It’s National Pet Remembrance Day tomorrow 5th July – a day to celebrate the lives of deceased pets.
With the rise in the number of people owning dogs and cats – more people will go through losing a pet which can be a very distressing time, akin for many to losing a family member.
A study by the Co-op found that more than a quarter of respondents had found their pet’s death as difficult as the death of a family member, and a third thought it was on a level with the loss of a friend. Nearly half of the bereaved owners were still mourning after two months, and 16 per cent were struggling a year later.
One way to deal with this is to become a home and pet sitter – looking after people’s homes and pets when they go away. According to a recent survey by Homesitters Ltd when asked why they don’t have a pet of their own – almost a fifth of homesitters said it was too upsetting when they die or they were taking time out after losing their dog or cat before considering a replacement.
For 63 per cent of homesitters looking after pets was the main reason they chose the role and for just over 70 per cent looking after animals was thing they enjoyed most. Other highlights of the job include time away from the usual routine, staying in different places and exploring the UK.
Alan Irvine, Chairman of Homesitters Ltd says: “When a much loved pet dies it can be devastating, so it’s understandable this puts off some people from getting another pet. Even the Queen was said to be heartbroken following the death of her last Corgi earlier this year.
“Homesitting can give animal lovers the chance to spend time caring for dogs and cats without the commitment of having one or the prospect of future heartbreak when they die. Many of our homesitters say it’s the best of both worlds and looking after animals was the big draw of the role.”
For older people especially who don’t want to take on another pet in their retirement or perhaps live somewhere that doesn’t allow pets it’s the ideal choice of flexible employment. 77 per cent of the company’s homesitters are aged 55 to 74 years old and 65 per cent say home and pet sitting contributes financially towards their retirement.
Yolande and Clive Noble, from Telford in Shropshire have been homesitting for 15 years. The couple were previously pet owners and their pets have included dogs, cats, mice and chinchillas, however, when their last two dogs died they didn’t want the upset of having to go through that again, so home and pet sitting provides them with the ideal way to spend time with animals, particularly dogs.
Clive says, “Being a homesitter is a change from the hum drum and gets us out and about, staying in new places. We also get our dog fix. We idolise the dogs we look after and over the years have met so many wonderful dogs.
“We also enjoy exploring local villages and towns when we’re on assignment – it’s just like a holiday with the bonus of getting paid!”