Often our clients and friends ask about our travels and our house and pet sitting experiences and we thought that a blog would be a good way to share our stories both past and present.

We have met and made friends with some lovely humans, canines and felines over the past 5 years and we hope that you enjoy reading about our pet sitting and house sitting experiences as much as we enjoy regaling our "tails"!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone, we hope that you all have a good time, with your loved ones.

We know that all of your pets are muched loved and will enjoy a fab Christmas with you, as they do for the rest of the year.

We spare a thought for people and pets out there who are less fortunate and hope that 2012 proves to be their year, and say a big "thank you" to the people who work tirelessly all year to make their lives better.


Dog Links : http://doglinks.wordpress.com

Dog Rescue Carcassonne: http://www.dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk

Sunday, 6 November 2011

November in Normandy

Our first time to Normandy was a pleasant surprise. We have always landed in Calais and driven, via the auto route, focusing on getting past Paris before looking for somewhere to stop on our drive south.

We had a sit near Le Havre, on the banks of the River Seine, in a small hamlet which used to be the main port for the area in Roman times.

The houses in this part of France are very unique. A typical house of the region is thatched with Iris growing out of the top. This method is used to help hold the thatch, as the roots grow
down and help bind the materials together.

When taking a walk through this region you feel as if you have walked back in time, it is very much like an Anglo Saxon theme park. The villages are breathtakingly pretty, and the towns are medieval wood and winding streets.

We were looking after two very sweet dogs, and had plenty of walks through woods and along the banks of the Seine right on our doorstep.

One of the dogs is a white alsation which is a first for us. He was so well behaved and such a sweet dog. His coat was soft and thick. We were worried he would need a lot of cleaning, but miraculously, he stayed clean even after a long walk through muddy woods. Amazing.

The basset hound was a lovely character, who took a couple of days to get used to us, he was very shy to start with, but once he felt safe, he was glued to our side. He suffered from fits, which he had a couple of whilst we were looking after him. We had been pre-warned about this and were well prepared when it happened. It was just a case of being with him whilst he was fitting, and then comforting him afterwards whilst he was a bit disorientated.

We are pleased to have another opportunity early in the new year to sit for these lovely dogs again.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Jemima 2000 - 2011

It was with great sadness to learn that Jemima passed away this week. We had the pleasure of looking after her for two weeks in May this year, at her home in Goring-by-Sea.

Although she had breathing problems and had to take things slowly, she still had plenty of life in her, and we soon found her 'puppy button'. She liked to chase the pigeons on the lawn and play with her rope toy.

She was very affectionate and loved to give us kisses by snuggling up under our chins, and kissing our ears.

We are due to sit for the family again soon, and she will be missed, but we were grateful that she was with her family, who had a chance to say goodbye to her.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Autumn in France

As the leaves started to eventually turn brown and fall from the trees after an exceptionally hot September, we arrived in South West France to sit for a new client.

We looked after a Doberman, female and a Greyhound male. Both are rescue dogs and in their middle years. The Greyhound used to make us laugh as he would suddenly gallop around the field for a couple of laps and then, with legs all of a quiver, would go back to his sniffing and mooching around. It was a very funny sight.

The Doberman was good at demanding our attention to give her constant smooths. She was very obedient, making sure we saw her lifting her paw and sitting whilst we were preparing her meals.

We have lived in this part of France before, so we were able to catch up with friends on this visit. We had a trip to the Pyrenees on one sunny, clear day, and as there had been a bit of rain the day before, the tops of the highest peaks were dusted in snow. The towns in the Pyrenees were very quiet at this time of year, the summer tourists had departed, and the winter skiers were yet to appear. Locals were taking the opportunity to tidy up their properties and maintain the roads, etc, before the next influx. The area we know is the Aure Valley it is a very pretty time of year to see the foot of the mountains covered in golden foliage.Link

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Giant dogs to miniture ponies

We had a variety of sizes to look after in August. We had a new sit in North Devon, near Ilfracombe. We had an Irish wolf hound, two golden retrievers and a puppy spaniel. The farm we were sitting at had fantastic views of the coast and on a clear day we could see across to Wales. There were some lovely walks to do with these dogs, through woodland and fields, the dogs were able to run for miles. The weather was quite hot on most days, and with their thick coats, the dogs got very warm. They did have a convenient bath available to them in the shape of strategically placed water troughs set in the hedges along the route.

The dogs had great fun cooling off in muddy puddles and then washing off the mud in the trough.

In contrast, we looked after two ponies near Bristol one of which was a miniature shetland, so cute, with ears like a bear. They were both very sweet ponies, and great companions to one another.

The miniature shetland was like a big dog, and the wolf hound was like a small pony, all very strange.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

August was a busy month. We looked after a menagerie of animals and a campsite for two weeks. The animals were great, we had an assortment of dogs, a cat, a herd of sheep, two ponies, several chickens and two ducks.

The campsite, Hidden Spring, is in a lovely spot in East Sussex. It is set in a vineyard and orchard. Our task was to look after the animals, and the campers. There were a number of static pitches one was a teepee, a geodome and two yurts, there was also a showman's caravan. These needed to be serviced by ourselves. After a few days we got the hang of where people had to pitch their tents and the general running of the place.

We had a small farm shop to run and we enjoyed meeting and greeting the new arrivals. Guests usually arrived as Della was in the shower block doing the daily clean! Tracy got to be a dab hand at being a wine seller in the shop.

The hours were long and the work very physical, so after two days we were very tired, but the weather was great so we were able to grab a lunch break sat in the back garden, After a few days we got into a routine with the animals and the campers. We had a day off on the Sunday and were able to have a walk around the local area. East Sussex is a lovely county with plenty of rural spots. We found a little pub a short walk from the campsite.

We had a band of little helpers following us around as we cleaned each of the static tents, these were children staying on the campsite. The families were good company and they were great at alerting us to when a sheep got stuck in the fencing or when one of the dogs was touting for sausages when it was tea time with the campers.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Easter 2011

For Easter we were near Cannes, France where where we looked after our old friends a Rhodesian Ridge back, a Spoodle and a Burmese cat.

We always look forward to sitting for this family of lovely pets, they know us very well now, so we all settle into our routine very quickly.

When we try to use our computer, Bruno has other ideas. He likes all the attention to come his way.

We made our way back from the South of France in our car, and caught the ferry from Calais one more time, back to Blighty.

After a short visit with family and friends back in Bristol, and watching the Royal Wedding on the telly, we headed off to our next sit in Edenbridge,Kent, where we looked after two lovely cats.

Edenbridge is a small, historic town, surrounded by miles of woodland walks and countryside. Hever Castle is to one side of the town and Chartwell House, the home of Sir Winston Churchill is in the other direction. There was plenty to keep us occupied in this area.

For the rest of May we were back in South West France, near Cahors, for a short sit and then back to the UK to Goring-by-Sea, Sussex, for our first visit to sit for Jemima, Myrtle and Minnie. Jemima,is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and her sisters are Persian cats. We had bracing walks along the sea front, walking into Worthing, and taking the train to Brighton

where we caught up with a Kiwi friend who was visiting the area.

We found a superb vegetarian restaurant in Brighton called
Food for Friends which we hope to revisit in the not too distant.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Sudbury, Suffolk

Suffolk is another new county for us, so we arrived without any preconceived ideas. It is very rural with pretty villages and towns dotted about. We sat just outside of a town called Sudbury which is a lovely market town. Although the area is very rural the towns were built with money made from the weaving and silk industry so the buildings are very affluent.

We looked after two very sweet dogs, a border terrier who, when sat on her back legs, looked more like a meerkat, and a boxer dog. We enjoyed some lovely walks with the girls along leafy lanes that led us to small hamlets of thatched cottages looking out over fields stretching for miles. The hens we looked after kept us in a great supply of eggs for our stay.

Melford Hall

We visited Melford Hall which is owned by the National Trust. It is lived in by the Hyde Parker family and it felt lived in like a home not a museum piece. The home was visited a great deal by Beatrix Potter.

Lavenham was another of our favorite visits. It is a medieval
village, very pretty. We did a circular walk around the village
to see the surrounding countryside, before having lunch in one of the pubs on the high street.

Bury St Edmunds was a real surprise as we didn't expect a town with so much history and architecture set in such a rural location.

Vegetarian Restaurants in this area

Veggie Red Lion
Another great find, a superb vegetarian restaurant, well worth a visit, at Great Bricett. We met up with some friends who were holidaying in the area and we had a lovely meal.

The Black Boy
This is a pub in the centre of Sudbury market place, and although not exclusively vegetarian, the owner of the pub and hotel is vegan and had a lovely selection of dishes on the menu. It was a really old building, apparently with its own ghost, and had a great atmosphere. We were spoilt for choice on the menu.

Friday, 22 July 2011

2011 the year so far....

The first half of 2011 has passed in a blinking of an eye or, more appropriately, a wagging of a tail.We started off the year in France living in a Maison de Maitre in the Dordogne region. We managed 3 gites for the owners, providing change over services, pool maintenance and general gardening. We met lots of people holidaying at the property, each week having a new dynamic, depending on who was staying.

We got to know our immediate french neighbours, one of whom was a veteran of the Foreign legion. We were given loads of tomatoes and produce from their very productive potager, (vegetable garden). We tried to pay them back with bringing them English tea, which they loved, and making cakes. They didn't want anything in return though, they were just grateful that their produce was being appreciated and utilized.

We had the opportunity to practice our french a bit more in this area, as we had more people around us, and became very fluent in swimming pool jargon, as we oversaw some major works on the pool over the season.

In March we left the Dordogne and went further South to Carcassonne where we said hello again to a regular client and their pets, and made some new acquaintances. Carcassonne is a lovely fortified town with a very impressive medieval castle fully intact. The old town is contained within the huge walls of the city. Both our house sits were just outside of the main city, in the surrounding countryside, which is rugged and beautiful.
New friends made.

Old friends re-visited.

We were pleased that we would have the chance to look after a family of African grey parrots again, as well as two dogs and a Camargue pony. They all remembered us from a sit the previous year and it was great to catch up with them again.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Wolvercote an Olde English Village

A last minute booking brought us to Wolvercote near Oxford. This is a new area for us and we were pleasantly surprised to find a little village tucked away from the busy main roads that surrounded it. The village is on the edge of Port Meadow, a large piece of common land, which stretches for miles, and has the Oxford canal running through it. This was very handy as the dog we were looking after had so much energy.

Tracy getting her daily exercise. This dog had endless energy.

He was only a young pup and so sweet, although we were only with him for a few days, he really stole our hearts, and we had great fun throwing the ball for him. We also helped harvest the owners' allotment whilst they were away which was laden with produce.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Sitting in Scotland

June saw us travel from the South Eastern tip of the UK to the North Eastern tip, to Aberdeen for our next sit. We travelled the whole distance in one day, feeling the temperature drop the further north we went.

We do not know Scotland very well, Della only having been there once before, and Tracy never having been. We were looking forward to exploring this part of our country.

Aberdeen is by the seaside, and we were lucky to pick two lovely weeks of calm, sunny weather, although a tad cold for us Southerners. The North Sea was like a mill pond, and the scenery was breathtaking. We loved the beaches which were vast, empty spaces of clean white sand, with colonies of seals and Eider ducks. Very unspoilt and pristine countryside and coastline for miles around.
Slains Castle Cruden bay

We were looking after two very low maintenance cats, who enabled us to go out on walks and explore the local area. We found a small general stores in Auchnagatt, the only store in the small village, as we wanted some matches. The shop was something out of 'The league of Gentlemen' very Local. There were a few items on the shelves, such as the odd tin of beans and a bottle of sauce. The window display was ancient, with bars of soap with 'sell by dates' from 1999!

The old part of Aberdeen was interesting. It is called Footdee There are a number of fisherman's cottages which are built into the harbour walls. They face inwards with their gardens in quadrangles so that the people are sheltered from the weather coming in from the sea.

When this sit finished we had a few days before we had to be at our next sit in Oxford, so we took advantage of the lovely weather and made our way back down South via Inverness and the Highlands. We called in on Nessy on the way passed and enjoyed the scenery of the mountains and lochs. We had lunch in a lovely loch-side restaurant in Fort Augustus called The Boathouse which gave us views back up the loch where we had driven down.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Cheap Pet Insurance

The cost of taking a beloved pet to the vets is never cheap and as we are all finding the pinch in our purses in all aspects of our lives, we were interested to read an article in Martin Lewis's Money Expert.com.

This is an online magazine highlighting ways to save money in all aspects of our lives. This month features an article on pet insurance and ways to keep the costs down.

Check it out to make sure you are not paying out more than you should and to see if there are ways in which you can get more for your hard earned money.

Link to Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert.com

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Dog Friendly Britain

Dog Friendly Britain in an online magazine helping people find places to stay with their dogs when they go on holiday.

It is a good source of information covering all aspects of a dog owner's life.

We were recently featured in the magazine, click on the link below to see what they said.

Dog Friendly Britain Feature

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Lungworm Awareness Campaign

What is this lungworm?

The lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum (also known as French Heartworm) is a parasite that infects dogs. The adult of this particular lungworm lives in the heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs, where it can cause a host of problems. Left untreated, the infection can often be fatal.

The lungworm parasite is carried by slugs and snails. The problem arises when dogs purposefully or accidentally eat these common garden pests when rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys.

There is a national campaign highlighting this issue more information can be found on the two sites below.



Thursday, 3 March 2011

Chickens - More than meets the eye

We tend to sit for clients with a variety of pets which we are familiar with and have owned in the past.

Until we started pet sitting we had not looked after chickens. Our parents' generation are used to them in their gardens, but it was not commonplace in the towns when we were growing up.

We have really grown to love these birds and learn a lot about them. They are very easy to look after, just needing a secure shelter at night, to stop predators getting at them, food and water.

We have come across a number of different chicken houses, some just a small coop, which could be moved around to a different spot in the garden, to garden sheds and out buildings.

They are so curious, watching everything that is going on around them. They turn over the earth looking for grubs etc.

The best thing about them though is the fact that they will put themselves to bed just before it gets dark. They just have to be locked in to be secure.

The eggs have the most yellow of yolks making any cooking a gorgeous colour.

British Hen Welfare Trust

We feel the chicken is a very overlooked bird, and it is worth giving it a bit of attention the next time you come across one.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Discovering i Portal

As we travel around quite a bit, in the UK and Europe we rely on our lap tops a great deal. They become a portable telephone, a way of actually seeing our friends and family via web cam and an easy way to visit the bank as well as keeping in touch with clients.

We like to dip in and out of tv programmes whilst we are travelling around, and with most tv channels we are able to use the iplayers provided with each channel. This is most useful whilst we are abroad as the time difference sometimes makes it inconvenient to watch live tv. However you are only able to access UK channels via the internet whilst in the UK, so when abroad we use a service called i Portal.

By signing into this service you effectively use a UK based server. The service is also useful when emailing from outside the UK, for using tools like spellcheck. If you are in France, for example, and using spellcheck the tool will automatically spellcheck in french, unless you are connected to i portal.

The service makes our life so much easier and for a small subscription either annually or monthly we would not be without it.

To find out more about i Portal go to our 'Links Page' on our website.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Bloat in dogs

Looking after other people's precious pets is a great experience but also a great responsibility. We are trusted to look after and care for an animal as if they were our own.

We follow the routine of the pet owner so that the pet is settled, and not disrupted by the change of human carer.

Meal times can be stressful, especially with dogs, and there is a risk of bloat which many pet owners are not aware of.

As long as a few rules are observed, for instance, stopping vigorous exercise an hour before or after feeding, limited water before and after feeding, and stress free mealtimes, most dogs are fine.

Some breeds, those with a high ribcage for example, are more prone to bloat. We have looked after dogs where there is a history of bloat, and are aware of this risk with other dogs that we look after.

This is a really good site telling you what to look out for, and how to prevent bloat.


We have a form you can download to give to your pet sitter so that they know what to look out for and what to do if your dog presents with symptoms of bloat. This is located on the Links page of our website.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New Year on the French Riviera

Christmas and New Year in a small town just up in the hills behind Cannes has started our year off on a pampered note.

We saw the New Year in with the beautiful people, but more importantly with beautiful pets. We had the pleasure of looking after Zuka, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, and Alfie a Spoodle. We were looked after by Bruno the Cat.

Our Spoodle, or Cockerpoo,

Alfie is a toy poodle crossed with a spaniel. He is very sweet and has a very soft and curly coat which doesn't molt. .

click below to get more information on this breed.

He loved to have cuddles most of the time, basically as soon as you sit down he was there asking to get up. He has a sweet temperment he is full of energy and very playful.

Zuka is a Rhodesian Ridgeback

Wikipedia quotes this breed " The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog breed developed in Southern Africa where it was used (amongst other things) to hunt lions. This is most likely why this dog is known for its bravery."

Obviously Zuka had not read this descirption of himself as he was scared of his own shadow, literally. He was a bit nervous of us at first, but given his space he soon got used to us and was a shadow for the entire sit. He took his lead from Alfie on most matters, letting his older brother guide him.

He was a very effective guard dog as he would run and bark up to the gates of the property when anyone called. As part of the family he is very loving and gentle.

Bruno is a Burmese

Click here for further information on the Burmese.
Burmese Cat Club of GB

Bruno was very tolerant of us and was gratious enough to welcome us into his home. He too liked lots of cuddles and was very vocal around tea time. He was kind enough to let us smooth his deep and very soft coat , we felt very honoured when his attentions were turned to us.