A tribute to Harry

Last month, we lost beautiful Harry the Maine Coon cat.  He was a great age and had been a much loved friend of ours for many years.

Harry, you will be very much missed by our sitters, who had cared for you for many years, and of course missed and mourned by your owners too.

Maine Coon cat

Want to become a house or pet sitter? We are recruiting now!

Hello to all our blog readers,

our dog sitterThis month we are starting a big recruitment drive for house and pet sitters, all over our area, Central England, North and South Midlands and Cotswolds, in particular.

We need some single sitters but also would love more couples to join our merry band of sitters too.

If you are animal lovers and would like to do something in retirement, that is fun filled and adventurous, then call us for a very informal chat.

I have attached a photo of Joe Ellis, one of our sitters, reading a story to Monty the Labrador and Kay Walker, bulldog playingsaying hello to Marmaduke, one of the gorgeous feline friends in her care.

And who could resist our lovely friend, Jeff the Boxer, every one of our sitters, who has looked after Jeff, loves him to pieces.

Dogs, cats and small domestic pets are the mainstay of our service; however we are always looking for sitters capable of equine care too, some of the work with horses is hands on, some is basic care, so all competent lovers of horses and ponies, not forgetting donkeys too, please speak to us!

cat sitterSo, if our photos have tempted you, do give us a ring.  We would love to take you through, what is involved in pet and house sitting.

It is a lovely hobby job to have in retirement, and although it carries responsibilities, you are secure in having the umbrella of an agency, covering you with everything from insurance, to guaranteed replacement sitters, should you be unable to complete an assignment for whatever reason.

We look forward to hearing from you.

A tribute to Lily the Labrador

lillyWe lost another dear pet in April, Lily the Labrador; her owners Lea and Jeff have been loyal clients of While You’re Away, since Lily was a puppy, way back in 2001.

Dear Lily died just short of her sixteenth birthday, bless her she was the sweetest girl, as you see from the photo taken not long before she died; we will all miss her very much.

A few tears were shed by her regular pet sitters, they all loved Lily and it was never a problem getting our sitters to care for her and her companion, Poppy the cat.

We hope you are running around like you used to Lily, wherever you are.

Checking for ticks on your dogs and cats

black dog
All this paperwork to do and not even a biscuit with my coffee!

Hello everyone, isn’t it great to have some good weather at last?! I have been rolling around in the grass, having fun in the sun.

However, the long wet winter has brought an unprecedented level of ticks, lurking in the long grass and the woodlands, so please watch out for them. Do check your dogs and cats regularly and treat them with the preparations that are put onto our necks and shoulders, the effects last for a month and also mean that we don’t get fleas either.

Ticks come in a variety of sizes depending on how old they are and how recently they have fed, from the size of a pin head up to around the size of a fingernail. They are oval or rounded in appearance, and come in a range of colours from a pale cream up to a fairly deep dark grey or brown, and everything in between.

Generally, the appearance of a tick on your pet’s skin will look like a small rounded pebble, as once a tick has attached itself to your pet you will be unable to see their legs or the probe which they use to pierce the skin with.

We can contract nasty infections from these nasty little arachnids, especially if they are not removed correctly, leaving the mouth parts behind. There is a special tool available very cheaply from pet shops/online, it is turned anti-clockwise, (the ticks bury their heads into your pet by turning clockwise), clever little devils aren’t they?

See photo below.

ticks removal

Spring is here

Spring has arrived at last, so lovely light to have extra playtime in the garden and walks with our dogs, not forgetting outside playtime with our cats, who love to play as well, of course.

We have had some heart-warming stories during the past month, the one that stands out for us, here in the office, being the rescue by a client of ours, of two dear little 6 months old kittens.

These little brothers had been shut in a dark shed for almost the whole of their short lives but now have a new and loving home; they were clinging to each other to begin with but, at almost a year old, are now trusting and behaving as cats should.

I am sure we will have our sitters queuing up to care for them.

black dog

Dogs left alone at home

We have around 9 million dogs as a part of our family, living in our homes, in the UK.

A recent survey has shown that approximately 2.3 million dogs are left alone all day or in excess of 6 hours, whilst owners are at work. Here at While You’re Away, our pet sitters follow the Veterinary Association guidelines, never to leave the dogs, in their care for more than 4 hours. This is written into our Code of Practise and religiously adhered to.

dog_walking3Please remember that these wonderful companions have evolved, over thousands of years, to live and work with us. Until the late 19th /early 20th, century most dogs worked for us, hunting or herding all day long, they had a job to do. These days, they have become unemployed and it is up to us to compensate, by giving them an outlet for all that energy.

Some breeds suffer more than others, when left alone for long periods, those with instinctive working skills, Collies, Spaniels and Retrievers, for example.

Do research the breeds and try to choose a pet to match your lifestyle. For those of us who do work, a long energetic walk before leaving in the morning, will help to keep your pet calm, as will leaving the radio on and providing stimulating toys for them.

Best of all, if it is affordable, consider a “Dog Walker”, once a day, to break the loneliness and boredom. A one hour visit, will cost around £10.00 and will make all the difference to your dog’s life and to yours too!

Are the changes in winter weather patterns influencing our pets’ behaviour?

black LabradorThis month I am paying tribute to our lost friend Jet the Labrador, who died age 13, at the end of January. As you see, he was a very handsome boy and is very much missed by our clients, his owners, not to mention our pet sitters, who all loved this gorgeous dog.

Sue has been researching various articles about the change in winter weather patterns over the last 5 years and its effect on pets’ behaviour, dogs in particular.

Some leading pet behaviourists have reported unprecedented levels of depressed, unsettled dogs in recent months. It seems that ‘some’ pet owners, also suffering from the effects of the grey, wet muddy weather, have cut down on the length and frequency of the daily walks, which are crucial in keeping our dogs’ spirits up.

One leading pet behaviourist has reported a level of unrest in dogs, totally unprecedented in her 20 year career, working with pets, dogs in particular. She has even seen horses not coping with the wet and the mud very well, happy to be returned to the stables, instead of sliding around in the mud and the rain.

It seems quite a number of dog owners are happy to walk on cold, frosty and dry days, but not when it’s soggy wet and horrible!

As it looks like we are in for years of dreary wet winters, rather than crisp cold ones, this needs to be addressed before our four legged friends start destroying the house and asking for Valium!!

pet at home
I know it’s raining, but the magic word beginning with a “W”, is all I need to make me happy again!

So let’s remember, whatever the weather, our dogs need to “Get their heads down, sniff around and engage with the environment”, using their brains as well as their bodies.

We are enjoying some lovely dry frosty days at the moment, but please get the wellies and the wet weather gear out next time we are deluged!!!!


Hello and very belated Happy New Year to all my readers!

dog with a toyAt last we are experiencing a little frost and more seasonal weather is forecast, for the coming week; good news for the farmers and the over saturated ground but not so good for my friends the hedgehogs.

Poor little prickly pals haven’t hibernated as normal, November to March, I keep telling them, when I see them in my garden but they aren’t listening to me.

We have a big pile of tree branches at the top of my garden, for hibernation purposes. I am going to visit my friends the hedgehogs, during this week and encourage them to eat all the food we put out, because, if the cold snap forces them into hibernation underweight, even more of them will not survive the rest of the winter.

December was the wettest month on record and all our wildlife has suffered, trying to find enough of the food supplies, depleted by the constant heavy rain.

cat sitter with ginger cat

Our sitters have been up against it too , all winter; in particular, the farm animals and outdoor pets in our care, have been a real issue for us, as you would imagine.
Not to mention the ‘showering down’ of mud coated, wet dogs, every time they are walked!

Never mind, Spring is around the corner and hopefully some sunshine at long last too!
I hope you like the photo of Kay, one of our lovely pet sitters, with Arthur the marmalade cat; she sent us the photo from an assignment, she took this time last year, when the weather was as it should be for January.

See you in February!


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