In 2017, Vanessa joined TrustedHousesitters after hearing about the service from a friend. At the time, Vanessa had two dogs that she needed to find care for, and although she had looked at other sites, none compared to the feeling of trust and reassurance that the TrustedHousesitters community gave her.
Vanessa had already welcomed a handful of wonderful sitters into her Sydney home who had cared for her two dogs but in late 2017, one of her beloved dogs passed away, leaving Border Collie Manzi depressed at the lose of Jedda, her sister and life-long friend. After a chance conversation with a friend who had attended an Animal Behaviour Conference and had met the CEO of 'Herd To Homes', an animal charity for rehoming working dogs, Vanessa decided she had to get another friend for Manzi.
Bose, a pedigree Kelpie, had been living on the streets for two years in a place called Cobar, a bush town six hours north of Sydney. After being rescued, he was placed in a shelter where he sat for a year and was destined to be euthanised. After hearing Bose's story, Vanessa felt the need to make the journey with Manzi to the shelter to give Bose a home. Vanessa walked into his kennel and he bounded across the floor, jumped up and put his legs around her waist. Taking him out to the car, he jumped up in the front seat and Vanessa took him home ... Bose was now her dog.
Having never lived in a home, Bose was very unsettled and the smallest noise terrified him - he jumped at the sound of a water bottle being opened. Weighing less than half his recommended weight, it took Vanessa 4 months before she could touch his back without him cowering as if he was being beaten.
When planning a trip to Uganda, Vanessa knew that Bose could never return to a boarding environment and knew that TrustedHousesitters was the answer. It was here that Vanessa was first introduced to Karen, a true animal lover who wanted to spend some time in Sydney. The pair quickly realised they had so much in common, including Africa. Karen had also lost a dog, but pet-sitting was the opportunity she was looking for.
Vanessa contacted Karen and her love and care for dogs became apparent in the way that she focussed all of her pre-sit attention on the dogs, especially Bose, asking so many relevant questions. Vanessa felt she had made a best friend, even before they had met. When they did meet, her feeling of trust, connection and sharing were cemented.
After hearing about the TrustedHousesitters' Sitter of the Year Awards, Vanessa felt compelled to nominate Karen in the 'My Pet's New Best Friend' category. Here was her nomination:
"Karen is now part of our family and we adore her. She took the time to connect with me well ahead of the sit to learn the dogs' routine. I had rescued a new Kelpie, Bose, a few months earlier and he was adjusting to city life after living on the streets for 2 years and then being in a pound for the best part of a year. I also have a 13-year-old Border Collie Manzi. She cared for both of their differing needs brilliantly. I have never gone away feeling so totally confident and not worried for a moment. She is incredible with dogs and has incredible confidence and belief in them. She kept in contact throughout my time away in Uganda and sent me great pictures and updates. What is even nicer is that she is part of the family and will come and stay again in the New Year. We recently had some bad storms in Sydney and she was in contact straight away to make sure we were all ok as she knows the dogs are frightened of big noises and the Kelpie is petrified of the rain. We love you, Karen!"
Although Karen didn't win the award, we loved reading about the connection they had made and hearing the progress that Bose has made since being rescued. We wish them all the best for future travels, and all the happiness for the pets involved.
We absolutely love hearing from our members — if you have a story you'd love to share about your house sitting adventures, whether that be a weekend with your local Labrador, or a month with a mountain-based smallholding, we want to know about it! Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org