After busy careers in the RAF travelling the world, the couple have settled into a quieter pace of life in the UK. Now in their early sixties, they
After busy careers in the RAF travelling the world, the couple have settled into a quieter pace of life in the UK. Now in their early sixties, they think they’ve found the perfect way to enjoy their later years.
Anita and Norman Prior both joined the Royal Air Force at the age of 17 and worked in the service for over 30 years, before taking early retirement in their 50s.
Having already travelled the world, the couple decided to settle in the UK but they didn’t want to be tied to one spot.
So instead of staying put they spend more than half the year in other people’s homes – looking after their pets.
Anita said: “There’s nothing nicer than a dog walking in front of you with his tail wagging!”
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She continued: “Having rediscovered our love of dogs but not wanting one of our own, we realised that as homesitters we could travel the UK, stay in nice places and look after other people’s dogs.
“We applied to Homesitters and after a face to face interview and reference checks were offered the role.”
Since joining Homesitters in August 2018, Anita and Norman have travelled all over the UK and looked after twelve dogs, three cats, three donkeys and a lake full of wildfowl.
They love the variety of their stays – from the peace and quiet of the countryside – through to short breaks in bustling cities like London.
It won’t earn people a fortune, but looking after someone else’s house and pets is a great way for older people to stay active.
Anita added: “We also like to keep fit and having a dog to look after gets us out and about, we love taking long walks with them.
“We don’t always look after dogs though; we had a six week assignment in a lodge on a large estate in Kent with a large lake in the grounds with lots of ducks and swans.
“Every day we enjoyed long walks around the lake feeding them all.”
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The couple have built up such a rapport with the pets – and their owners – that they are often asked to come back.
Anita said: “At the end of the homesit Norman writes an account of ‘what we did on holiday’ from the point of view of the dog and sends it to the client so they have an idea of what their dog did while they were away.
“We absolutely love animals and this way of life allows us to get our dog fix!
“It doesn’t pay a huge amount – but we do it for the love of dogs.”
Ben Irvine, Director of Business Operations at Homesitters said: “Homesitting is a role that suits older people in their 50s, 60s and 70s who have retired but who want to remain active, do something purposeful and earn a bit of extra money.
“ It’s an enjoyable job that comes with a great degree of responsibility as homesitters stay in people’s homes to take care of the home and any pets when clients go away.
“Benefits including being able to explore new areas of the country without having to pay accommodation costs, spending time with pets and meeting different people.
“Homesitters can also make savings on their own utility bills, especially during the winter months, plus they get paid a modest remuneration, along with mileage and a food allowance.”