Trusting strangers with your house and more importantly your dog


I’ve been very lucky in the last few years. I’ve had friends and family who have jumped enthusiastically into the breach whenever I’ve needed housesitters. It has always allowed me to go off on my travels secure in the knowledge that our home and animals will be well loved and looked after in our absence and my underwear drawer will remain undisturbed (unless you know differently).

Depending on who exactly was doing the housesitting I would also come back to a clean and tidy house. My linen cupboard would often have been organised beautifully, any small repairs in the house and garden would have been done and there would be a freshly baked loaf of bread awaiting our return.  

a very welcome site on returning home

Well those were the days. Now for various reasons those days are over and I have had to decide how to replace these much loved house sitters with people who I don’t know. Indeed strangers!

I came across a company called Trusted Housesitters. Sounds good. I like the idea that I can trust these housesitters. I went on their web site and spent quite a long time trying to work out how much this was going to cost me. Housesitting doesn’t come cheap. Except in this case it seems to! Actually the housesitting is free. I know,  I couldn’t believe it either. You basically enrol on the site for a fee of about £75 for a year and that allows you to post your requirements.

You have to make a bit of a pitch. I realised this once I saw other people’s adverts. Some people are offering very choice properties in the most beautiful places. Some people want their alpacas and goats looking after or indeed their horses and pot bellied pigs. Their properties may consist of acres of land in far flung climes. So a modern house on the outskirts of a small town in Buckinghamshire with just a Cocker Spaniel for company doesn’t seem that exciting.

Anyway I did my best. I mentioned that my dog likes having her tummy rubbed. I thought that might be a winner. I mentioned that we live within spitting distance of The Ridgeway, but to be honest everyone does round here.  

great for all those walks they will be doing with my dog!

I think my Ace card was that we are in walking distance of an M&S Simply Food. I didn’t mention Tesco! Well to my relief we had a good response of people who wanted to come and live in my house and look after my dog.

You get to look at the profiles of these people and they have references from previous house sittings they have undertaken. You exchange messages via the site and eventually having made your decision you exchange more personal information.

I followed up on the very impressive references that my chosen housesitters offered. You couldn’t have asked for more. In fact the guy I asked to confirm his reference actually couldn’t speak more highly of them. At the end of the conversation he asked if I would mind passing on his mobile number to the housesitters as he wanted to stay in touch. He also mentioned that his dog had pined for a few days after they left. Not sure about that!

So far so good. The only downside,so far, is that it does necessitate quite a thorough and deep cleaning of the house. This is not an area that I’m usually that good at. I make sure I invite people over for Sunday lunch once a month just to give me an incentive to give the house a ‘good going over’. However if you are one of those people invited over for Sunday lunch then that isn’t the reason I invited you. I really wanted to see you. It’s the others I’m referring to.

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