NOT CURRENTLY ACCEPTING BOOKINGS, undergoing treatment for brain cancer and not able to travel for the moment. I am a non-smoking 50-something history professor who has a sideline as a professional house and pet sitter at home. I love the business model of TrustedHousesitters.com and how it permits us (pet owners and pet carers) to travel, and have made wonderful friends, four-legged and two-legged, overseas and in the U.S., both through this site and through Rover, which I use to book housesits in Cincinnati. I am happy to provide screenshots of my 5-star reviews on Rover, where I have become my clients' go-to sitter. I now travel too much for work to have my own beasties around the house, and housesitting allows me to care for a wonderful variety of animal personalities. I also get to meet the lovely people who are seeking out options to keep their animals out of boarding facili......
NOT CURRENTLY ACCEPTING BOOKINGS, undergoing treatment for brain cancer and not able to travel for the moment. I am a non-smoking 50-something history professor who has a sideline as a professional house and pet sitter at home. I love the business model of TrustedHousesitters.com and how it permits us (pet owners and pet carers) to travel, and have made wonderful friends, four-legged and two-legged, overseas and in the U.S., both through this site and through Rover, which I use to book housesits in Cincinnati. I am happy to provide screenshots of my 5-star reviews on Rover, where I have become my clients' go-to sitter. I now travel too much for work to have my own beasties around the house, and housesitting allows me to care for a wonderful variety of animal personalities. I also get to meet the lovely people who are seeking out options to keep their animals out of boarding facilities, instead keeping them happy at home. This summer, I am heading to the UK to do some research (history of pharmacology) and, while on housesits, write, so your animals would have lots of company with me working at home at least 8 hours a day (that's optimistic; I usually work more like a 12-hour day, but I'm trying to break that habit!).
Recent adventures: In July-October 2014, I cared for a sweetheart of a Newfie mix and his formidable tomcat in East Sussex, 3 lovely rescued cats in Hampshire, 2 sleek cats and their yard full of birds, foxes, and hedgehog to be fed in Hertfordshire, and 2 rambunctious and utterly adorable young Samoyeds in the Medway towns. In between, as a break from writing, I camped and hiked solo on the South Downs, and had a happy couple of weeks exploring the Peak District, tootling around in a little car that proved very clever about not running into all those beautiful stone walls. In February 2015, I took care of two darling terriers and a British Blue in Suffolk, and a very energetic golden, his rescued senior cat, and his rescued battery hens on the Sussex coast -- 2-hour walks in the morning and another hour in the evening. I was so happy to be invited back to care for the Newfie mix and the two Samoyeds in August before coming back to the States, and I'll be seeing them again in 2017. In the fall, I fostered my second dog for the SPCA to a successful adoption, a big goofball of an American Staffordshire who needed a lot of rehabilitation and training. (He's in the picture below, laying claim to his Auntie Lily.) He took to his new home and training regimen with great gusto (sometimes too much!) and after six months, was ready to move on to his carefully screened new home. I have had a wonderful time working with Rover as a pet sitter in my hometown for dozens of dogs and cats, small mammals, fish, and a charming Senegal parrot, and a blissfully happy time out in Washington State with 3 donkeys, a miniature horse, and a pit bull mix rescue in 2016 has inspired me to take off for the West Coast again as soon as I can, but this summer is for the UK and Europe. All I’ll need at your place is good wi-fi for work.
In my apartment building in the States, I walk and hang out with one of my neighbors' dogs at mid-day, after a morning of writing and before going to campus for my afternoon and evening work. I am also entrusted with taking care of cats, dogs, fish, and a sweet Senegal parrot in the building when their people go away, and have found this to add a great balance to my workaholic days. Since my two darling mutts passed on at 15+ and 14+ a couple of years ago, I have been fostering dogs for the SPCA, and whenever I have some free time between fosters, I go to our local SPCA and give the cats and dogs some attention. I miss having animals at home, and promise to lavish care on your pets of all shapes and sizes.
I have lived independently in Istanbul off and on for 25 years. As a student, researcher, tourist, or volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, I have visited or lived in Turkey, Canada, Switzerland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jordan, the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Israel, Nicaragua, Mexico, and the Caribbean. I am very calm and competent in a crisis, and have lived through a few, what with traveling and child-rearing and pet care. If your place is in new linguistic territory, I will study the local language before arrival. I have learned several languages and forgotten most of them, but I have a quick ear and no sense of embarrassment about bumbling through on the way to fluency. If your neighbors have a good sense of humor about linguistic bloopers, they will be entertained!
If you have a dog or dogs, you'll want to know that I love to go on long walks! As for your home, in addition to an outsize sense of responsibility and love for animals, I grew up with antiques and am a collector of textiles. I am scrupulously honest and very respectful of others' possessions and privacy. My father's way of coping with having four daughters was to raise us as sons, including work on his construction sites, so I am somewhat handy for basic things. For complicated jobs, I am super at dialing the phone to bring in a real expert!
I have gardened extensively, including an organic garden built up over three years of replacing heavy clay soils with beautiful organic soil and filling it with herbs and old-variety roses, and I am happy to weed and otherwise care for your garden. Do plan to leave clear instructions.
I have taken a 2-hour driving lesson in England to learn how to drive on the left and deal with roundabouts, and have driven in Kent, Suffolk, and the Peak District for a couple of weeks without incident, despite some very aggressive stone walls near Hathersage! When overseas, I prefer to use public transport and do not expect to have use of your car, but if your animal has a dire emergency, I can get to the vet in your car if I'm not renting one while at your place.
I am familiar with house security systems, and adaptable to different living situations. My only health concern as your house sitter is a severe allergy to mildew and mold, and great discomfort with cigarette smoke, cigars and pipes less so. My father farmed an acre of tobacco to pay his college tuition in the 1940’s, so I suspect the chemicals in the filters of cigarettes more than the lovely tobacco!
Some family history and deep background, for those who are still reading: my father's family were Tennessee farmers until the late 1980's, and I spent weekends and longer on the farm with cows, donkeys, mules, chickens, barn cats, and purebred hunting dogs. On my mother's side, we have been taking in stray animals for generations. Often, the animals just turn up on our doorsteps, waiting to be let in, or they come to us in odd ways. For example, on Easter Sunday 2014, I had pulled over to the side of the highway because my GPS went out. I looked in the side mirror to be sure I was far enough off the road with all the cars and trucks speeding by, and saw something arc out of a car window from someone's hand. I thought it was a plastic bag, and then realized to my horror that it was a little black and white kitten! She somehow made it across two busy lanes of traffic to the median without major injury, and I somehow got across four lanes of traffic and back with her without getting us both squashed. She has far better reflexes than I do! You can see her in the photo, at her leisure in the hammock she likes to make of a throw between cushions and back of the couch at her home with my son and daughter-in-law. She is a grandcat in both senses. The oddest thing of all? My retired service dog had died just a few weeks before at 15 and a half, and she was a great rescuer of lost cats and kittens, even coming home one day with a kitten splayed across her muzzle like a starfish. I suspect her (tongue in cheek) (mostly) of zapping my GPS that Sunday.
Another dog who followed me home one day, a great galumphing German shepherd mix, now lives a wonderful life with one of my sisters in New England. In May 2014, a pit bull/boxer mix whom I was fostering for the SPCA found a wonderful home with a young couple with a yard and a very bossy tomcat. He is a very high-energy young dog and had been living with dozens of dogs on a farm before coming to me, but after a few weeks of non-violent training, he heeled beautifully, was crate-trained, sat, stayed, had a nice down/stay, and sat to wait for a signal before eating his food. My own dogs were not crate-trained, and in fact had the run of the house, furniture, and the foot of my bed, but my rule is "Your animals, your rules!"
To make a long story short, you can trust me with your possessions and, if you have them, your animals. Please ask if you have any questions.