I enjoy looking after other people’s pets and homes (as a private person, that is; I don’t operate a house-sitting or pet-sitting business). Depending on the time of the year and where I am at the time (Portsmouth? Amsterdam? Or, hey, Boston or Alicante?), I may also be able to look after your cat(s), dog(s), bird(s) and perhaps a horse or donkey or two.
In Florida in the 1990s, I looked after Peter Betzer family’s dog and cockatiel, several other marine science colleagues’ cats (one of them had three or four cats) and USF librarian Susan Sherwood’s iguana and macaw while these people were on vacation.
I have also had the pleasure of looking after a sensitive older rescue Staffie in my home for about a month.
Also in Florida, I got into seabird rehabilitation with the wonderful and globally well-respected bird champion and oil spill contingency planner Lee Fox.
Freshly arrived from Amsterdam, I decided that volunteering might be a great way to grow roots in the local community so I started calling around. Lee’s facility PSRC was the first to call back. I knew nothing about birds at that point, and have learned a lot since.
As part of my own household, I have had two feral quaker parrots (Myiopsitta monachus) and emigrated with them twice, three rescue cats who also emigrated with me three times (two cats twice and one cat once), and a cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus).
In recent years, I have rehabbed a few pigeons (Columba livia). Pigeons are highly intelligent gentle creatures that I had essentially ignored for decades, embarrassingly. The most recent one stayed with me for six months and taught me a lot. I am very grateful for the experience. I have also on occasion grabbed a highly inquisitive pigeon who had ventured into a store.
In addition, I’ve gone fox-watching a few times. (Britain has flourishing urban fox populations.)
I grew up looking after and interacting with a wide range of animals (cats, dogs, horses, calves, pigs, a guinea pig, stick insects and more), and roaming the moors and woods behind our house (Brunssumerheide). I rode horses for a while, too.
Dogs tend to like me. Sometimes, dogs (strangers!) come running when they see me for a quick hello – tail wagging – and it’s even happened that a dog spontaneously came running and threw herself at my feet. Dogs seem to trust me and consider me reliable.
No longer having pets of my own these days enables me to travel more easily and look after people’s homes and animals.
Feel free to contact me if you would like me to look after your home and animals for a while. You can now also find me on Pawshake. (That takes care of insurance aspects, for your peace of mind.)
I clean and disinfect with F10, a high-end veterinary product.