Case Study - Living life to the full in retirement through home and pet sitting

Posted on 6 March, 2017

homesitters with Cocker Spaniels

Debbie and Ian from Marlborough in Wiltshire have been home and pet sitting for about six years since taking early retirement. The couple gave up working full time in 2010 aged 54 and 48 when they decided to leave the stresses of the workplace behind them and live life to the full.

Ian had been working as a senior technician and Debbie was a Social Services manager, but with grown up children and no elderly parents to look after they realised they had the chance to make the lifestyle change they desperately wanted.

The couple travelled the world for three years, spending time in Australasia, the United States and on a small island off the west coast of Scotland.

They came home periodically to see family and friends but having rented out their home while they travelled they didn’t have a permanent base. They stayed with Debbie’s son and his girlfriend but it was a bit of a squeeze especially if they were back for a few months and they needed to find an alternative solution.

The couple’s friends home and pet sit through Homesitters Ltd and recommended the company to Debbie and Ian and they decided that this could be the ideal solution. They contacted Homesitters and after attending an interview, they were taken on and began to undertake assignments when they were back in the UK.

When they returned home permanently they decided to continue home and pet sitting to give them a supplementary income and also to enable them to travel and explore the UK.

Debbie says, “We feel very well looked after with Homesitters Ltd, they take a genuine interest in us, the clients and the clients’ pets. We are supported by them and if we ever had a problem on an assignment they would be there to help.”

Debbie and Ian love the variety of assignments they do and particularly enjoy looking after the animals. The couple had pets in the past but don’t want to be tied down now. However, they love the fact they get their ‘pet fix’ through pet sitting. They also enjoy staying in different places, having new experiences and a change of scene and feel that it’s just like being paid to go on holiday.

The couple are too young to draw a pension so they live on a tight budget. The income they earn from home and pet sitting is part of what enables them to live the flexible lifestyle they enjoy.

The couple don’t always do home sits together. Debbie is very involved with her local church and is a volunteer for Link, a good neighbour scheme, so often Ian will do an assignment alone but Debbie will join him for a few days around her other commitments.

One of the advantages of home and pet sitting for Debbie is being able to get away from all the chores at home. She says, “I find it very useful being on assignment if I have something I have to knuckle down and get on with. I’m currently studying for a Level 4 Diploma in Counselling so find the evenings on a home sit a great time to do my coursework and write essays away from the distractions at home.”

Talking about her favourite home sits Debbie says, “One of our most memorable assignments was in Devon. We stayed in a gorgeous big country house near the sea and looked after two Deerhounds who were lots of fun. We took our bikes and often cycled to the beach for lunch and took the dogs for long walks – we got a lot of exercise and the house and area were so picturesque, it was idyllic.”

Debbie and Ian have achieved such a great work life balance that they have no regrets about leaving their full time jobs. They look forward to home and pet sitting with Homesitters for many more years to come.

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