What All Is Involved? Details for Homeowners…


Imagine going on holiday not having a care in the world, free to enjoy your trip to its fullest extent. Now…imagine coming home to find your gardens looking lovely, your pets relaxed and happy, and your home looking as neat and tidy as if the maid just came through.  This is the experience we offer you!

Carole Anne is a retired realtor, and a true animal-lover.  She spends most of her time caring for the animal members of the family, learning their routines, health needs, etc.  We believe pets are much more comfortable when there is a caring presence in the home, especially while loved ones are away.  We housesat in Canberra from 2008 to 2015 and lived in over 40 different neighbourhoods there in the Australian Capital Territory, each one being a unique and meaningful experience.  We really enjoyed the opportunity to make new pet friends,  along with their families!


Email or ring one of us – anytime of day or evening – to initially explore options and determine if we can meet your needs.  We can then set up a FaceTime or Skype session, if you are familiar with those communication tools.

We want to get acquainted with each homeowner(s) and their little loved ones in their own home setting.  We basically interview each other.  We want to gather from you, the homeowner, what expectations you have.  We ask questions and offer suggestions on the type information that will prepare us to manage your home and care for your pets and gardens. You would ask us any questions you want and would get to experience our personalities and general trustworthiness.  In other words, we would make a mutual decision regarding whether this would be a good “fit.”

If all concerned feel comfortable, we’ll confirm the agreement by email – some homeowners want that on paper as a signed contract – and that’s fine since we have signed several – but we don’t feel the need for a formal contract from our end.  We usually agree to exchange all of our services for free accommodation.


What we will absolutely need, created by you on paper, is your “Housesitters Handbook” — a list of instructions, tips & expectations for anyone doing your housesitting that minimally covers the following:
– Any necessary instructions for lawn and garden care and where equipment/fuel is for these purposes
– Anything housesitters should know regarding houseplant care, watering schedule, etc
– Instructions for preferred pet care, feeding times, pets’ habits, typical exercise schedule, vet visits, any necessary medication dosing, and preferred place to buy additional pet food
– Location of appliances manuals and TV operation; heating/cooling/electrical mechanicals special information
– Wi-fi password and downloading limits
– Instructions for mail collecting, handling (incl. a letter authorising pick-up of packages) and forwarding if necessary
– Who/where to contact in case of any emergencies
– Utility bills taken care of while gone?
– Expectations regarding basic house maintenance and taking care of any damages that might occur
– Notification to insurance company regarding housesitters being here
– Need the car motor started/driven occasionally? Notify auto insurance company if we are going to be driving your car
– Basic information (names & contact numbers) of closest neighbours
– Extra keys?


We usually make house-sitting commitments months ahead.  However, we have twice had an experience when “life events” cut a homeowner’s trip short, or even caused a trip to be cancelled because of someone’s illness.  Such events have taught us the wisdom of having Contingency Plans A, B, and C prepared which can accommodate such changes in plans midstream.  In one case involving a six month commitment a homeowner became injured overseas after two months, returning after surgery with only a week’s notice, so we needed to quickly fill the looming gap that opened up in our schedule.  We were able to do so, thanks to good planning.  In the second case, a trip booked months ahead needed to be cancelled due to a serious unforeseen major illness of the homeowner.

Sometimes a house sitter gets ill or has a major life event intervening at the “last minute.”  So, getting acquainted like we do is an advantage, even if the homeowner has already settled on another sitter.  We interviewed with a family recently who had selected a single house-sitter, but who later had to back out, and they felt comfortable enough, having interviewed us, to ask if Carole Anne could take on the assignment for their two young cats.  (It was critical for them to get this settled quickly.)  She was able to stay overnight at their place, while Clair stayed on at the other assignment we had subsequently taken on.  Carole Anne spent mornings at one place and afternoons at the other home caring for both homes and pets during the overlapping days.


A number of people wanted us to repeat housesits, which was affirmation of their confidence in our trustworthiness.  Their pets knew us well, and welcomed us each time we came.

PEACE OF MIND AT HOME – that’s what we have to offer you!

To contact Clair — Mobile:  216-904-5868  or email: clair.hochstetler@me.com

To contact Carole Anne — Mobile:216-905-2474 or email: designrox1103@me.com


Providing A Happy Band of Home and Pet Owners With Reliable Care Since June 2008



 Clair’s mobile: 216-904-5868

Carole Anne’s mobile: 216-905-2474

Clair.Hochstetler@me.com or DesignRox1103@me.com

Who We Are:

We are a smoke-free, relatively quiet, and tidy married couple, ages 62 (Clair) and 68 (Carole Anne) with quite a variety of practical and professional skills.  We moved to the capital city of Australia from northern Indiana in June 2008, primarily so Carole Anne could have more frequent opportunities to visit her sister and husband who live near Noosa on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland and because of Clair’s job in Canberra.  While in Australia we did housesitting for seven years in over 40 different neighborhoods in Canberra, with some repeats among a growing band of happy home owners and animal lovers.  This enabled us to live on one income in a very expensive city and still be able to travel back and forth to America every 12 to 18 months.  In 2015 we relocated back to America to be closer to other family members, especially Clair’s three young grandchildren.

Clair is a career professional health care chaplain (for the past 21 years) and served from June 2008  to May 2015 as the Manager of the Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care Dept at Canberra Hospital and Health Services. He is  now a chaplain with Hospice of Cincinnati (Ohio.)

Carole Anne is a retired realtor. Our children are all grown up and on their own with their own families in America — we have seven grandchildren between us.

We are open to doing more Housesitting while taking periodic vacations for a week or two in other countries (e.g. Costa Rica) or spending time near family members in the United States for short stints (e.g. a few days from time to time in the Chicago/Deerfield area) or in other great areas such as Albuquerque NM.  Contact us anytime to explore possibilities.

Links To More Background Information & References:

Click here for Clair’s professional vitae and credentials

Click here for more photos of Clair and Carole Anne! 

Click here for a list of references from some of our previous home/pet owners

Watch this orientation clip on YouTube if this will be your first time utilising housesitters

What We Offer You:

●   We keep your home looking very tidy but ‘lived in’:  You will have peace of mind knowing your home is safe and secure while you’re away.

●   Pets get great care:  Your pet(s) will be fed the way you like it, walked regularly, massaged (if they like it) and taken to the vet if necessary.  We believe that general pampering of the pets are important during the time their owners are away. Most importantly, your pet(s) get to stay at home where it’s most comfortable.  Plus we save owners a lot on kennel and cattery fees(probably over $1,000 for a six-week holiday!)   We have cared for various breeds of dogs such as Maltese, Maltese blends, Miniature Pinzers, Jack Russel Terrier, Shih Tzu, Border Collie, Chow, Silkie, Boston Terriers, etc; aa number of different breeds of cats such as Burmese, Calico and Persian –  and mixed – both indoor and outdoor, plus a variety of fish and turtles!

●  We properly maintain your home and environment:  Your mail will be collected, messages taken and forwarded if you prefer, and your gardens watered and lawn mowed. As former home and apartment owners in the USA, we are quite adept in dealing with any necessary maintenance tasks.  Be assured that your home will be very clean and tidy when you return.

●   Homeowners usually cover normal utilities and other bills.  Our services are in exchange for our accommodation.  We cover our own phone expenses.  A win-win situation for all concerned.

Where We’ve Been Housesitting All This Time:

We have enjoyed the opportunity to experience living in many different neighbourhoods and suburbs in the Canberra region.  Our first house-caring assignment was in Bruce (ACT) for several months for a retired university professor and his wife traveling throughout Europe who invited us before we even arrived so we had time to look for a place to rent.  That happened to lead into a second assignment for a couple from the suburb of Macquarie — and the idea that we could simply keep doing this!  It all unfolded naturally.  We’ve carried out a string of house sits scattered around Canberra suburbs such as Griffith, Red Hill, Isabella Plains, Deakin, Holder, Belconnen, and Campbell – followed by a two-month repeat assignment back in Griffith ACT.

We’ve interspersed our own travel each year for four or five weeks in Europe and America.  Carole Anne landed a house-sit once in Noosa for 6 weeks just a few blocks from where her sister lives. We’ve also arranged some short housecaring stints during our own holiday times in Australian places such as Maloolaba Queensland.

In the last couple of years we have taken care of homes and pets in Farrer (two different homes), Holt, Queanbeyan (two different homes), Harrison, Calwell, Garran (two different homes), Torrens, Hughes, Chifley, Duffy, two different places in Narrabundah, Theodore, two additional winters in the Griffith home; and most recently in Macarthur, Chapman, Curtin, Kambah, Aranda, Gowrie, Watson, Monash, Chifley, Lyons.

In June-July 2015 we did a housesit with two wonderful dogs in Naperville, Illinois, near Clair’s daughter’s family.

We are happy to visit & explore possibilities with anyone needing what we deliver: “Peace of Mind at Home!”

So…How To Get Started? Click Here For The Details!