1 dog, 3 cats, 13 chickens, 2 ducks, 4 donkeys, 2 alpacas, 2 sheep
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The main thing we are looking for is someone to take the very best of loving care of our animals, both small and large. We would need a quick daily update just so we know all is ok (because I miss my animals when I am away and that way I can relax!), but of course this also means we're happily available at any time with information and advice if you needed . Someone with some equine or large animal experience would be preferable because of the donkeys, and because of the number of animals this might be better suited to a couple, but that is not essential.
The key responsibility is to take the very best of care of our pets, both indoor and outdoor. Our dog Boodie is a 3 year old beautifully natured female bearded collie who will need a basic couple of walks a day (more if you like), but usually we do this straight from the door for around half an hour each time (but it can be more if you like, or less). At this time though, she stays on lead when off property as she has not had a lot of offlead time due to the covid restrictions. We don’t leave her alone for more than 4 hours at a time, so please be aware this is the longest you could leave the property unattended. She is used to having access to our bedroom at night, has her dog bed in there, and quite often sleeps on the bed, and as she will be missing us then we would prefer to keep it that way for her peace of mind.
We have 3 cats (1 ragdoll and 2 very recently rehomed bengal brothers). They have indoor litter trays, and Candy the ragdoll goes out but does not stray from the garden. The bengals have not been here long enough to be let out yes, but this may change before a sitter arrives - we are going with the flow. They are very happy, love human company, and are slowly reaching an understanding with Candy! The (currently) 13 chickens and 2 ducks will need letting out of their coops first thing in the morning and put safely away at night, as well as a weekly coop clean. The coops are plastic and not wood, and so jetwashing makes this an easy job.
The 4 donkeys have a small stable and a field area, and we generally just allow them to come and go inside as they wish. Some light daily mucking out is needed as required, and obviously some feeding and watering. In the other half of the field we have 2 alpacas and 2 sheep, who will just need a little feed, though feeding of all of the larger animals is mostly leaving them to graze in the field in the late spring, summer and early autumn.
We live in an old single-storey stone cottage in a very attractive rural location in Northumberland. There are no immediate neighbours that can be seen and we are 10 minutes drive from the nearest shops. That said, we are not totally isolated as we are on a small country road and have a small amount of passing country traffic. We have 2 bedrooms, 1 ensuite with a spa bath and over-the-bath shower (which is usually the one we offer our sitters), and a separate shower room beside the 2nd bedroom. Sitters are welcome to use that 2nd bedroom once we have left the property. We have nice views from all parts, including of the Cheviot Hills, and if you love peace and solitude this is for you. There is a large grass area of garden to sit in, and we have a caravan that sits in the field as a spare room for watching the animals and the view in more inclement weather. We have a 5 acre adjacent paddock for the large animals and a 2.5 acre private wood, although the wood needs some more paths beating through it and it would need an adventurous person to do more than stroll through one bit of it! It acts mainly as a windbreak for the house, but is a lovely space. There are no street lights and very dark skies here, and so we have wonderful views of the stars on a clear night, especially as there is very little ambient light. There is a lot of bird life, and it’s a great place to be amongst nature. We have a couple of bat roosts, including one just above head height outside the kitchen. If you are not bringing your own car we can arrange for you to use our truck (license etc permitting). We have Sky TV with sports and movie packages and great high speed wifi connection.
Our dog like to sleep on the bed with us, and I know this is not to everyone’s taste. I have a feeling the bengal cats may like to as well, once they settle in more. We don’t leave the dogs alone for more than 4 hours so please be aware this is the longest you could leave the property unattended at a time. Mobile phone reception is not so good in this area (though there are a couple of sweet spots where you can get reception), although we have a boost box which allows some phones to work better over the internet. Housesitters would be welcome to use the landline and we could leave a mobile phone with a working sim if needed. There is no shop within walking distance. The small country town of Rothbury is 10 minutes drive away and has a small supermarket as well as butchers, deli, fruit shop, etc. The nearest larger supermarket is at Alnwick, 25 minutes drive away. There is no public transport near to us, and the nearest train stations are Morpeth and Alnmouth (both about 30 mins away), with the nearest airport being Newcastle 50 minutes away.