Whether living in your native country or abroad in a holiday destination like Marbella in Spain it goes without saying that as a pet owner you will worry about pet care when you want to travel. In a city like Marbella housesitting and finding good pet sitters can be more challenging for an expat because you are away from your natural network of family and friends on whom you might call in the first instance. Moreover the population can be quite transitory. Jo recently applied to HouseSitMatch asking us to help her find a sitter, and Gail our registered housesitter came to her rescue. Here is their Marbella housesitting story…
Gail the Housesitter
I worked in the Hotel/Catering and hospitality industry before moving to Spain. I split my time between Spain and the UK. And since spending more time in Spain I have worked in Property maintenance and rental/cleaning/changeover etc. This Summer I spent much of my time in Majorca catering in private villas for clients who are on holiday, or staying in their holiday homes. We also catered for weddings this season.
Living as an expat among expats in and around Marbella housesitting came as a natural next step. I enjoy housesitting as it gives me a sense of normality whilst travelling as opposed to the holiday mode feeling which can feel a little superficial, and it gives me the opportunity to meet new people who often become great friends.
I’ve always loved animals
As an animal lover housesitting gives me the chance to look after a variety of pets, keeping them in their own environment and maintaining their normal routine relieving the stress of a home absence for both owners and their pets.
I started housesitting after becoming a widow
After the loss of my husband I started housesitting as a way to travel safely and independently, it has given me the confidence to start travelling further afield on my own. I love spending time in Spain and in Marbella. Although this was my first Marbella housesitting. I really enjoyed meeting Jo and Mike the homeowners, who are amazing people and excellent hosts. What is more l’m very pleased to be going back this weekend to housesit again for them. Housesitting for me is a great way of having homely accommodation with the company of pets to keep me busy and the opportunity to meet and make new friends.
Housesitting duties can vary
I have done several sits in other areas of Malaga and next I am booked for a sit with clients for whom I housesit on a regular basis. They have three lovely old girls (dogs) that I love dearly. In this Marbella housesitting assignment the duties requested were familiar, comprising walking and feeding the animals at their usual times and keeping the house clean and tidy. I usually keep in touch with the homeowners via phone if necessary, email and Whatsapp. Updates are so easy these days by mobile and I usually send photos with my messages. It’s good that the owners can see that the pets look well and happy, and all is well at home. Timely pictures can speak volumes.
The homeowners usually show me the neighbourhood and special local places
There is a lovely cafe just around the corner from the house and a small supermarket next to it for essential items …the beach …restaurants bars and larger supermarket are also within walking distance. There is a bus every half hour to Marbella town and Fuengirola where you can take the train into Malaga City.
Jo the Homeowner
We decided to look for a housesitter on this occasion because we know our dog loves the comfort of his own home, Badger can get a little homesick. And as we were going away in mid October we felt it might be a chilly up at the kennels for a greyhound with a short coat. Even in Marbella it can get a little chilly for domestic pets.
Whilst he is much loved by the staff at the kennels and always well looked after there, he always comes back thinner as the menu is not exactly a la carte, he invariable needs a bath and always appears just a little bit traumatized – I think there is a lot of midnight barking up there. I guess it can’t be helped with lots of dogs away from home missing whomever they are missing.
My Marbella housesitting assignment
I had noticed HouseSitMatch in our local newspaper and had looked at Lamia’s site on the net. I had seen other sites too but HouseSitMatch seemed to have the personal touch and indeed they are great value for money and very easy to contact. I liked the way they checked housesitters references, how you can see who is online, and you can use the Livechat facility if you have any questions. And I had lots of questions which were answered promptly.
HouseSitMatch offers detailed professional advice
I found the website section on contracts and responsibilities setting out what was expected by each party (The Easy Sit Guidelines) and written list of duties an excellent idea. It’s well thought out from a homeowner’s perspective. I contacted a few of the housesitters and we were able to link up pretty easily and they all seemed really nice. Lamia recommended Gail as she had been known to the site for over a year, and as she lived locally we spoke first on the phone then we arranged to meet. Fairly quickly she agreed to look after our dog Badger and our home.
We left Gail a list of all our contact details, local friends to contact in the event of any problems, vet’s information and our dog’s details (i.e. microchip and passport) and brief instructions on various aspects of dog and home care, daily and weekly routines, and what to do just in case… Gail was absolutely amazing and we returned to spotlessly clean house with chicken curry and chilli prepared for dinner which was delicious.
Badger our greyhound clearly adored her and looked in fantastic condition. She had even taught him some new good manners and was obviously excellent and experienced with dogs. All the plants had been watered too and when there had been a sudden storm Gail had brought the outside furniture in and out of the rain, which was brilliant and very considerate.
Now that we have used HouseSitMatch we shall definitely be recommending it to our friends.
Marbella housesitting through HouseSitMatch means holidays are possible!
I feel now that we will be able to take some holidays without having to worry about our home and pets. We have recently acquired another greyhound and I had thought we might never get away again as kennels can be very costly and even the best kennels do not compare with your dog being being at home. It is stressful enough for pets when the owners go away and when they are left at the kennels they can feel abandoned.
As a resident in Marbella for over 30 years I would strongly recommend the Costa del Sol for anyone looking for a housesit, it is very beautiful and we have great weather for most of the year.
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