Latest news

Petrol price increase

Since 1999 we have kept our travel expenses to 45p a mile with a maximum charge of £45.00 for any round trip. This has meant sitters travelling further than our usual maximum of 50 miles each way have absorbed any extra costs

Sadly with the recent rise in petrol costs this is no longer reasonable and whilst we will always do our utmost to introduce local sitters if we are obliged to go further we will are now advising out sitters the maximum charge should go up to a maximum charge of £60.00  

Prices will aim to always be below £45.00 but in exceptional circumstances where sitters are travelling further it may go up to £60.00

Thanks for great sit

It has been quite a while since we posted feedback but it continues to flow in:

Just a quick note to say how wonderful N was. Having her here was such peace of mind. The dogs adorned her, the house looks immaculate and she even defrosted the freezer (which I would never have asked her to do). Just a pleasure.

PS – could you provisionally pencil us in to have her again for the last 2 weeks of August next year

And 2. Thank you so much for the house sit you have just done for us. I know it was not the most straightforward with a puppy having tummy trouble (and power cut on top of it!). I was anxious about Bobbin but you put my mind at ease and I know both he and Scrumpy and Newton were in very good hands. Needless to say all is completely back to normal this week.

The house and garden were, as previously, immaculate.

Thanks again

Alex and Maisie

This has been a sad couple of months for Minders Keepers we have just heard that Alex Goodman who was a sitter for us for many years has lost his battle with cancer. We send our condolences to Lynda. I am sure all the clients and their pets who had sits remember both with huge affection. This is a lovely photo of Alex with little Maisie who also sadly passed away very recently.

Following the rise in Dog Thefts

Dog thefts

As avid dog lovers we have been horrified by the rise in recent dog thefts. A north east dog  owner recently took the initiative to create an innovative style of campaign aimed directly at stopping the horrendous rise in dog thefts by testing and promoting strategies to prevent thefts and tackle thieves head on.

The non-profit non-profit organisation now hosts the YELLOW  LANYARD CAMPAIGN, that focussed on using SOUND, VISIBILITY and TEAMWORK to prevent and deter thieves stealing from public places.

Since it’s inception on November 2020, the Website, Facebook Page and Group has seen an exponential rise in traffic from concerned owners.

The website hosts a store in order to fund the campaign, and the owner is having trouble keeping up with orders as the demand is so high. The main sellers are the Campaign Lanyard/Whistle and a Red Dye Attack Spray.

The simplest concept of deterrent is focussed around many people having the YELLOW LANYARD AND WHISTLE worn and visible, and be able to respond as a group to any incident with a raft of tested strategies from the Anti Attack Sprays to dedicated WhatsApp groups.

One primary strategy includes the use of a dedicated sound bite code ( similar to the sos morse code) that can easily be transmitted by whistle or carhorn over a large area, and ahead of thieves. This can allow effective intervention from other “hearers” of the code. The code has a mnemonic of PAWS for Pause -Act – Whistle -StaySafe.

Beyond this primary strategy are a host of other strategies including how to form effective groups, theft prevention methods and equipment, alarms, Government petitions, and lots more.

The campaign has rapidly spread across the UK with most members operating in the Southern counties.

The website is

The Facebook page is @doghorngroup

The Facebook group is @doghornvolunteersgroup

The Facebook Theft Alerts group is @doghornfoghorn

An article that went viral that explains the concept well is here

The campaign founder is Nigel King

Mobile 07545695980


Available day and evening until 9pm

Dogs and fireworks

It’s that time of year again that many dog owners come to dread now that fireworks have arrived in the shops. 

Whilst it might appear to be good news that the large organised firework displays will not be going ahead but the fear many of us share is that many smaller individual domestic displays could occur and might be closer and unexpected.

The RSPCA recommend the following precautions when caring for dogs who are ‘spooked’ : 

  • Walk them during daylight hours to avoid times when fireworks are likely to be set off
  • Close windows and curtains to muffle the sound of fireworks
  • Put on some music or tv to mask the firework sounds
  • Create a quiet space where your dog can feel in control
  • Create some hiding places around your home


Jackie hello!

I trust this note finds you in good health!

I should like to extend my sincerest thanks for the most magnificent people who you so kindly entrusted to look after my precious animals and our home!

Steve and Kim are super amazing and an absolute delight.  Caring, kind, loving and attending to every meticulous detail including Christmas surprise gifts for “the children”!  This was so incredibly kind and very much appreciated.

I cannot tell you what a relief it is knowing that between Steve, Kim and Margo I could actually relax a bit knowing they were taking care of “stuff”!

Margo is tremendous as always, caring, loving and with a divine sense of humour that gives me the giggles! Margo sorted out “stuff” in her inimitable way and that was again so appreciated.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Another happy client

Chris Clement made our last holiday for us in that she was so utterly competent and professional as well as so good at taking care of the whole of Chaleshurst and keeping us up to date with the goings on there, while we were away. Everything was immaculate on our return and she had watered so much in the garden, as well as  doing some gardening, which we are very grateful for. Our cat was extremely happy too!

Shes such a lovely, lovely person and we feel we can trust her completely with our home and pets.

Please could I therefore request her for these next house sitting jobs. Both jobs include looking after the dogs and the cat.

Beautiful Belle

Once again overwhelmed by how cruel people to be to pets and also how wonderful. We received the email below from one of our delightful clients whose beautiful rescued greyhound died two and a half months ago. We absolutely know that Bella’s life from now on will turn around and she will come to know real love

We managed two months and two whole weeks before succumbing again! We drove to Sutton Coldfield, Gloucestershire and all over the place, in search of our next poochie and there she was, at the Newbury branch of Dogs Trust. We have named her Belle because she is simply stunningly beautiful. She was used for hare coursing in Galway so I’m guessing she had a horrific life up until she was ‘retired’. She is 5 years old and is very timid and nervous but we are hopeful she will come to realise just how much we love her and that we would never hurt her, although she does appear very worried that we might be cross with her a lot of the time. Whoever had her before, I hope they rot in hell
She’s so beautiful and so frightened but we are determined to help her overcome her mistrust of humans. Watching her cower before me when I am only going to stroke her head is just horrendous. Her life starts now and we’re going to make sure it’s a lovely one!

House-sitter from Hell

Minders Keepers has just completed a three week sit for a new client. The client lives in a beautiful immaculate home and has two delightful pets.

Before coming to Minders Keepers she had used an online agency where she selected her sitters from an online list. She met them beforehand and she was confident all would be great. She liked the people very much and went away without any concerns.

She returned to mayhem. Not only had her immaculate home been trashed, (damaged whitegoods, stained furniture, carpets , broken porcelain etc) but her neighbours also reported that there had been a stream of guests and the pets had been left for hours and hours when they went out.

She felt violated and lost all confidence. She had thousands of pounds worth of damage which her insurance would not cover. She felt she would never be able to go away again.

With huge reservations and lots of nerves she approached us to discuss the possibility of booking with Minders Keepers.  We had every sympathy with her experience but proceeded as we always do to carefully match her profile with the most suitable sitter and made the introduction.  At many points she nearly cancelled simply through fear of the same experience.

She has just returned and has called with great joy that everything looked immaculate on her return, the pets were obviously well cared for and she has gone on to book the next three dates with us.

Lady with dog


Pet sitting in Kent

This says it all, lovely to get away, lovely to get home and even better when all the pets and home have been well cared for

Good morning Jackie
Back home!
No place like home!
A note to say how wonderful Margo was at caring and loving my precious animals!
What an absolutely warm and delightful person.
I do believe the pets miss her!
Thank you for this wonderful introduction!
Kind regard

Dogs pulling on leads

As anyone who uses Minders Keepers knows we prefer our sitters to walk dogs on lead. Of course we all desire the perfect situation where we walk with loose lead and no sudden dangerous tugs. The bigger and stronger the dog the more risky this becomes both for sitter and indeed for the dog.

We own two large strong dogs. They are both gorgeous (of course!) but the younger one : Jasper is keen to meet and play with other dogs and so when we walk them he can make sudden lunges which are difficult to manage. We are therefore going to start trialling different lead adaptations to see what might help.

Updates will appear on Facebook and the website 


Minders Keepers Reviews

Copying and pasting with grateful thanks: Just returned from a week away, used Nadia and Donna from Minders Keepers for about the third time. So good to feel relaxed about leaving Tasha with them, especially this time as she had been suffering from seasonal allergies. No problem as Nadia takes such special care, not only of our home, but of my baby. She ensured her medications were administered immaculately and noted everything, she notified us if she was unsure of something (which I was so grateful for) and continues to always develop a caring relationship with our Tasha as though she were her own pup. We trust her explicitly. She also always takes lovely care of our home during our time away and allows us to enjoy our trips worry free, knowing our pup and our home are in capable and caring hands

(The Lovely Tasha is top right)

Monday morning

Sometimes one email can change the whole perspective of a day. What a lovely email to receive on a Monday morning: 

Dear Jackie

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.

Best wishes

Long Term House-sits

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.

old house with hedges




Minders Keepers Feedback

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.


Dear Jackie,

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!! walking dog

Pets in Snow Warning

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.

Dog’s off lead

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.

man walking dog

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

Christmas Opening hours

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

Christmas Event

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

Halloween Pets: Trick-or-Treat?

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.

Alabama Rot 2017

Following a conversation a client had with a local dog on leadwith 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

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

Christmas House sits

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 

House sitting work

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 262102Man relaxing with dog and cat

Feedback on Minders Keepers

It has been quite awhile since we posted any feedback but three lovely emails all received this morning have prompted a reminder!

Dear Jackie

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.

Best regards.

T and H


HI Jackie

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.

Regards,  P.

Hi Jackie,

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.


bunch of flowers and thank you noteS

Above and beyond!

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.


Many Tears

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:




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 ?



Escapee Dogs!

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 dog on leadand 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


House sitters in Devon and Cornwall

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

Dogs and halties

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







The Secret Life of Dogs

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


Naughty Dog

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

Cats at Christmas

potter-6th-jan Just love this photo the wise men at the manger followed on by beautiful cat owned by one of our clients

Is your pet a potential TV star?

Just forwarding this request to anyone who might have an interesting training issue they would like to share:

From: Rachel Keenan <>

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,

Rachel Keenan






Rachel Keenan

Casting AP l Teach My Pet

Plimsoll Productions

Tel: 44 (0) 117-307-2300

Registered Company No. 8519094


Music to Greyhound ears

One of our clients is a talented musician and an avid Greyhound lover, I attach her letter and encourage downloads:hero-front-cover

Dear all


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:


iTunes =


Amazon =


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.


Merry Christmas!


Fiona x




Gardening for all

More of our beautiful client’s pets. Looks like they are all ready willing and eager!pic-1

Dogs at Christmas

Had to share beautiful photo sent in by one of our clients. Her dog obviously has expensive tastes!chanel-shopper

Christmas House-sits

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!img_1011

Early morning walk

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!img_0999

Hero the greyhound

We have some amazing clients and I have just received a message from one of them :hero-front-cover


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!)



Introducing Puppies to cats

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!img_0931


Nancy’s Birthday

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!IMG_0889IMG_1575

New sitters Feedback

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 dogsIMG_1003
Hi Jackie,


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.


Many thanks 



Our largest dogs?


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!

More sitter feedback

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