Home and pet sitting - the perfect occupation for early retirees
Posted on 22 May, 2017
Many people decide to take early retirement and the average age of people retiring from the workforce in the UK is 58 years old[i].
This is still relatively young and most people don’t just want to put their feet up when they retire – they want to travel more, spend time doing leisure activities and hobbies, and see more of their family.
Others may also want to keep busy by taking on a voluntary role or a part-time job. This is leading some to get in touch with house sitting agencies and become in-home pet sitters and house sitters - looking after people’s homes and pets when they go away on holiday.
This is the perfect flexible role for anyone looking to keep occupied in their retirement. The appeal for most is the chance to travel all over the UK and stay in some wonderful homes and interesting locations.
These could be city centre pads or countryside mansions, remote farmhouses or grand town houses. In fact, just about any type of home where the owners want to make sure it stays safe and secure when they are away.
Most of our homesitters really enjoy the chance to take care of people’s pets. These can range from dogs and cats to more exotic animals including snakes, potbellied pigs and llamas. Often people don’t want the commitment of pets when they retire, so being a homesitter can give people their animal fix.
Whilst the primary rewards for home and pet sitting are non-financial, homesitters do receive a modest remuneration to supplement a pension or other income.
People can choose how many assignments they take on. Some do them throughout the year; others spend just the winter months home and pet sitting, which leaves their summer free to travel.
Retired police officer, Malcolm Horsup and his wife Sue, from Colchester in Essex, do just this. This animal-loving couple retired at 60 years old and were keen to stay busy and active. They had read about Homesitters Limited in a 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 something to occupy us in the winter. We didn’t want to be sat twiddling our thumbs.”
One of the big attractions of the role was the prospect of looking after lots of dogs. While the couple have never owned a dog together, Sue had owned a couple of Dobermans in the past.
Malcolm adds, “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.”
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.
They have also looked after other animals including 11 chickens, and when they are not home and pet sitting, the couple travel all over the world and love France and the Far East.
If you are planning to take early retirement or have already done so, and want to find out more about becoming a homesitter we would love to hear from you.