When we go on vacation, we can't just leave Scoots to fend for himself. Besides the whole lack of thumbs issue, after the bladder infection he had last December, he has to get fresh water each day. This summer and during our visit to Cuenca, we used house sitters instead.
Side note: Greg and I are pretty sure that this is what we want to do when we retire: be a pet sitter in a
Our first pet sitters, Barry and Maxine from Canada, but live in Cuenca now, were amazing! We came home to Scoots snoozing away on the couch (not meowing loudly at the door like he normally would after time away); welcome back flowers on our table; bed made like in a hotel; and the whole apartment super clean. Throughout our trip Barry and Maxine had sent us photos of Scoots so we didn't worry at all. It was so much more relaxing to have them there.
Their pet sitting life is pretty exciting - they were in a coastal Spanish town for 1 month to watch 3 dogs and cat this year, and want to house sit in Australia and New Zealand once they can take more time out of Ecuador (for the first two years of their visa, they couldn't go anywhere for more than 90 days). We hope to get them to come sit for us wherever we end up in the future.
The pet sitters in December was a family of four and their grandmother. We actually exchanged houses with this family because they live in Cuenca. It was so much better than staying in a hotel and we could walk into the Old Town. The family themselves were inspiring - the mom and dad had been in the Peace Corps years back and now they manage their business in the US from Cuenca. They wanted the kids to learn Spanish so they enrolled them in a public Ecuadorian school for the year. All went well with our home exchange and we learned that Scoots can actually handle kids well if we give them some forewarning.
There are a few good sites for pet sitters (or people who want to pet sit abroad): we've used www.mindmyhouse.co.uk and trustedhousesitters.com. I've also just come across housecarers.com and homeexchange.com as other future options.
We're still looking for a Scoots sitter for our week vacation in February, but I'm confident we'll find one soon!