliminary meetings with new clients useful and reassuring. My advice to anyone considering the role is to be as open to new things as possible and really make the most of it.”
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