Life as a homesitting couple
Posted on 2 September, 2019
Two of our homesitters are Tim and Jill Clark, a retired couple from a small village outside Tetbury in Gloucestershire, who have been home and pet sitting through us since 2003.
They have completed over 210 homesits for around 70 different clients and looked after over 100 different animals, ranging from Shire horses, to pigs, monitor lizards, Alpacas and even pythons. Whilst the majority of Homesitters’ clients own dogs and cats, some have more exotic animals and these kinds of assignments appeal to the Clarks.
The couple decided to become homesitters because of their love of travel and the fact it offered them the opportunity to stay in beautiful houses in stunning locations. No longer animal owners, they are passionate about all kinds of animals. Tim was raised in Kenya and as a boy he had pet monkeys and snakes.
Tim says, “We are an adventurous couple. For our holidays, we like to travel to places like Cambodia or Costa Rica and during my career in international sales and marketing, we were lucky enough to live in South Africa and America. When I retired at 55, one of our main plans was to explore as much as possible. I spotted an advertisement for Homesitters and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine our love of animals and nature.”
“My background means I will pretty much look after any animal, and whilst, unsurprisingly Jill isn’t so keen on snakes, rodents and bird-eating tarantulas – they really don’t bother me so we are willing to look after more exotic animals, as well as the more regular pets.”
The Clarks spend an average of 158 days every year looking after people’s homes and pets but they pick and choose their assignments, fitting them in around their family commitments and their holidays.
Tim says, “Home sitting suits us because we are doing something really purposeful, it is really flexible and it combines our many interests. We’ve sat in the most fabulous homes with beautiful gardens – it’s just like having a wonderful holiday.
“We get to swim in the nicest pools, use the saunas and tennis courts and many of the animals have become like grandchildren to us. We are lucky enough to have all the fun with them and then get to hand them back! We often get asked back to the same homes so we get to bond with the animals too.
“We never get bored because we love the adventure. I’ve even developed a bit of a Doctor Dolittle type reputation with my clients. I have looked after more than 37 breeds of dogs, at least seven pedigree cats, numerous reptiles, including a nest of 27 pythons, million-pound race horses, alpacas, ornamental fish, birds, rare-breed pigs and sheep, rodents and a Goliath bird-eating tarantula. I record all the animals on what I call my “menagerie” spreadsheet!”
Many of the homes the Clarks homesit at are in rural locations and they use the peace and quiet as an opportunity to catch up on their hobbies. Jill does needlework and Tim collects foreign bank notes. They also relish being outdoors. Tim often takes his hammock with him so he can relax outside with the dogs and they’ve joined the National Trust so they can visit stately homes and gardens wherever they are based.
Being homesitters has enabled this outgoing couple to combine their love of animals and nature, with their spirit of adventure. If this sounds like something you’d like to do when you retire please get in touch. We’re always keen to recruit more homesitters throughout the UK and would very much like to hear from anyone in their 50s, 60s or 70s who is fit and active, reliable and loves animals.