Case Study - Home and pet sitting is the perfect occupation for early retirees Janet and Steve Groom
Posted on 9 December, 2016
Janet and Steve Groom from near Tunbridge Wells in Kent are in their early fifties and have been homesitters for over four years since they retired early.
Janet was working as a customer service adviser when she read a feature about home and pet sitting in a magazine, she thought it sounded like an interesting and varied lifestyle. She came across the Homesitters Ltd website and dreamed about becoming a homesitter.
Some months later when Steve came home fed up about his work in the civil service where he had spent the last 32 years, Janet suggested he resign and that they take up home and pet sitting together.
Still young, they didn’t want to stop working altogether as they wanted to keep busy and the variety and flexibility homesitting offers seemed the perfect solution. Steve handed in his notice the very next day and the couple became homesitters.
The couple are thoroughly enjoying the home and pet sitting lifestyle, they stay in gorgeous properties and looking after animals has become a real highlight for them. While Steve had grown up with dogs, Janet didn’t have much experience with them but has discovered that she absolutely loves them.
Janet says, “We love being homesitters and the best thing about it for us is the animals, they are so loving and we have lots of fun with them. It would be too restricting to have a dog of our own but through home and pet sitting we get to have ‘part time’ pets with all of the love and none of the long term responsibility, which suits us perfectly.”
The couple mainly look after dogs and cats but have also looked after a goat, sheep and chickens. Janet says the animals were easy to look after as they just needed to be fed and put in their barn at night, the hardest thing was trying to eat all the eggs that the chickens laid!
The couple have a regular assignment in Barnes which they love. Living in the countryside themselves they enjoy being in a more urban environment and being able to walk to the shops to buy a newspaper every day without having to get in the car. They love taking the dogs for walks in Richmond Park and there is a heated outdoor swimming pool they can use.
Janet comments, “We often have to pinch ourselves to believe some of the homes we stay in. How else would you get to experience living in such gorgeous houses with swimming pools and beautiful gardens?”
One of the highlights of their Barnes assignment is an African Grey parrot who does a mean impression of Janet’s accent and mimics her telling the dogs to ‘Sit!’ He also says ‘Yummy yummy’ when he is given his food in the morning and ‘Night all’ when they turn out the light and wish him good night.
Another of Janet and Steve’s regular clients has recently moved to Switzerland and has asked Homesitters Ltd if the couple can continue to homesit for them in their new ten bedroom house there, which they are looking forward to – not least because they miss the animals.
Janet says, “Home and pet sitting is an amazing experience and we get so much out of it. We enjoy our regular assignments but we also love the buzz of receiving a call offering us a new assignment. It’s exciting every time we go to a new home and get to look after new animals and explore new areas. The clients are so welcoming and we find that they want us to enjoy their home and make use of all the facilities, it’s almost as if we’re on holiday.
“People sometimes ask us why we don’t homesit privately but we like to have the back up of Homesitters Ltd, it’s good to know that they’re there should something go wrong. The staff in the head office are lovely and very accommodating. Homesitters is a very nice company to work for and we would thoroughly recommend them.”
If you're interested in become a homesitter, please visit the become a homesitter section of our website by clicking here.