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February 4, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Housesitting gigs can take you anywhere — even a Sequim poodle ranch

Have you ever considered housesitting as a mode of inexpensive travel?

Last weekend my family and I visited our friends George Hastings and Celeste Bennett, former Shilshole Bay Marina neighbors who sailed away to Mexico a few years ago and then spent a couple years living, writing and teaching there.

George Hastings and Celeste Bennett care for poodles (and two horses) in exchange for free rent at this house on the edge of Sequim. They got the housesitting assignment through (photo by Brian J. Cantwell/The Seattle Times)

They sold their sailboat in Baja, and when they’d had enough adventure and blistering summer heat in Chiapas, their next move was to — a farmhouse in Alberta, a housesitting gig they had arranged through an online service.

From there, they moved last fall to another housesitting situation, this time on a Sequim poodle ranch, where we caught up with them.

Yes, from sailors and teachers they’re now poodle minders, caring for four big, smart standard poodles whose owner is attending graduate school in California.

In exchange for caring for the dogs, along with two horses, Alfalfa and Elvis, they get free rent and utilities in a pretty nice, big house (with room for guests) on a few acres of land in the Olympic Peninsula rain shadow. It’s just a few minutes’ drive from beautiful hikes around Dungeness Spit, with broad views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. They’re loving it.


Comments | Topics: cheap travel,, housesitting