Pet Sitters Blog

Dogs and sticks

polly_the_dogHello Readers,

This ball chasing that you humans seem to insist we take part in, is a tiring pastime you know, AND I only do it to please everyone, I don’t really enjoy it all!

Here we are barely into spring and everyone in the office is fretting about Christmas bookings already! So, here I am reminding you, that if you do plan a holiday at Christmas or New Year, we do get booked up very quickly; it is never too early to reserve a pet sitter with us.

We had a potentially nasty incident involving a client’s Labrador, this month, so this is a helpful hint to anyone out there who doesn’t realise quite how lethal twigs and small tree branches can be.

This particular dog, whilst in the care of our sitters, picked up and ran with a stick, he stumbled and said stick broke in his mouth. Our sitters reported back to the office that they couldn’t see or feel anything in his mouth, but the following morning, we had an unusually quiet and poorly dog, to rush to the vet.

A small piece of the woody bark had stuck in his soft palate, causing a bad infection and involving an overnight stay plus a course of antibiotics.

We always recommend that owners actively discourage their dogs from picking up sticks and also stones, which can lodge in the stomach, again causing real problems. If your dog has a tendency to do this, simply get them to drop the stick and offer a throwing toy or a tugging toy instead; always better safe than sorry.


TIM’S STORY (in our client’s own words)

Hello, Polly here again,

I thought you would like to see me with my 2 “best dogs”, Charlie and Tilly, we have a lot of fun, walking and playing when they come to visit me in my home!


Sue asked me to tell you about one of our regular clients’ much loved pet, Tim the cat, who sadly died recently, aged 18. This family has taken on many pets over the years, dogs and cats, all needing good loving homes; thank goodness for animal lovers such as them.

Here in the office, we all felt very emotional, on reading the words that are underlined, I think they say it all.

So this is the story of the lovely cat called Tim

Tim has been a bit ‘iffy’ for a while – I never expected him to make Christmas 2013 but he rallied and did, then I never expected him to make his 18th birthday on 11th December last cat_tomyear – and he did! He was such a little trooper. It has been a ‘roller coaster’ for a long time. I think I knew when I emailed you, and had already made an appointment with my dear vet, but it was difficult to actually put it down on paper (or email). My vet had known him from Day 1 when I picked up a batch of tiny abandoned kittens and some adult cats, on behalf of the Cat Protection League.

It was obvious Tim was totally blind, and it is why I decided to adopt him; he came home to join the family of 13 cats and 7 dogs! He has had a really wonderful and relatively ‘normal’ life – “he was just a cat that couldn’t see”, so he couldn’t ‘free range’ like our other cats, but on lovely sunny days, went out into a pen with large run (and grass) with a few other cats to keep him company!

But 18 years is a very long time, in fact, unbelievably with all his problems, he has outlived 23 ‘healthy’ felines and I shall really miss him.

Winter months pet and wild life care

Here I am helping Rosey with the invoices, it’s a dog’s life in here it really is!


We are very busy this month, as usual after the Christmas break. Clients are booking their summer holidays already; so, if you need us to look after your pets, it is never too early.

Don’t forget we care for every type of pet, from hamsters to horses and farm animals too, no pet too big , too small or too exotic!

This month I am reminding all my readers about looking after our garden wildlife as well as our pets. January and February can be very hard on the little creatures, the birds in particular.

You will see a few ‘Polly tips’ to help our wonderful and diverse garden visitors, listed below.

Provide some water for wildlife, a bird bath is good – creating a pond is even better!
If your garden is suitable plant a native British tree or shrub such as hawthorn, holly or rowan this provides shelter and food for birds and other animals.

Grow some native flowers in your garden to help local wildlife – you can use the Natural History Museum’s Postcode Plants Database website to find out which plants are suitable and which animals live in your area.

Put up nest boxes for birds or bats on trees and fences – or have a special nest box for bees in your garden.

Put out food for the birds – seeds, peanuts and fatballs in feeders, or on a bird table.
Make a compost heap.

Choose garden plants that provide food or shelter for wildlife, such as buddleia, sunflowers, clematis, cotoneaster, lavender and other herbs.

Collect rainwater in a water butt, mulch your flowerbeds, and grow plants that are drought tolerant.

Don’t tidy up your garden too much – old plant stems and log or leaf piles make cosy winter quarters for helpful animals such as ladybirds and hedgehogs!

Avoid using pesticides and chemical fertilisers – going organic is better for wildlife, and for you!

Goodbye for now, keep warm!

Hello everyone

dogWell, there I was chasing off a helicopter that dared to fly over the office and generally having fun, when I was called back to write this blog – goodness me, I really do work with spoilsports!

We are all busy helping people to get away for a Christmas holiday. This is always a busy time of year for us, so if there is anyone out there needing a 2015 Christmas booking, please let us know as early as possible in the year.

As the ‘festive season’ is almost upon us, I am offering some advice about the human food that you enjoy, but is toxic to me and my friends. I am sure that you are aware of the top 3 really toxic foodstuffs, but I have still included them in the list.


This contains Theobromine and is very toxic to us causing heart, central nervous system and kidney problems. We would love to eat chocolate, if we got the chance, so PLEASE hide all your Christmas chocs away safely.


I know some of our owners like to treat us to the odd treat of milky tea, however, caffeine causes similar problems to chocolate, plus we cannot digest milk either. All in all, it is much safer to let us only drink water.

Grapes /raisins and sultanas

It isn’t understood yet what the toxic substance is in grapes but they can and do cause kidney failure. No Christmas cake for us please!!!


Garlic and chives too, but onions in particular, whether raw or cooked are toxic to us. If, as some owners do, you feed human baby food to puppies, do take care that it doesn’t contain dried onion flavouring.


Although almost all vegetables are very good for us, avocados contain ‘Persin’ in the fruit itself, the leaves and the skin. If we ingest any of this, it will cause vomiting and diarrhoea, so please keep your avocado and prawn Christmas starters AND the throw away bits, well away from us!!!

Do get us to the vet as soon as you can, if we do manage to snaffle any of the above, when you are not looking. Some of us are able to absorb these toxins with not too much ill effect, equally to some of us they are deadly, even in small quantities.

Speak to you again soon.


Time at the Border Collie Trust

border_collie_trustWhat an informative and thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours I spent meeting Ben and some of the wonderful dogs as well.

I learnt such a lot, in a short space of time; Ben has a revelatory take on the behaviour and rehabilitation of these sensitive and intelligent dogs.

The dedication and care of staff and volunteers is a joy to see.

Thank goodness for these rescue/re-homing centres and for the wonderful people who give loving homes to so many dogs.


Hello everyone, Polly here again

married_coupleI thought you would like a photo reminiscent of sunnier days, now that we are into autumn! As you see, we also have yet another wedding, this time our lovely pet sitter, Kay Cameron is now Mrs. Harry Walker. Not only are we pets wonderful companions, we play Cupid too.

We are approaching November 5th and I have a few tips to help you with all my fearful friends out there, including Casper the cat, he hates me but I will win him over one day!

Helpful Hints for our four legged friends:

  • Create a cosy, snug ‘den’ for us to hide if we need to; make it attractive with treats or a favourite toy.
  • Close the curtains and keep all the lights on, turning up the radio /T.V. to muffle the loud bangs.
  • If we are trying to settle down give us along lasting chew or a Kong filled with healthy treats, to focus on.
  • When we are fearful, please don’t follow us around or cuddle us; your attentive behaviour just makes us think there is something to worry about. Also consoling and reassuring us makes us think that showing our anxiety is the correct way to behave!
  • Some of my friends have very extreme reactions; there are good medicines, obtainable from your vet to help keep us calm.
  • Any outdoor pets, in pens/aviaries, for example, it is a good idea to partly cover with a thick blanket and a waterproof cover to soundproof plus block out some of those scary flashes.

sues_dog_oct2014I hope this is useful, personally, I like to run into the garden, try to catch the lights and bark at the bangs.

Goodness you humans have some funny ways to enjoy yourselves, what’s wrong with a rubber ball and a tug toy, I say.

Have fun anyway and be careful out there!


Hello again to all lovely human beings and potential clients reading my blog!

pollyI, Polly, made sure everyone was working so hard in July & August we had no time for my news.  So, here we are at last in September.

I hope you all like the photos of our pet sitters who got married this year.  Who needs a dating site – all you need are four legged friends like me to bring people together.  All of us at While You’re Away Ltd wish our newly married sitters every happiness.

Just a little thought for you to ponder on; having a dog to share your life is like looking after a toddler that never grows up.  It isn’t for everyone; if you have any doubts, then don’t even consider inviting one of my brothers & sisters into your life.  But, if you enjoy “well disciplined” fun, dogs will give you great joy in return.  To be able to fully command a dog’s love is to build a loyalty that will surpass anything life can throw at you.

See you in October, I promise you.

wedding2_2    wedding1                                      Karen & Colin Price                                                  Pamela & Don Yates

A very late June blog!

PollyEverybody is very busy with summer bookings.  You can see, by the expression on my face, I have to do the filing again!

I would like to introduce you to Bob Maddox, one of our sitters.  Bob is a pet portrait artist (he is so busy with clients that I am still waiting for my personal pet portrait!)

If any of our clients are interested in Bob’s work, please contact us here, at While You’re Away Ltd on 0845 450 4999 or 01952 461020, and we will be happy to send details, including prices.

Bob’s Blog.

I’ve been working with pastels since 2005 when Belinda & I were lucky enough to live in a small village in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain’s Granada Province.  The villages, landscape and people of the region bought out the latent artist in me and after experimenting with watercolour and oils, I found that pastels were the ideal medium for me to capture something of the wild, extravagant beauty of the place and its people.

Working with Sue and Rosey at While You’re Away Ltd has given me the opportunity to meet and paint other interesting characters!  I work from photographs and my aim is to produce high quality work at very affordable prices.  Maybe you have a favourite photograph of your pet which you would like me to paint?  Please see some examples of my work below.


May Bank Holiday Update

pollyHello, Polly here again. The While You’re Away Ltd office will be closed on Bank Holiday Monday 5th May. If you need to contact us urgently please call the office number 0845 4504999 or 01952 461020 and listen to the message for details of how to contact us.

My owner, Sue, will be on holiday from Sunday 4th May until Tuesday 14th May.

In that time, except for the Bank Holiday, the office will be open and Rosey and Gemma will be happy to answer you’re calls.

While Sue is away I, Polly, will be going on my ‘Pollydays’ to be looked after by one of our lovely pet sitters.


Welcome to Polly’s Blog

We would like to introduce you to Polly, our office assistant!  Polly is a 5 year old Yorkshire Terrier cross Poodle, aka Yorkiedoodle.

She will be giving you our regular updates and news.pollyWe are entering our busiest time of the year where people are booking their spring and summer holidays.

Our home and pet sitters are out there caring for every type of pet you could imagine: from dogs, cats, chickens to horses and donkeys or even snakes and iguanas!

June and July are already booking up rapidly so if you would like to chat to us about our services call us as soon as possible.

If you have any comments, suggestions, information you are not able to find on our website please call us on 01952 461020 or 0845 450 4999.