2 dogs, 3 cats, 4 chickens, 2 ducks, 4 donkeys, 2 alpacas, 2 sheep
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PLEASE NOTE: MAY ALSO BE LOOKING FOR SOMEONE FOR 2 WEEKS IN OCTOBER IN ADDITION TO PUBLISHED DATES.
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 but not essential, and because of the number of animals this will probably be better suited to a couple.
The key responsibility is to take the very best of care of our pets, both indoor and outdoor. Our dog Boodie is a 4 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). We have also just got a second bearded collie, Willow, who is only jus 12 months old. She has been with us for a month, but she gets on beautifully with Boodie and the cats. At this time both dogs stay on lead when off property. We don’t leave them alone for more than 4 hours at a time, so please be aware this is the longest you could leave the property unattended, and therefore this may be better suited to someone who doesn't want to be a tourist. They are used to having access to our bedroom at night and have their dog beds in there, and quite often sleeps on the bed, and so we would prefer someone who is happy with that!
We have 3 cats - 1 ragdoll and 2 bengals. They have indoor litter trays, and all go out but mostly don't leave the garden and don't stay out long. The 4 (currently) 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 daily mucking out is needed as required, and obviously some feeding and watering which varies according to the time of year and weather. 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, though we are odd in that we vary which is our own master bedroom so either or both can be used when we are gone), and a separate shower room beside the 2nd bedroom. 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 and encourages wildlife and birds. 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 no 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 excellent high speed wifi connection.
Our dogs and one of the cats like to sleep on the bed with us, and I know this is not to everyone’s taste. 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 do have wifi calling set up. 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. We are not a 'Homes and Garden' type of property (difficult to be with all of our pets) and have a cosy and 'lived in' feel to the place.
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