Having the time of our lives in retirement
Posted on 7 March, 2019
Anne and George Smart from Peterborough in Lincolnshire have been home and pet sitting through the nation’s leading home and pet sitting company, Homesitters Ltd for ten years. Before retiring Anne had been a lawyer in Cornwall and George owned a restaurant and a pub in Lincolnshire.
The couple met fifteen years ago on holiday and hit it off due to their shared interests such as painting. They married two years later.
George had tried out pet sitting by looking after his daughter’s dog when she was on holiday and the couple quickly realised they would both enjoy home and pet sitting. They love animals and both owned dogs and cats throughout their lives but no longer wanted the responsibility.
Anne searched the internet for companies and liked the look of Homesitters Ltd, particularly the fact it is a family run company.
The Smarts find it reassuring that working for Homesitters they’re covered by insurance and the company provides a 24/7 emergency support service should anything go awry. In fact, their first assignment was an emergency cover when a homesitter had to leave the assignment suddenly and they took over.
Anne says, “The support from Homesitters Ltd is excellent and the backup service and insurance is a great comfort. I like the company’s set up and when we’re in the area we pop into the office and are always made to feel so welcome.
“The company sets up preliminary meeting with the client which is very useful. We also value the checklist Homesitters provides, it’s essential to know where the stopcock and fuse box are and to have emergency contact numbers, like the local vet.”
The couple have done a wide variety of assignments over the years and have many repeat clients. In fact, the couple are so popular clients often check their availability before booking holidays.
George says, “We regularly look after an elderly Schnauzer who has to take pills and the owners like to book us, as the dog knows and trusts us. We’ve often had to administer medicine to pets but it’s not as daunting as people might think. Animals have a second sense that you’re trying to help them and are usually very co-operative.
“On one homesit in Hampstead we had to administer inhalers to an asthmatic cat twice a day by putting a mask on him. He was normally very feisty but was as good as gold when we gave him the inhalers. We’ve had similar experiences injecting diabetic cats and dogs, we’ve found that when it’s time for their injections they come to us with no trouble.”
The couple really enjoy spending time with animals and Anne often spends her evenings painting portraits of them or making needle felt animals. Anne also recently set up a Facebook group to knit clothes for premature babies in her local area and as it’s online she can carry out the administration for the group wherever she is.
Anne says, “We love home and pet sitting. We receive a remuneration and expenses from Homesitters which boosts our pensions. Homesitting also really saves on our own household bills, especially in the winter. However, the best thing about it is spending time with the animals. We also really enjoy meeting nice people and staying in beautiful houses.
“We once stayed in a Tudor manor house where the gardener asked us if we’d seen the resident ghost! I’m relieved to say that we never saw the ghost and that house became one of our favourites. Over the years we’ve become friends with many of our regular clients, and when we go on holiday this summer we’ll be spending a few nights as the guests of a previous client.”
Anne and George have found a whole new lease of life together in retirement through their marriage and home and pet sitting which allows them to spend lots of quality time together.