Wilson and friend
Wilson and the long-suffering husband

Our main holiday season is coming. YAY! We have our dog friendly cottage booked – now all we need is the dog!

We took the decision with Wilson that, as he was geriatric, we wouldn’t take him to kennels. Instead, we developed a nice little collection of dog friendly places to stay (more of those later).

The other options:-

  • Care in the home
  • Care away from home
  • Taking them with you

As VNs, providing care in the home could be an option for a second income, or even as a full-time job.

What do you need to consider? Well, insurance for pet sitting is essential, and cover is available from a variety of companies.

It’s worth looking at the website of NarpsUK (the National Association for Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers). It not only provides insurance, but you can be entered onto a national list that allows people to search for your services – be that pet sitting, house sitting, dog walking or more.

According to NARP: “Pet owners are usually delighted when they find that their pet sitter is in fact a veterinary nurse, as you can imagine.”

Bear in mind that your RVN status could be affected by activities undertaken away from your main place of work, so I would see pet sitting insurance as an essential to go alongside VDS (Veterinary Defence Society) cover.

But what about the cost? Well, it could be £200-400 per year for an individual to apply.

Before you all shriek, there is a cheaper option! There are companies around who already have the clients and insurance. They just require pet sitters and like VNs (really, who doesn’t?). You still need to pay a small fee for insurance cover but it’s much less, and there may be clients all ready for you. It’s worth checking practice notice boards and pet shops to see who is active in your area.

wilson's biscuit
Canine guests at the Swan Hotel get a blanket, bowl, biscuit and a room tag.

You could set up your own business, depending on what’s available in your local area, but that’s a whole other blog post – as is buying or setting up kennels or catteries, but I’d love to hear from any VNs that have done that.

So, that covers care in and away from home. Our option was to take our dog with us. It’s worth checking for cats, as some are “pet” friendly. I’m not sure if you can book in with a llama, but you could take your feline friends.

However, on to us – long-suffering husband, Wilson and Little Blue. We use a NARP registered cat sitter who is CRB checked and trustworthy, has pet care experience and isn’t too frightened by LB’s face – so it’s all good!

As for Wilson, our precious boy enjoyed the following holidays on a regular basis:

The Swan Hotel, Southwold
You don’t have to slum it if you travel with your dog! It’s 3 minutes from the beach, in the heart of a cute town. The old bowling green at the back of the hotel has had beautiful rooms built around it. These are dog friendly and all canine guests get a blanket, bowl, biscuit and a room tag. Wilson only had 3 teeth, but he knew the biscuit was for him!

There are many dog friendly pubs in town, and lovely coast walks.

Whitstable Holiday Homes
We love Whitstable! However, what makes this website excellent is you can search for “dogs welcome” cottages. Other websites mean you find a cottage you like, then have to find out if its pet friendly. While there are whole sites dedicated to dog friendly holidays, these are often rural and based around having a large dog to exercise. As townies with little dogs they often don’t suit us, while this type of set up provides a much needed resource.

The joy of Whitstable is that it is one of the few places in the UK where the beach is privately owned, but with free public access. No restrictions on access to the beach!

Wilson perfects his indoor sunbathing!
Wilson perfects his indoor sunbathing!

So far Wilson has been to Suffolk and Kent. He also liked Cornwall:-

Gwithian Holiday Suites
All the lets are dog friendly, as is the local pub (about a minutes walk!). What I like here is that you need to ask if they take dogs. I find this makes for responsible dog owners.

The garden area is partially shared and all the other dogs we have met have been impeccably behaved with equally well behaved owners! There is also surfing – Wilson didn’t make it that far, but others may do!

So there we have it, holiday options… I would love to hear from you about how you deal with your own pet, what services you offer to others, are you a business owner?

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