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If you're a New Zealand homeowner with pets, then whenever you contemplate going away, you have to decide what you're going to do about the little tykes. Have you ever thought of using a pet & house sitter?
For a short absence, like overnight or a weekend, you'll probably arrange with a neighbour or friend to look in on your pets, feed them, and if your pet is a dog, take him or her for a walk.
Annual vacations, overseas trips, and really anything longer than going away for the weekend, generally mean one of three things. You'll either drop off your pet/s to a minder, book them into a pet resort (i.e. a kennel or cattery), or engage a professional feeder/walker to come in for half an hour each day so your pet can stay at home.
Why not use a pet & house sitter? It not only dovetails in perfectly with increased security for your home, it allows the pets to remain in their own surroundings, with the care and company of pet-loving people - and it costs you nothing! Many house sitters are happy to care for your pets & home in exchange for living rent-free - no cost!
Most house & pet sitters are happy to keep your house occupied, keep the lawns and garden trim, water your plants, attend to any emergencies, take messages, collect the mail, pick up any junk mail and newspapers - and perhaps most importantly of all, take great care of your four-legged friends.
The house sitting equation depends entirely on mutual respect and trust between owner and sitter. You should be able to tell from your conversations with the sitter whether they're the right sort of person. Sometimes an owner will invite the sitter to visit before the sit, to meet them and weigh them up. Some pet & house sitting websites, such as Kiwi House Sitters - http://www.kiwihousesitters.co.nz (which whom I'm a member), have house sitting agreements you can download and use, thus giving you peace of mind.
Any sitter with even a modicum of experience will compile a list of referees - home owners they've sat for, etc. whom you can contact and speak to before you engage their services. Other 'first-timers' (and everyone has to start sometime) can offer work and personal references.
It's also a good idea to use a New Zealand pet & house sitting company where the pet & house sitters have to register before they can be listed. This way you can read all their bios before committing and also know their personal details are recorded by that company.
That way, you can be sure you're dealing with an ethical, trustworthy person, and someone who will take very good care of your pet & home. Leaving you to enjoy your trip worry-free! Happy Travels!