Home & Pet Sitting REFERENCES

MARY-LYNNE’S REVIEW – Duncan, Canada

(Trusted House Sitters)

5 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

We loved Kath and Aaron! And our cat and dog loved them too! We got frequent emails and photos showing how our creatures were doing. It was a comfort to know they were taking care of our home and pets. The yard was well looked after including the annual autumn raking of the leaves! The house was left in pristine condition, move in ready as they say. A very nice way to to come home after 43 days and 24 hours of flying. We had a thermostat issue while away and it was handled smoothly. We had made an error in booking our sitters (dates) and Kath and Aaron were very flexible and easy to work with. They came a day early to be shown all the trails and to be orientated for our home. We want them to return!

Received | Nov 9, 2018

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JEANIE’S REVIEW – Oak Bay, Canada

(Mind My House.com)

5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Highly Recommended

We can’t recommend Kath and Aaron enough. They took excellent care of our cats and our home and sent regular updates and photos full of details that brought great peace of mind. Kath and Aaron, thank you so much for everything and we are happy to be contacted as references in future and if we go away in future we will definitely contact you first.

Jeanie, Canada, 24 September, 2018

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MADELINE’S REVIEW – Dominicalito, Costa Rica

(Trusted House Sitters)

5 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Kath and Aaron took excellent care of my menagerie of of 8 cats and 5 dogs for 8 weeks. They prepared homemade food for them and went on daily walks. They are very capable of administering medications. They were well organized keeping track of expenses and having plenty of food available. Kath was in constant communication with me about the what was happening with my pets. They both truly cared for the well-being of all of the animals and took immaculate care of my home. I would highly recommend Kath and Aaron for your next Trusted Housesitters.

Received | May 2018

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LIZZY’S REVIEW – Victoria, Canada

(Trusted House Sitters)

5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kath and Aaron were the best possible dog-sitters. I was reluctant to leave my elderly dachshund for three and half months, but their thoughtfulness made the process bearable. They wrote often to tell us of our dog’s antics, and the emails were both comforting and hilarious. The photos they sent were beautiful. But on a very basic level, there’s nothing like seeing a calm, happy photo of your dog to reassure you he’s fine. He absolutely adored them. The neighbours all loved Kath and Aaron too. They left our house and car sparkling clean. We would have them back at any time. So would our neighbours.

Received September 2, 2018

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JILL AMATT – Matapalo, Costa Rica

5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Kath and Aaron managed our small Cabina rental operation and took care of our three dogs for us for one week in February 2018. We found them to be very organized, communicative, reliable and honest.

They took great pride in the work that they did for us and they treated the dogs as if they were their own. Our guests had a lovely time with them and they even became great friends with some of them of which they are still in touch with today.

They also managed our staff member well, and they left our house clean and organized.

We highly recommend them for taking care of a house, pets, or a small business.

Received September 2018

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FRAN’S REVIEW – Powell River, Canada

5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Kath is an honest, responsible person. We have a lot of fruit in our yard. I said she could have 1/2 and I would like 1/2. She froze mine which I appreciated very much. We have a large yard which she mowed and watered my flower beds. Our house was very clean when we returned. She housesat from June 2016 – September 2016.

Received September 2017

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DIANE’S REVIEW – Powell River, Canada

5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Hello. I am writing to recommend Kath as an excellent, caring and reliable house/pet sitter. Kath was our tenant for 5 years and showed respect and responsibility for her space. Many times over the years, she looked after our house and cat while we were away on short and long term trips. Kath is a true animal lover, and our cat was never disrupted by our time away when Kath was with her. We were never concerned for our house either since as a mature/responsible person and past home owner, we knew that everything would be taken care of if something unexpected showed up. I recommend her without hesitation.

Received August 2017

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MARILYN’S REVIEW – Powell River, Canada

5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Kath and her partner Aaron not only did a great job caring for our house and yard, but they did an amazing job caring for our little dog who is disabled. They were so good with him I don’t think he even missed us! They sent me regular video clips of our dog and we were able to enjoy our holiday without worrying.

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ALI’S REVIEW – Powell River, Canada

5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kath provided exceptional house sitting services while we travelled. We live on an acreage with a water system that means we rely on hand wandering. Our orchards and established perennials would not have survived the drought without her diligent, consistent care. In addition, she picked fruit and tended our vegetable garden. We don’t have pets but she kept an eye on our bird feeders. We came home to a clean and tidy house and an incredible harvest. Our house sitting requirements were quite unusual and fairly demanding yet Kath remained grounded and flexible to our needs. What we really appreciated was her preparation, her organization, and her communication with us. We highly recommend Kath to others needing an honest and reliable house sitter.

Received August 30, 2018

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ADA’S REVIEW – San Pedro la Laguna, Atitlán, Guatamala

(AirBNB)

Kath and Aaron are very good guests! They took care of the place and followed the rules like it was their own place. Good communication, very quiet, private, clean friendly. They love my pets! They are always welcome back! I highly recommend them to other hosts. Thank you, Kath and Aaron for staying at Dobla Luna Apartment with amazing view!

January 2018

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KIRKI’S REVIEW – Stoupa, Greece (Peloponnesus)

(AirBNB)

Kath and Aaron are great guests. We highly recommend them. My parents had a great time with them, dinners and going out. We consider them friends and we hope to meet again.

May 2016

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Kath & Aaron, Home & Pet Sitters Intro, Profile & Video

Below is a short video of our home & pet sitting journey, followed by our detailed home & pet sitting profile. We began this adventure about the same time as we retired three years ago (although I did sit previously, randomly, through word of mouth). We have now embarked upon the adventure of combining travel and sitting. The win-win nature of these arrangements is just so great! We’ve had the privilege of caring for and getting to know many beautiful pets, as well as having made strong ongoing friendships with their owners. The arrangements are based on trust and good will, and I think that more of this type of money-free exchange is just what our world needs. 🎼🎵…What the world needs now, is love, sweet love…🎵🎶 Check out our video and stay tuned for stories of our home & pet sitting and travel adventures.

ALL ABOUT US

Hello! We are Canadians, retired 3 years, adventurous, fit and young at heart. We are travelling and seeing the world, stopping at times to home & pet sit. We have extensive experience with home and pet sitting over recent years and truly appreciate the opportunity to enjoy and care for others’ pets at a time when we can’t have our own due to our travel lifestyle. We truly appreciate the win-win nature of the exchange, providing the peace of mind that home & pet owners need for a worry-free vacation, while meeting our own needs for shelter and the nourishment provided by time spent getting to know and caring for their pets. We are animal lovers — I doubt your pets will get better care and attention than we will give them.

WHY WE WANT TO CARE FOR YOUR PETS and HOME

House and pet sitting is a beautiful addition to our world-experiencing lifestyle! While we love to move about and see the sights, we also love opportunities to be homebodies and live the stable life of caring for a home and pets for a time. When we are caring for pets and their home, that will always be our top priority. Pet and home sitting facilitates this perfectly. We are both big animal lovers and are quite rejuvenated by our time spent caring for and sharing pet love. We have made life long friendships with home owners and their pets through our house sitting connections, and appreciate the opportunity to stay in touch with how our temporary charges are doing.

OUR EXPERIENCE

We have plenty of experience worldwide – from the one small pampered dachshund we cared for this summer (3.5 months) in Victoria, Canada to caring for 13 rescue pets in a remote Costa Rican jungle last winter/spring for 10 weeks (5 dogs/8 cats). While there one of the cats was stung by a scorpion and we nursed her back to health with chamomile baths to her eye. Happily she recovered as good as new. We have administered medication to cats and dogs, for worms and ticks, as well as performing tick removal.

Last summer we cared for a small disabled dog. Dickie was paralyzed in his back legs. Along with caring for all his needs, including toiletting, we encouraged him to learn confidence and skill in his new wheelchair. It was most gratifying for both of us to see him go from a subdued, seemingly depressed little fellow to a confident, capable little walker eagerly exploring the world. So — yes, we are experienced, and this is only the beginning of the stories! (Stay tuned for short stories here about each of our delightful experiences in pet and home sitting.)

BACKGROUND

We are retired, Kath from health/education assistant in a secondary school and Aaron as a school psychologist and UBC professor. With these backgrounds we were required to be strong communicators and compassionate human beings. During our many years working in schools we were both required to have clean criminal record checks.

We are local to the Victoria area in summer and travel most winters to warm areas. We are open to consideration of a sit in most areas of the world, though we have some definite strong interest points, and are currently booked for much of the next year (though there are openings – just ask!).

WHAT WE CAN BRING TO THE ASSIGNMENT

We are responsible, honest, clean, nonsmoking, physically fit, non-partying animal lovers with many 5 star reviews and references. We love to hike, kayak, cycle, travel and see the world, do photography, read, write, spend time interacting with animals, and we enjoy a balance of social and solitary time.

We are previous home and pet owners and understand the responsibility involved in caring for both. We consider pets family members, to be treated so — your pet’s care takes priority when we are sitting. We have owned a home with a pool and hot tub and are fully conversant in their care.

We love the process of providing photos, videos and anecdotes of the pets’ daily life to the HO while they are on vacation (though only if desired).

With us, you can trust that your home and pets will be well loved and cared for while you have a worry-free getaway. We always make your home and pets top priority when sitting, and you will return to happy, healthy pets and a clean, orderly home.  If you have further questions, email us at kath.p54@gmail.com or view our profiles at Trusted House Sitters, Mind My House, House Carers, House Sit Mexico and House Sit Canada.

 

 

 

Guatamala: Tikal

Tikal was our next stop on our late 2017 Central America tour. A mysterious and massive reminder of ancient Mayan civilization, the ruins are buried deep in a Guatamalan jungle, holding tightly to centuries-old secrets. We moved quietly along dark jungle paths until they appeared, massive structures towering in the misty pre-dawn.

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Climbing high above the jungle canopy, one can see the vast distances encompassing the ancient settlements. Steep and crumbling in areas, to mount and look out from the top of these monoliths can be both daunting and awe-inspiring. So many unanswered questions to ponder from this vantage point — what was the life of the people who created these structures and lived in this jungle so long ago.

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Our awe was compounded by the haunting cries of howler monkeys which accompanied the territorial wars in the canopy above. Fierce and threatening, their calls are eerily reminiscent of that of a jaguar, a powerful creature with whom they share these jungles.

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Though rarely seen in jungles where humans travel and live, a jaguar sighting remains a dream of many an adventurer. The above artistic rendition of the jaguar (and other similar ones) hangs on the walls of the museum at the park headquarters.

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The ceiba or tree of life — we were told by a passing guide that its ridges were used by local people for directional guidance. It is the oft-photographed national tree of Guatamala. The flora and fauna of Guatamalan jungle are plentiful and varied, a seemingly endless visual feast of discovery.

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Guatamala: Antigua

 

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Antigua, first stop in Guatamala, December 2017 — became, for me, primarily a city of, not just volcanoes — but one of erupting volcanoes. Tracking the activity in Volcán Fuego, I tried to imagine the intensity of heat and pressure capable of causing molten lava to spew hundreds of feet into the night sky. It was a breathtaking experience  — both awe-inspiring and terrifying.

Photos of erupting Volcán Fuego by Aaron White, using his trusty telephoto lens

** ADDENDUM: June 2018: In light of the devastating eruptions of Volcán Fuego early this month, these photos and experiences of the power of nature — of what is actually possible — take on new meaning for me. Many Guatamalan people died this month as a result of the recent eruptions — a horrific and life changing experience for the survivors. My heart goes out to them, and all people on earth who experience such enormous loss.

 

Other impressions of this town: Colour and texture everywhere, in everything — in buildings, traditional clothing worn by women, market wares, ornate doors and knockers alongside a friendly, helpful welcome from local people — whether my Spanish teachers, our Air BNB hosts, restauranteers or our Salsa teacher.

 

 

The brightly hued buildings of Antigua caught my eye, especially those weathered with layer upon layer of different colour speaking of the wall’s history. Bold line and colour grace local artwork, depicting everyday life in Guatamala, while its reality brings bustle to the streets and markets.

 

Costa Rica: Foliage Unfolding

 

 

 

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I was mesmerized by the constant state of change visible in the foliage of our Costa Rican jungle. Crisp leaves crackle underfoot while lush green bursts overhead. A constant visual feast was laid before me, of foliage in transition — rewarding my hungry eyes with their richness of colour, texture, pattern, line, substance.

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This manifestation of minute stages of life and death in jungle foliage — everyday, every instant — gives cause to ponder the parallels in all of life. Constant change, parched decay and lush renewal — seems somehow so intense and present in the jungle. Yet this same phenomena occur in all creation with nothing on earth remaining static. We witness in this jungle foliage, all the phases of life’s evolution: birth with its lush and hearty vitality, life with the waning progression of physical age — drying, wrinkling, disease … birth, life, death.

 

 

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Costa Rica: A Narrow Escape

 

It came as no surprise that I had been bitten by a tick and had the tick disease – Lyme or some other debilitating ailment. After all, I was living in the Costa Rican jungle with 13 animals, 4 of which had tested positive for Ehrlichiosis, another tick disease. It had been a particularly dry dry season and the ticks were partying wildly out there in the dense flora, or so I thought. Then I heard that a house could actually blossom with a tick infestation — started by one pregnant tick that dropped off an animal in the house. She could lay 1000 eggs in a house. It seemed ticks were partying wildly inside my home. Tick disease is no joke — I knew people who had it, and it messes with every aspect of a person’s body and life. I did not want it, and here I had it.

We had been removing ticks from dogs for over a month when I saw a small, somewhat painful lump on my stomach. I mean really small, minuscule would be the best word to describe what I saw. But — I reasoned to myself — those 1000 newborn ticks would be infinitesimal in size. A full grown tick is only the size of a match head. I dug at the thing with my inept tweezers, trying to remove it from my flesh. I could still see a tiny something sticking out from my flesh, and — did I just see it move!? Some of the ticks we removed from the dogs were alive and their creepy little arms and legs would wave around as you transported them, via tweezers, to the drowning jar. ‘Help, help’ — they would seem to be pleading for their lives. I even saw one climb out of the water and up the inside wall of the jar. It very nearly escaped before being plunged back into the drink. We were merciless in the elimination of every tick we encountered imbedded in the flesh of our charges. Still, four out of five dogs tested positive for Ehrlichiosis disease. And the fifth had been on antibiotics for it during the time the others were acquiring it. Nothing like a jungle dog to keep you busy and broke.

But the dogs were all on their prescribed meds. Surely our home was not beset by an infestation and my imagination had simply been overly sensitized by this month-long tick debacle. I put a small bandaid with ointment onto the wound I had created with the tweezers, and said nothing to Aaron, my partner in this jungle enterprise. I only needed his help to tend to the five puncture holes left in my back when one of the eight cats in our care, all supposedly domestic cats but clearly with a measure of insanity thrown in, flung herself at my back for no apparent reason, and clung on with the claws of one paw as her weight dragged her downwards. The tick I would keep to myself.

A day or so passed and it was time to change my bandaids. I yanked them all off and jumped into the shower. Drying off, I was horrified to spot in the mirror a rosy circle around the tick wound! Immediately I checked google for Lyme disease images and, sure enough, my rosy circle looked exactly like the one in the photograph. Well, it was no real surprise — did I really think I was going to come out of this tick fiasco unscathed? And was this house actually a festering breeding ground of near-invisible baby ticks, all skittering around famished for a blood meal? I flew into a whirlwind of panicked brainwork: Where was the closest doctor? How would I get there? Carless, we were a 20 minute walk on a rough jungle road, just to the bus stop. The bus system is notoriously unreliable; a taxi — or a person with a rust bucket vehicle who needs money — is notoriously pricey. I phoned the local medico and spoke in broken Spanish while the receptionist replied in broken English. After telling him my dilemma he said, ‘Oh, you have the tick out? Then don’t worry, it’s all okay now’. He must have missed the part about the red circular rash though I repeated it several times. It actually seemed that he had no interest in understanding what was happening with this pesky extrañjero who was intruding upon his day, nor did he seem compelled to even pretend to possess a hair of empathy for her circumstances. I convinced the man to book me an appointment with the doctor for the next day, composing in my mind a lecture on the possibility that he was temperamentally unsuited for his current vocation.

I had been periodically checking the site where the tiny perpetrator had infected me. At one point I wondered if the red rash wasn’t fading a tiny bit. A bit later I was examining the offending spot in the bathroom mirror when my eyes happened to fall on the claw wounds. Hm. Did they seem to have red rings around them also? Was it possible to get tick disease from the claws of an infected cat? My mind reeled with the mystery of it all. Could I have multiple tick infections; was I a seething hotbed of Lyme disease or Ehrlichiosis?

As the clouds of mystery slowly dissipated and the solution dawned brightly, sheepish relief flooded over me like a tidal wave. The bandaids — purchased here in Costa Rica and clearly made with some caustic type of glue — had caused the red rings! I didn’t have Lyme disease! Our home was not infested! The sky opened up and angels appeared, singing on high — some were even tooting on those horns that you see in the religious pictures. I had had tick disease and I was cured!

 

 

Note: This story is dedicated to my friends who do/did have tick disease — I wish the cure was this simple for them.

Costa Rica: By Night …

 

Shuffling groggily to and from el baño with my flashlight is a nightly event in our Costa Rican Tico casa. Not wanting any surprises from unknown creatures under my bare feet — cockroaches, geckoes, whatever — I shine it on the floor before stepping out of bed. I had been increasingly aware of a resident gecko or two on the ceiling of our bedroom. Kind of amused, I do not feel unfriendly towards them and their seemingly random chirping. Yet, I had come to consider the possibility of a gecko falling on me in the night while I slept, or — perhaps worse — pooping on me. I have been known to awaken from sleep to find myself snoring lightly with my mouth open — yuch, what a revolting possibility this brings to mind! It was with this thought, as I was on my return trip to bed last night, that I casually shone my light at the ceiling and high on the walls in an attempt to locate a critter.

I was instantly startled awake by the appearance in my beam of a critter! Not a gecko but an enormous scorpion sprawled across the wall above where my sleeping head had lain not minutes before! The scream was out of me and Aaron was on his feet — it seemed in the same millisecond — well before he was awake. When he spotted the intruder, his horror mirrored mine. After all, Aaron is an actual arachnophobe. At that point everything went into a whirl — we decided without words that it would have to die, since there was no safe way to trap such a huge, dangerous beast. In a fluster of brooms and scuttling and tumbling and scrambling-into-hiding scorpion, and prancing and shrieking people — which I am positive lasted at least an hour — the scorpion eventually lost the battle of hide and seek.

 

In that moment, though relieved to not be wondering if it was on the loose, hiding in our bedroom and no longer having to elude the creature, I felt quite ashamed and sorry. (In our defence, we had never before killed a scorpion but always caught and released them outside. This one was just so huge and daunting — and so near to me asleep in my bed. Somehow it seemed a particular affront to my safety.) The poor thing had no desire to harm us. It was large enough to be a pregnant female; perhaps she was looking for a place to have her babies. I felt sick inside at what we had done. Still I couldn’t truthfully say I was regretful. My stomach knotted with an irrational sense of self defence mixed with guilt, at having taken the life of a creature bent on minding its own business — feeding, procreating, the basic stuff of life.

But still — how will I ever turn off the lights or shut my eyes in my Tico bedroom again?

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The above photo is yet another scorpion that was encountered in our front yard, just steps from where we had been bathing the dogs moments before. Great camouflage!

Note: It should be mentioned that we have heard from locals in Central America, that the younger and smaller the scorpion, the more poison, therefore pain and other symptoms, the recipient of the sting is likely to experience. It is explained that a young scorpion has less control over the dose, whereas a more experienced one wants to save the lethal dose for its prey.