Publié le by NmNomador
House-sitting Converts for Life!
Pets and travel don’t always mix, so what’s an animal-loving traveler to do when their furry
friends can’t come away on holiday? In our case, hiring a house-sitter has become the clear
winner. We’ve enlisted the help of many house-sitters over the years, and when we moved with
our dogs to France from New Zealand in 2016, we realized that getting a house-sitter to look
after our pets while we’re away made the most sense. Here’s our experience of enlisting the
help of house-sitters in France.
First-timers in France – Over 5 weeks away
When my husband, Julien, got a work contract in New Zealand in 2017, we decided it was the
perfect opportunity to take a trip home. But, as always, my first concern was who was going to
look after the dogs for 5 weeks!
Harvey & Chloe, our two Golden Retrievers, have health concerns. Harvey (8) is allergic to
certain mites, and Chloe (7) has an intolerance to grains. She has also had several knee
operations and as a consequence now has arthritis in her knees. They both have a degree of
hip dysplasia – an ailment their breed has a predisposition to.
Naturally, this means that putting them in a traditional kennel is problematic. Even having them
with other dogs full-time at a sitter’s house can be a bit much for their joints – as they often play
Finding a house-sitter to look after them at our home was the obvious solution. Both to make
sure they were well cared for, but also to keep life as normal as possible while we were away.
Conveniently, it was also the most cost-effective choice!
We popped an ad online and were quickly overwhelmed with the response. Living in Provence
seemed to be a big draw-card! But we wanted to make sure the person we chose was here to
hang out with the dogs too, and not just to spend all their time out sightseeing.
As a chronic over-analyzer, I spent many nights thinking about all the what-ifs.
In the end, I needn’t have worried. A lovely lady from Germany, Claudia, was one of our first
applicants. She worked from home, so would have plenty of time for giving belly rubs on the
couch, and was independent and clearly resourceful. After chatting online, we arranged for a
Skype chat. She immediately put me at ease and, as she’d had plenty of great references to
back up her experience, we confirmed her on the spot!
When the time came to bid farewell to our precious pooches, I was upset but reassured that
they were in good hands. In the days and weeks that followed, Claudia sent us updates and
pictures. It was incredibly comforting to witness how happy the dogs were and how well they
were being taken care of. And despite her lack of French, Claudia managed to navigate any
small obstacles that were thrown her way – including one of our naughty dogs getting into
trouble with the neighbours! She even made friends with a local couple and their dog who would
often be out walking at the same time.
When we returned to Europe, we decided to spend an extra night away on our way home, and
Claudia was happy to accommodate. When we did arrive back, it was clear the dogs were
happy, healthy, and although glad to see us – they weren’t overly so – the hallmark of a
Last minute search for a 6-week sojourn
The summer of 2018 was a tumultuous one! For various reasons, we were left with a little
uncertainty about our life in France, and so when another opportunity came up to travel to the
United States and back to New Zealand for an extended period, we jumped at it. Then ensued
the mad rush to get organized to go. The first task was to make sure the dogs were going to be
well cared for. I didn’t want to book or confirm anything until I was confident we’d made the right
decision on their behalf.
My faith in the house-sitting community was fulfilled once again when Tracey from the UK
reached out and seemed like the perfect fit. She arrived in France a couple of weeks later and
very thoughtfully arranged to come over to meet the dogs before our departure. The day we left
I was as nervous as ever, but a heartfelt hug and knowing smile from Tracey was gratefully
received as we bid farewell at the train station.
Updates from France ensued, and I would laugh and cry at the dog’s antics on video. Harvey &
Chloe were treated to two walks a day, along with weekly grooming sessions, massages and
plenty of pats. I’m sure they would’ve thought they’d received a life upgrade!
House-sitting converts for life
After having two very successful experiences with house-sitters caring for our four-legged
family, we’re convinced it’s the right choice for longer holidays. We’re thrilled that we can be
assured of our pets comfort while also allowing someone to experience a little slice of our life in
France for a while. It’s the very definition of a win-win situation!
Nadine Maffre is a semi-nomadic Kiwi currently living in the South of France with her husband Julien, young son Arthur & two rescued pups. She's passionate about responsible travel and loves it when luxury and eco-cred collide! An expert at discovering lesser-known attractions, she's loving getting to know her adopted country in depth, while enjoying short breaks around Europe and beyond. Follow her travels at Le Long Weekend.