In the run up to Valentine’s Day romance is very much in the air, but one couple, Jim and Ros Slaughter from Chichester, enjoy romantic escapes throughout the year for free by working part-time as home and pet sitters.

Home and pet sitting involves staying in people’s homes when they go away, taking care of the home and any pets. It’s a wonderful role for retirees looking to spend time together and one of the key benefits is the chance to explore new places and not have to pay for a hotel or B&B.

Jim and Ros are in their 70s and joined Homesitters Ltd – a national home and pet sitting company – over six years ago to do something a bit different but still purposeful in their retirement. When they were approaching retirement, they had spent a lot of time planning their future.

Jim explained, “Getting a part time job or setting up a business didn’t really appeal because we didn’t want to be tied into a routine anymore. We wanted the freedom to travel extensively, visit new places and meet new people.”

Jim read about homesitting and thought it sounded like an ideal way to combine their many interests. The couple are both very sporty and active. Ros plays golf and is an avid gardener and both of them love walking and they are great animal lovers. One of their biggest attractions to home sitting was the opportunity to look after other people’s dogs.

The Slaughters now have regular clients located in Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, Kent and the greater London area who invite them back four or five times a year. They have relished looking after such a huge variety of dogs which have included Alsatians, Pugs, Westies, lots of Labradors and even Samoyed dogs.

Ros said, “The pets are everything to us. We love staying in grand houses and we have some fabulous clients who are really interesting and lovely. Home sitting provides a real break from the routine and a chance to get fit walking the dogs. We’re very careful to be strict about the pets’ routines – no client wants to come home to an overfed dog.”

Jim adds, “We really enjoy the experiences. Homesitting is really fun but it is also purposeful. We can do it as much or as little as we like, combining all our interests together and the animals are the best part of all.”

Ben Irvine, Director of Operations at Homesitters Ltd said; “We have many retired couples who love the homesitting life. As we operate throughout the UK, there are lots of opportunities for homesitters to stay in new places and explore towns, cities and villages they have never been to be before.

“It’s the chance to go on lots of mini getaways throughout the year and have a lovely time together for free. Many couples are away over Valentine’s, as this is peak skiing time so our homesitters are in demand, but they could be away over birthdays and anniversaries, as well as Easter, Christmas and New Year if they choose to, which are very busy periods too.

“To top it off, homesitters receive a modest remuneration, get reimbursed for mileage and get a food allowance, plus they can make savings on their energy bills if they do a lot of assignments. With the cost of living crisis this can a good way to boost pension income. We’re recruiting so if this role appeals, we’d encourage people to get in touch.”

Homesitters Ltd are different to many other pet sitting agencies in that all their homesitters are employed by them, are fully vetted and insured, plus they provide 24/7 back up support for homesitters on assignment. Homesitters also meet clients and their pets beforehand to be briefed on the home and the pets’ routine to ensure the assignment goes smoothly.

For more information on Homesitters Ltd and to apply to become a homesitter visit: www.homesitters.co.uk