Looking for an animal loving sitter in lovely rural Northumberland
We are looking for someone to take care of our variety of animals in our detached rural property. Our current booked dates in 2019 are 14th September (includes 2 days prior to us leaving) to the 30th. I realise this is a whole year away, but I wanted to put out the feelers early, especially as I would like to see if there was someone who would be interested in doing this each time we go away, and we are hoping to have a week in Spring 2019 too. Someone with some equine or large animal experience would be preferable because of the donkeys, as well as someone used to multi dog households. The main thing we are looking for is someone to love and care for the animals, with the ability to follow our directions in relation to them, but also have the presence of mind to be flexible when need be! We would need daily emails just so we know all is ok (because I miss my animals when I am away!), but of course this also means we are always available with information and advice if it were needed.
Our Home & Location
We live in an old single-storey stone cottage in a very attractive rural location in Northumberland. There are no immediate neighbours and we are 10 minutes drive from the nearest shops. That said, we are not totally isolated as we are on a small country road and have a small amount of passing country traffic. We have 2 bedrooms - 1 ensuite with a spa bath - and a separate shower room beside the 2nd bedroom. We have lovely views from all parts, and if you like peace and solitude this is for you. There is a large grass area of garden and we have a 5.5 acre adjacent paddock and a 2.5 acre wood which acts mainly as a windbreak for the house. We have a caravan that sits in the paddock as an extra room so that we can sit and appreciate the open views, and watch the animals. There are no street lights and very dark skies here, and so we have wonderful views of the stars on a clear night, especially with our county being designated an official Dark Skies area. There is a lot of bird life, and it’s a great place to be amongst nature. A car is essential, and If you are not bringing your own we can probably arrange for you to use ours. We have satellite TV with sports and movie packages. Mobile phone reception is not so good in this area, although we have a boost box which allows O2 phones to work over the internet, apparently Vodafone network is now accessible, and the wifi broadband is fine and reliable (though as it is only 2MB at the moment it is maybe not for downloading movies!). We can arrange for the use of a mobile phone if needed during your stay, and you can use the landline too. There is no shop within walking distance but the small busy country town of Rothbury is 10 minutes drive away and has a small supermarket as well as butchers, deli, fruit shop etc. The nearest larger supermarket is at Alnwick, 25 minutes drive away. There is no public transport near to us, and the nearest train stations are Morpeth and Alnmouth (both about 30 mins away), with the nearest airport being Newcastle 50 minutes away.
Responsibilities & Pets
The key responsibility is to take the very best of care of our pets, both small and large. We have 1 dog who is very much part of our family. Basil is a 9 year old rescued medium sized staffie/lurcher/german shepherd mix. He really likes to sleep on the bed with us, and whilst I know this is not to everyone’s taste it would be perfect if someone was happy with that, especially as he will be missing us. Although Basil is super friendly and always brilliant with my visiting niece and nephew, there are just the two of us here so he is not used to living with children. Therefore for our peace of mind we would prefer that children are not here. We don’t leave him alone for more than 4 hours at a time so please be aware this is the longest you could leave the property unattended at a time, though it is possible to prearrange for a friend of ours to come and "babysit" if you wanted a day or two out. We have just gotten a bearded collie puppy who will be 14 months old at the time of our holiday, and while she will need walks, Basil does not get walked off property. The 2 cats will need some light grooming, some attention and litter tray maintenance. They are mostly indoor cats, though they do pop into the garden and there is a catflap. The 9 chickens and 2 ducks will need letting out of their coops in the morning and put safely away at night, as well as a weekly coop clean (more easily done as the coops are plastic and not wood). The 4 donkeys have a small stable and a paddock, and we generally just allow them to come and go inside as they wish. Some light daily mucking out is needed and obviously some feeding and watering. In the other half of the paddock we have 2 alpacas and 2 sheep, who will just need feed and general care. Poo picking from the paddock can be done when you are in the mood!