Sometimes one email can change the whole perspective of a day. What a lovely email to receive on a Monday morning:
Seems incredible but we are now booking holidays in 2019. So please can you book a minder for us from March 26th to April 2nd, obviously flight times are not yet available but hope this will be accurate and I will confirm them as soon as we are given them.
I would like it to be either Carol or Roger Tucker if either is available as they get on well with our dog and it is nice to have someone we have got to know.
Many thanks for your help and we have always been very pleased with your service over the years. I’m sure not enough people say thank you but take it for granted. I just wanted you to know how grateful we are that this service is provided for us and give us peace of mind while we are away.
Whilst the vast majority of the sits Minders Keepers cover are for limited periods; a weekend, a week, a fortnight a month, occasionally we are asked to cover longer term sits.
These can be for various reasons, perhaps a client has a long term contract abroad and needs their pets to be cared for, their home to be occupied , their insurance cover to be maintained. Sometimes the sits are to cover a longer term hospitalisation or sometimes we look after a home following the death of the owner and then we are asked to stay in residence through probate and until the home is sold.
We never recruit sitters who are solely interested in longer term house-sits. Whilst at any time we may have two or three of these long term sits running they are still relatively rare and not only would there be no point recruiting on that basis we are also not looking to give free accommodation to people looking for a somewhere to live and so we always will go to our regular experienced sitters.
These sits often come at short notice which can mean initially the sit may have a rota of sitters keeping things going until we are able to settle into a regular routine and ideally then we would be swapping maybe two or three regular sitters over on a three /four weekly basis.
Often the homes that are going through probate need a little bit of TLC and I never fail to be amazed at the thoughtful support I discover has just been ‘part of the job’. I have had sitters wash curtains, fix cupboard doors, help clear garages and take the rubbish to the tip. They have shown round prospective buyers, kept the garden tidy and even ensured a cake was baking or coffee brewing so that they create the delicious aroma that help sell the property.
It is a while since we posted any of the lovely feedback we continue to receive and so forgive the trumpeting but what a lovely email to receive on a Monday morning.
We have just returned from a few days away and were lucky enough to have G and P housesitting for us, as you know. This is just to say that they were fantastic and we would very much like to book them, please, for our trip next June/ July. It should be somewhere around about 20th June to about 6th July: if it is possible for G and P to ‘pencil us in’, we’d be very grateful indeed, and we will confirm the details as soon as we have them.
We are so grateful to G and P for doing a really wonderful job this weekend. The house was immaculate on our return, with bird feeders topped up, plants watered and all the animals well and happy. They were kind enough not to mind our grown-up daughter being at home for some of their stay and she has nothing but praise for them and everything they did for us. We’d love to book them again as we make further plans for next year – of course, you will be the first to know!
Very many thanks,
Most of our work comes from recommendation and we are very booked up and that probably speaks volumes!!
WARNING for all dog owners & Dogs carers. Read on….
With the snow and ice expected the roads may well be gritted, if you walk your dog on gritted roads/paths… please make sure that their paws are washed either by walking them through a few puddles away from the gritted surfaces or by dipping their feet in fresh water once at home. Every year hundreds of pets throughout the country become seriously ill and in some cases die because of the rock salt and antifreeze being used during the cold snap. Dogs and cats walk through the substances left by gritters trying to clear roads and car drivers defrosting their windscreens and then licking them off their paws. Consuming rock salt can cause dehydration, liver failure and pancreatitis, while antifreeze contains the chemical ethylene glycol, which can be lethal when ingested.
I have recently met a new American friend at ‘puppy party’ . She was surprised in a nation of dog lovers that the UK does not seem to have the same dog parks as the USA, areas specifically designed for friendly dogs to be off lead play and mingle together , I think she is right.
Our new pup is making us re-visit many of the training issues we have gone through with previous dogs but one issue that we never seem to have completely cracked is how to stop our dogs running up to greet other people or dogs when off lead.
Our dogs are very, very friendly and see other dogs always as potential new recruits to their ever growing social circle. But not all other dogs are friendly, some are timid, others aggressive and indeed not all people want two large dogs bounding up to them, even if they do stop wag their tails and look appealing.
So what have we tried? Well hide and seek is always a good starter . We have a local moor which is fenced and gated so it is a safe place to let dogs off lead and we wait until they are distracted and then hide behind a bush or tree so that when they realise we are out of sight they panic and rush to find us. The theory here being that they will not risk letting us out of sight. We also do the ‘name game’, which involves throwing a treat and as they collect it calling their name and throwing another treat so they react quickly to their name and give us immediate attention. We run with them and also do sit, stay come, all to keep us as the main focus.
All works brilliantly until……another dog arrives!
We are re-visiting past training now and keeping them on the lead until we reach the dog and we give permission to play and just hope that works, but any advice would be welcome
The final note is that of course sitters always keep dogs on lead unless we have had specific written permission and therefore these sort of issues rarely crop up when house sitting
Minders Keepers would like to wish all our clients and sitters a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
From 4pm on 22nd December until 9am on 2nd January Minders Keepers will be operating on emergency cover. Phone messages will be collected on a daily basis on 01763 262102
Emails will be checked every couple of days.
All sitters have emergency numbers which will be covered 24/7
One of our clients is hosting a Christmas event from 16-19 November (10.30am-4.40pm). There will be fine arts and other gifts available by local artists as well as seasonal refreshments. This will be at Gravelly Barn in Braughing, SG11 SRD.
Funds raised will go to two charities: Breast Cancer Now and Guide Dogs
For more information please look at the website www.gravellybarn.com
As Halloween is now upon us, we have been amazed to see a rash of images on social media sites as well as in tabloids of pets not just dressed for Halloween, but fur dyed/painted.
While many people may find it entertaining to dress and even dye their pets for a round of trick-or-treat, we would like to heed a word of warning so that you and your pets can enjoy a safe, spooky, scary night (but not the kind of scary that involves an emergency visit to the vet).
Please have a read of the article attached below that outlines potential risks to your pet’s health, and if you do decide to dress your pet for Halloween, please read the safety tips carefully to ensure you don’t put your pet in distress.
Following a conversation a client had with a local with a local gamekeeper in Berkshire, the worrying disease Alabama Rot has been brought starkly to our attention. The gamekeeper had just lost his young working Labrador to the disease and a second dog remains under the care of the vet on a drip and very poorly. The young dog had a seizure which prompted the immediate consultation with specialist vets but, tragically, suffered a second major seizure at the surgery had to put him down.
Alabama rot or idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) to give it its full name is a relatively new disease in the UK although it was first identified in the US in greyhounds in the 1980’s. The disease initially presents with redness, swelling, lesions or sores which can present anywhere on the dog’s body but are most commonly seen on the paws, lower limbs, mouth and tongue. Along with the onset of the lesions or sores, the dog may start vomiting, will suffer loss of appetite and become severally lethargy. The specific cause of the disease is unknown and there is no vaccine or recognised cure for it so it is vital that all sitters, owners and carers of dogs be very aware of the possibility of this disease and take swift veterinary action should you have any concerns at all. Untreated this disease progresses rapidly and can result in complete kidney failure and the death of the dog although, it must be stressed, not in all cases. Current mortality figure are 70/80% on confirmed reported case studies.
Alabama Rot causes tiny blood clots to form in the blood vessels which ultimately block the vessels and lead to permanent damage to all affected tissue. Prompt action from your vet may prevent further damage and you should be aware that this disease, although not common (103 recorded cases in the UK to April ‘17 ), has been cropping up in over 27 counties throughout Great Britain and affects all breeds. Kidney failure can occur as little as 3 days after the initial symptoms appear but, as with all diseases, some dogs react more rapidly and can be affected more quickly although the average from recorded cases is somewhere between 1 – 10 days.
From records collated on the disease it appears that 93% of all cases have occurred in the autumn/winter period from November – May and there is thought to be some link, albeit not proven, to muddy, woodlands areas. Current advice is to wash your dog clean of all mud after he/she has been out and to dry him/her well and to be active in preventing your dog from scavenging while out. Vets researching the disease have still to conclude if it is a bacterial or parasitic infection and there is a charity currently working to collate data, research and information. Their web site is www.arrf.co.uk.
So to summarise
Avoid wet and boggy woodland walks when exercising your dogs
Wash off legs, feet and muddy tummies on return from exercise and dry to prevent your dog from over grooming
Check your dog over daily for any unexpected redness, swellings, sores or lesions ( i.e. those that are unexplained and not the result of a known injury or skin complaint) and, if you have the slightest concern, contact your vet IMMEDIATELY for help
Be diligent and spread the word to fellow dog lovers
With prompt veterinary attention many dogs do recover so be vigilant
This disease only affects dogs.
We hope you have found this helpful
It’s that time of year again as the leaves are turning and the weather is getting colder that we naturally start to think about Christmas.
Minders Keepers already has a number of clients who have booked up their sitters but we do still have availability in some parts of the country and sitters who would definitely prefer to spend their Christmas with pets!
Sitters who decide to work over Christmas usually prefer to accept sits of a minimum of a week so that their decision to forgo the family Christmas feels more worthwhile.
The closer we get to Christmas it will become more difficult to place sits and we recommend that decisions should be made by mid November.
If you are looking to get away please call on 01763 262102, or email Jackie@minders-keepers.co.uk
Minders Keepers is currently looking to recruit more sitters particularly in the following regions: Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Kent, Surrey, Northants. London and Sussex.
The last few years have been very busy and many of our excellent sitters are now receiving forward bookings up to a year in advance and so we are keen to offer positions to more!
It is important to know that no one is ever obliged to accept sits. We offer sits and it is up to you if the location, dates and details suit. You meet the clients and the pets in advance and so by the time the sit proceeds everyone should be entirely happy with what is involved.
Our sitters are fully backed up with insurance cover and a 24 hour support line.
Sitters are reimbursed for their travel costs as well as receiving remuneration payment. There are no registration fees.
The vast majority of our sitters are retired people who love pets and want opportunity to enjoy some variety in their retirement. We find it is a lifestyle most sitters thoroughly enjoy.
If you are interested please call Jackie Bullen on 01763 262102
It has been quite awhile since we posted any feedback but three lovely emails all received this morning have prompted a reminder!
Just to let you know we were delighted that Cathy sat for us. Everything went very well and Cathy tells us that she enjoyed being here. She had an area wide power cut to deal with which was a nuisance for her, but she coped extremely well!
We would gladly ask her again and we told her that we would, where possible,try to ascertain when she is free and make our arrangements around her availability before calling you to book her.
Please let her know how very pleased we are to have found her through you.
T and H
I hope you enjoyed your few days off.
Thank you so much for sending Nova to us, she was so
good with Toby we could tell straight away that we would have no worries
about leaving her in our house, she was very caring and confident and a lovely lady.
I will be in touch at a later date to hopefully book her for next year.
I just wanted to drop you a quick line to tell you that Bobby did a brilliant job. Jasmin, the timid one, was obviously very happy and totally relaxed with her.
Bobby also sent me a couple of messages and photos whilst we were away which gave me reassurance that there were no problems with Jasmin. This was very thoughtful of her and very much appreciated.
Whilst I have not yet decided on the final details for my next holiday, I have given Bobby provisional dates in May/early June 2018 and I will contact you when I firm up the details.
Many thanks again to you and Bobby.
Have just received this message from a client after a recent sit: ‘
Over and above the call of duty and 11/10 for lateral thinking: Potter has damaged a couple of pads on his L fore paw. Was still licking them despite the No Lick stuff from the vet. She took a couple of pics and cycled over to the vet to show him. Then went into one of the charity shops and got a baby gro to make a pair of bootees. Isn’t that brilliant? He now limps dramatically but fingers crossed the pads will heal.
She is also happy to do the Autumn sit. Hurray.
All the best C.
This week I visited a client in Hertfordshire who had five rescue dogs. It was an absolute joy to spend a little time and see these dogs revelling at home. Each had a sad background and it has made a deep impact dwelling on the appalling cruelty humans can inflict on these wonderful animals but also to see how well each of them has recovered and are now repaying the love they have been shown.
Little Pablo the most recent arrival just two months on was snuggling on the sofa as we arrived, but then shooting round the garden revelling in his new found freedom.
I often take calls from people who have recently lost a pet and are hating the new silence of their home without their dog or cat, but don’t feel they can cope with going through the ‘puppy/kitten’ phase again.
It is worth considering rescue pets. These dogs came through the charity Many Tears who mostly home dogs but also some cats. The website link: http://www.manytearsrescue.org
We have just started using PitPat a clever little accessory which essentially we use to check that our beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback Nancy is getting the correct amount of exercise. She has been starting to bulk up a little and we wondered whether that is natural filling out with her age or whether she might be putting on more weight than she should (she isn’t!)
We originally saw this on the TV programme Dragon’s Den and were intrigued. The device fits onto a dog’s collar and then links to a simple ap which we now check daily.
It could be quite interesting for some of our clients to check that their dogs get enough exercise, especially as most sitters will be walking dogs on leads and thus limiting some of the free running. Indeed Nancy has just finished being in season and it is far more difficult to walk her without exciting all the male dogs in the vicinity over the long three weeks so it has been very useful to check that our garden play has been sufficient.
Minders Keepers is run from an office in the family home so our dog is rarely on her own for too long, (she often joins me in the office) but it also helps to know that she doesn’t go mad with anxiety when she is left alone.
We would be very interested to know of other useful pet aids to pass on ?
Almost everyone who owns dogs or cares for dogs through Minders Keepers knows we are very cautious about letting dogs off lead under our stewardship.
Having just this morning come across a beautiful dog who had escaped it’s owner and was running free made me even more sure that this is the right policy. Poor thing was obviously very nervous and darted across the road and then ran a loop around the road. Fortunately the two cars that happened upon us were driving carefully and were able slow down and avoid ‘Dixie’.
It took quite some time and several treats to tempt Dixie into our secure garden. The next issue was calling the owner. Her collar tag provided her name and landline number but there was no reply. There was no mobile number and we could only assume her owner was out looking for her.
It took several of us to find the frantic owner and reunite them. Had the tag had a mobile number too this could have been resolved far sooner and with less stress for all, including Dixie! It certainly made me double check that our dog’s tag includes our mobile number
Spent a long day last week travelling down to Devon to meet three new recruits. Despite severe hold-ups on the M25, a four car collision on the A303 which closed the road in both directions and sat nav directions which led down a long unmade country road to a farm we still made it on time!
Delighted to meet three delightful people. I am confident they will be another real asset to Minders Keepers.
We believe it is so important to meet face to face. To have the opportunity of explaining in detail how we operate and what we expect. It is also important that we can assess any sitter we want to recruit thoroughly. At the end of the day we know the job involves responsibility for our clients homes and pets and it still shocks me that people can trust their most treasured possessions to someone that has simply signed up to an internet list
Anyone who knows us at Minders Keepers will know we are very risk averse. It is a huge responsibility looking after someone’s home, let alone their precious pets and we take that very seriously
The risks of house-sitting are two way. Not only are we acutely aware of the responsibility we bear to our clients but also aware of the responsibility to our sitters.
With this in mind we come to the issues of walking dogs. We tend to prefer our sitters to always keep dogs on leads. We have to bear in mind that whilst dogs might return obediently for their owners, there is no guarantee that they will do the same for the temporary sitters and the thought of a client returning from a wonderful holiday to find their dog has run away, been in a fight or run over doesn’t bear thinking about. Of course it is a client’s prerogative to opt that the sitters do let the dog off lead but the vast majority feel this is a sensible approach. Lots of ball play and extendible leads can usually provide the necessary exercise.
The difficulty can come when we are dealing with a dog, or dogs who pull hard on the lead. Constant pulling can cause considerable strain, and sudden unexpected tugs can be worse. Most of us at one time or another ill have had a sudden pull that can literally jerk us off our feet. Even small dogs can be remarkably strong when a squirrel or rabbit crosses the path.
We recently had a call from a sitter who had returned from a horrendous walk where every ‘trigger’ possible had come up. Her charge was highly excitable and she was exhausted and aching. The solution it appeared was the halite! The client had one but had not mentioned it, although it was obviously a regular walking aid.
Halties tend to use the dog’s strength against itself and tug the head to the side whilst closing the jaw. A simple but effective tool.
Our own dog is a 36k Rhodesian Ridgeback. Gorgeous, but young and often excitable, we have found the halite has been a kind but efficient way of reducing pulling and allow walks to be just pleasure. We would be interested in your thoughts and pleased to post any advice sitters or clients may have
For anyone who hasn’t already tapped into this amazing programme it is worth catching up. The relationship between us and our dogs closely examined
It’s funny how one immediately can tell when our dog has been up to mischief. Last night she managed to pull the bin over and have a delightful rummage around. This morning this was our greeting
So delighted to receive two beautiful Christmas bouquets . They are brightening up my home for Christmas but also means so much, I will enjoy every minute of looking at them. May I wish everyone a very happy Christmas and thank-you so much
Just love this photo the wise men at the manger followed on by beautiful cat owned by one of our clients
Just forwarding this request to anyone who might have an interesting training issue they would like to share:
From: Rachel Keenan <email@example.com>
Subject: Casting for a NEW TV SHOW ABOUT PETS!
I am a producer at Plimsoll Productions, an independent TV production company based in Bristol. We are about to start producing a new series for a major UK terrestrial broadcaster and we are on the hunt for animal lovers all over the UK.
The programme will follow fun families as they are taught to train their household pets amazing and unexpected tricks. The show is very light hearted, educational and family friendly. We have 2 very experienced animal behaviourists on board. They will meet the families and their pets, set a training scheme and mentor their family through the training process.
We will be filming the series at the beginning of next year and would be really keen to hear from any of your members (or their friends or family!) who might like to take part in the programme. It should be really great fun, for both the pets and their people!
We are particularly looking for people who want to train their pet for a specific reason – perhaps Mom is tired of tidying up the house every evening and could use some canine assistance with picking up her kids’ toys. We could even train an animal to be a ring bearer at a wedding! Our experts have already successfully taught household pets to do all kinds of super tasks such as loading and unloading the washing machine, wake up the kids on an alarm or bring the TV remote when asked. They love a challenge and will do their best to train anything and everything that pet owners can come up with!
If you think that this is something that you might be able to help us publicize, please let me know and I’ll send over the flyer. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Very best wishes,
Casting AP l Teach My Pet
Tel: 44 (0) 117-307-2300
Registered Company No. 8519094
One of our clients is a talented musician and an avid Greyhound lover, I attach her letter and encourage downloads:
It’s that time again! Christmas is looming and I have put together a short slide show video to go with the song ‘This Year’. I am planning to donate profits to Birmingham Greyhound Protection in light of their rescue of the two beautiful black greyhounds from the China meat markets (as well as the many they rescue within the UK every year).
The song is only 99p on iTunes and Amazon Downloads so I need to sell lots to make it a worthy donation in 2017.
Here is the video and the links to iTunes and Amazon sites:
The world is changing and there is now a worldwide backlash against the cruelty in the greyhound racing world. Please download the song and help BGP rescue even more dogs in 2017. Thank you.
More of our beautiful client’s pets. Looks like they are all ready willing and eager!
Had to share beautiful photo sent in by one of our clients. Her dog obviously has expensive tastes!
First real frost of the year, what a joy!
As the weather suddenly gets colder thoughts turn to Christmas! It is always one of those times of year Minders Keepers has to manage very carefully. Many of our sitters naturally choose to spend the time with family and friends and so the available sitters can get snapped up quickly! We have placed a large number of Christmas assignments already but have had calls from some of our sitters to let us know this year they would be happy to spend Christmas looking after our client’s pets. We will try to place all of the sits by the end of November and look forward to hearing from anyone who is still to get this organised!
It gets harder to get out of bed as the mornings get colder. But it’s good to remind ourselves that one of the best ways to keep fit is owning a dog.! Daily walks are far better at sustaining good health than fierce work-outs during spasmodic trips to the gym. And a walk before breakfast burns 30% more calories than a walk after eating breakfast. And all of that without even considering the joy of seeing the sunrise through the mist!
We have some amazing clients and I have just received a message from one of them :
I will be appearing on the S4C ‘Heno’ magazine show this evening. It starts at 7pm and they’ve asked me to natter a bit about the book, about the inspiration (Zachary, greyhounds, autism) and we may even take Amber along with us, to show everyone just how wonderful and beautiful greyhounds are!
If you’re near a telly, do tune in at 7pm (and don’t forget to switch on your subtitles!)
As many of you will know after the sad death of our dog Abbie we brought Nancy our Ridgeless Ridgeback into the family last October. It meant another new introduction to Boo our seven year old Cat. Boo had grown to love Abbie and Charlie. He played tirelessly with Charlie and would nuzzle close to Abbie and fall asleep. New bouncy excitable pup was another matter and we had to go back to square one of gentle integration and ensuring Boo still very much held his rightful place.
They are now best of friends, Boo warns Nancy when she is trying his patience and they both nuzzle against each other with affection. It is interesting to see Nancy is very cautious and even she seems to know you leaving sleeping cats lie!
A little belatedly I can announce our ‘puppy’ has had her first birthday. Are we the only people to put up bunting and give presents to our dog? Maybe not, but probably the only ones who chose to drive an hour and a half so that she could visit her parents!
She continues to be a total delight and the only member of the family who never falls out with anyone!
Delighted to receive this lovely message regarding some new sitters, especially nice that the sitters loved their new adventure and sent a photo to show the lovely welcome they enjoyed from the beautiful dogs
I’d just like to pass on my thanks for sending us R & C!
They were absolutely delightful people, the dogs seemed to really like them and my house was as immaculate as it could be! C had even remade my bed for me, such a lovely thing to come home too!
I understand that this was their first sit, they did you proud and I would love them to be regular sitters for us, if of course they’d like to return lol.
Absolutely delighted to receive this beautiful bouquet from a client. Just for doing what we do!
Sometimes that special moment can just be summed up in a photo.
Meet two of our largest doggie clients the lovely Schubert and Alice.
Leonburgers are a delightful breed, friendly, easy going, and playful.
Our sitters reported they were commented upon every day out on their walks and often queried whether they really were dogs!
Dear K and V
Hope you got home safely in the early hours of this morning. We finally arrived home around 3am – it was a very gruelling journey, but we are grateful that they didn’t cancel the flight and the rest of the time was absolutely lovely.
We just wanted to say a big thank you for looking after the dogs and house so well. The dogs look very healthy and happy, and the house is immaculate.
Hope to see you again before too long
A and J
We have just taken our first holiday with our nine month old pup, what a wonderful experience. Cornwall is very geared up to dog holidays and we found she was welcome into most shops and restaurants (they even had water bowls outside many). Beaches too allowed dogs, along with dog bins and notifications for clearing up. Every day, no matter the weather she had a run on one of the beautiful beaches and met so many friendly dogs. This is a new experience for us, our previous dog travelled very badly it was never an option. Our cat stayed comfortably at home with our sitter Jon and was also very happy with the arrangement!
We hope you all like our new site. This is now tablet and mobile friendly and hopefully still provide all the information you may need
We love seeing photos of sitters looking after their little charges.
Another lovely message to share
We arrived back safely yesterday early evening from Canada. It was wonderful to see Molly, she had been up and down as I had thought but nevertheless pleased to see us and happy. Jenny was extremely thorough and we had a good de brief on Molly. (she had been poorly just before we returned).
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your recommendation it was really spot on – Jenny is very caring and understood Molly well.
We are away later in the year – September and all being well we will contact yourself again to hopefully organise a sit. I want to thank Jenny later for looking after and caring for Molly so well. She really was fantastic!!
Again, I would just like to say a big thank you for helping us to find someone so suitable to sit for our well loved elderly labrador Molly!
With best wishes
At nearly 5 months old we are delighted with how the training of our puppy Nancy is going. She will now sit quietly (if still with trembling anticipation) watching our cat slowly eating, after her meal has disappeared in seconds.
We now walk with a huge bag of ‘high value’ treats and goodness does it alter the attention we receive. In fact we have to encourage her to run by throwing treats..BUT she is so friendly she still wants to run and greet every other dog and person we meet. More to work on………
Someone appears to think she’s a human