Case Study - The perfect way to fill the winter months

Posted on 10 September, 2016

Homesitter Malcolm Horsup

Police officers retire relatively young at 60 years old and whilst some want to put their feet up, others are keen to stay busy and active. One option that suits former police officers particularly well is to become a home and pet sitter.

This flexible role is perfect for trustworthy and reliable people who love animals and who are happy to move in to someone’s home and keep it safe and secure when they are on holiday.

Former police officer, Malcolm Horsup and his wife Sue who live in Colchester in Essex started homesitting when they retired in 2013. This animal-loving couple read about Homesitters Limited, the UK’s leading home and pet sitting company, in The Garden magazine and thought it would be the ideal way to spend the long winter months in the UK.

Malcolm explained: “We have a boat in France so during the summer we spend our time there or travelling in other countries. We’re both very active and wanted to something to occupy us in the winter. We didn’t want to be sat twiddling our thumbs.”

The Horsups applied to become homesitters and following a rigorous interview process, they were accepted.

One of the big attractions of the role was the prospect of looking after lots of dogs. Whilst the couple have never owned a dog together, Sue had owned a couple of Dobermans in the past.

Malcolm explained: “We would love a dog of our own, but we travel too much. However, since becoming homesitters, we get our ‘dog fix’ every winter and all the assignments we do involve looking after dogs. We’ve had German Shepherds, Labradors and three Italian Spinoni, one of which whom was a former show dog.” They have also looked after other animals including 11 chickens.

Today, they take on around 10 assignments per year. They have many regular clients and have stayed in some fantastic homes. These have included multi-million pound mansions with swimming pools and gyms and Grade 1 listed houses dating back to the 12th century, as well as typical family homes.

Malcolm says the role is particularly suitable for retired police men and women because of the trust element that’s needed.

He says, “Being a policeman comes with a high degree of responsibility and trust and it’s the same job requirements needed for home and pet sitting. Clients trust their homes and beloved pets to you and they need to have faith that you will look after both responsibly.”

He also points out that to be a good homesitter you need to be able to occupy yourself and as most policemen and women are highly motivated individuals, this aspect of the role will suit them.

He says, “You can’t leave a home unattended for more than three hours and two hours after dark when on assignment. You need something to occupy your time. You don’t want to just be sat watching TV all day and having a hobby is important.”

“My wife enjoys cooking so she loves to try out different recipes. In the homes we’ve stayed in there is usually an Aga on all the time so this is great for her. I enjoy IT and tinkering around with computers. We also spend a lot of time planning our travels and bring maps and guide books so we can plan where to go and what to see on our next trip.”

When they are not homesitting, the couple travel all over the world and love France and the Far East.

If you're interested in become a homesitter, please visit the become a homesitter section on our website by clicking here.


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