Johanne y Doug


House and Pet Sitters Extraordinaire

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      *Reliable          *Resourceful

       *Flexible          *Experienced

  *Caring            *Energetic

hsa-graduates-badge We are committed to providing the best house/ pet sitting experience possible.


Doug is from Niagara Falls, Ontario and Johanne from Montréal, Quebec. After many diverse adventures and experiences we came together in 2011 and  continued to live out our dreams in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

On February 6th, 2016 we sealed our love in marriage, and set upon our new path together.


Crescent Beach Pier

Our Dreams

We are very excited about this new phase of our lives and are eager to find house and pet sitting situations where we can be helpful and apply the skills that we share. We find it very fulfilling to assist  home owners by providing them with the assurance that their home, pets and property will be well cared for while they are away.

We both have explored the globe widely and our acquired experience ensures that we are able to easily adjust to  a variety of situations. We are well aware and accepting of the fact that local comfort levels vary widely.

We strongly believe in community and we have a sincere desire to contribute in a positive manner to the areas we visit. Hopefully we will leave places we visit just a little better off than before we arrived.

We travel light and are able to work around your dates and needs. We prefer to over lap our stay a few days ahead of your departure to become familiar with your home and pets.

We are very pleased to offer pet care tailored to your animals needs such as medications, special diets, exercise etc.

Our Services

Staying healthy is extremely important to us both, we are non smokers and have no bad habits. ( Johanne does savior an occasional glass of wine with dinner and Doug really likes peanut butter gelato). We take enjoy every opportunity to hike and swim enjoying nature.

House sitting assignments in remote locations are always considered.

Our Past Lives

We have spent many long and glorious hours cruising the B.C. coast on our 36 ft Islander sailboat. Being on the water has taught us to adapt and to calmly handle critical situations as they sometimes arise. Doug is also a Canadian Yachting Association Sailing Instructor, and has had major offshore experience.



Johanne devoted her career to child care working in and managing Childcare Centers in California and Vancouver. Her calm and ever cheerful personality served her very well in this field. 

Doug  built a very successful career a real estate consultant and in management. He has also built sail boats, houses and was the Lead Surveyor on  Vancouver’s rapid transit system.

Skill Sets

Johanne, being totally bilingual (French and English) is also functional in Spanish; Doug is determined! We study every day, building our vocabulary and practice whenever the opportunity arises. “Poco a poco”.

AJoJohanne is very good with all animals and has lovingly cared for many different pets over the years. Doug loves taking the dogs for long walks.

We both enjoy landscaping, gardening, and Doug has experience in wood framing, concrete work,  simple finishing and basic electrical and plumbing.



Doug is a long time dedicated Rotarian and has had the pleasure of serving as President of two very successful Rotary Clubs. ” Being a Rotarian provides me with the opportunity of contributing to others in a small way, even as we live aboard”.

He was formerly a  Board Member of Big Brothers and Big Sisters in Langley and as a youth mentor was a positive role model to kids.


Our Introduction Video


Drop us a note and to determine if we are the best fit for your house and pet sitting needs.

Skype is also a great way to become acquainted.

References and Criminal Record Reports are available.

Cheers and Cheese!


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Our 4 Legged Friends

As of September 2017, Johanne and I have had the pleasure to care for:

43 dogs, 17 cats, a turtle, a tortoise, various birds and chickens.

Click here to see our happy gang.


We have certainly learned about a variety of breds and their unique behavior. We have enjoyed every opportunity that has come our way.

Thank you from our hearts to the home owners that have given us their trust.

joyful travellers

Of Pillow Tops and Coffee

Johanne and I have been house and pet sitting for 18 months now and we love every moment. It has its challenges but they a minuscule compared the joys we are experiencing.


So don’t get me wrong I would not change our lifestyle for anything. I do however want to share with you two things, that when combined, add a sense of pure luxury to any house sit: a fluffy- soft pillow top mattress and fresh local coffee.

Now we have learned that “fluffy-soft” and “fresh” are relative in nature. Much like: “no mosquitoes here” and “my dogs never bark”, these terms are subject to wide interpretation.

Let me paint for you my perfect house sit. The owners have left us the keys to their clean and comfortable home; they will be away six weeks. The fridge is full of fresh local fruits and veggies, the private pool is just a few steps from the living area.


The delightful pets are low maintenance and a joy to care for. Getting the picture?

Morning sunlight warms my face and a soothing ocean breeze ruffles the curtains. We are lying on a cloud, a king sized cloud at that. Down filled pillows cradle our heads. As we arise, there are no stiff joints or cramped muscles, our entire beings have been thoroughly replenished. Waking on a cloud brings a smile to my existence.

Into the kitchen we glide where the day begins. With care and attention, exotic local coffee beans are ground to perfection. By a simple process their richness is turned into liquid gold and my senses come alive with anticipation.

Pouring the elixir into mugs turns whole milk a lovely teak. The aroma is divine!!

Johanne and I settle on soft chairs and marvel at our surroundings. We hold hands and clasp our prized mugs with the other. Full bodied, full-sized (Vancouver sized) cups of java. Simple indulgence at its fullest.

We share our dreams and contemplate the day in front of us. It is a moment to appreciate the fullness of life. A life so rich that I ask for a top up! On many days it is served with a slice of homemade banana bread. A few simple pleasures have turned this perfect house sit to extraordinary.

I raise my coffee mug to you and hope that all of your future sits are filled with fluffy-soft luxury.

joyful travellers

A Tale of Two Geckos – The Book

Doug’s long anticipated book is:

Now on

Click Here

for Canadians

Click here

What readers are saying:

“This book is a must read for everyone desiring to change their lives and pursue their dreams. I’ll have to re-read it over and over again. These two courageous geckos did it!”


“I predict the Geckomana will take off as  the new trend after reading this book”


“I was just going to read one chapter and get back to what I was doing…I couldn’t put it down.
“Life’s Inspiration” written with love, honesty and experience. Loved it!”

Doug Book Cover


It is our story about how we transformed our lives and is written to entertain and encourage readers to consider the changes they would like in their lives.

Please enjoy our story and kindly share it with a friend.

joyful travellers

Celebrating Our 1st Year as Nomads

April 7th – As of today Johanne and I have been slow travelling throughout Latin America for 1 year.

It has been a fabulous experience- the best year on record.DSC03764


We have lived on the rim of a volcanic craterDSC01736 - Copy

come to experience wonderful Colonial Cites:

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swam on deserted beaches in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Ocean and in pristine cenotes.


DSC03812 We have climbed Mayan Pyramids and gazed down the throat of el diablo.DSCF4279




We even took a break to honeymoon in Cuba:


We have met hundreds of people along the way and have  nurtured many lasting friendships that we value immensely.

the joyful travellers


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Discovering Quintana Roo, Mexico

Although I have been in Mexico more than a dozen times I always find pleasant new surprises. It is a country so rich in history and interesting geography.

Currently we are vising Quintana Roo, the state that forms the eastern part of the Yucatan peninsula.



According to the guide books Chetumal was suppose to  be a place that was not worth visiting however Johanne and I found it to be most enjoyable. It is very safe and largely overlooked by the Cancun crowd.


Clean and quiet a wonderful malacon stretching for miles along the Caribbean shore.


How can you not love a place that  has a statue of Bob Marley?


Bacalar, Pueblo Magico is our next stop, a small town perched on an stunning fresh water laguna.


The laguna is 42 KMs long and fed from  below by two deep water cenotes.


Bacalar is rich with history from the days when pirates lurked in the mangroves raiding the Spanish settlements.

The Spanish built a fort here in the 1700’s which was later captured and held by Mayan rebels in the Caste Wars.





Great food and affordable accommodation are abundant.





Cenote swimming


We are very pleased that we took time to visit this often ignored corner of the peninsula.


joyful travellers

What We Do

In exchange for safe, clean accommodation we gladly provide the following free services:

For Your Pets

  • Love and affection first and foremost
  • Special attention to dietary needs
  • Routine walking and exercise
  • Lot’s of play time and companionship
  • Medications and vet. visits as required
  • Regular grooming with love and affection
  • Weekly communication with you, including photos and all the news from home


The Home

“We have found that a one or two days overlap at the start of any house sit works very well to allow us to become acquainted with your pets, their needs and your home”.

  • the peace of mind that having someone in your home brings
  • Always keep your home clean and tidy and in top shape

(Having both owned big properties in Canada and the US we are very a costumed to the habit of daily chores)

  • Pay bills and provide a regular spread sheet of your costs
  • Interact with staff and lend a hand when needed
  • Small repairs and maintenance
  • Manage any unexpected emergencies with your direction

And Property

  • Be present and ever mindful of security against theft
  • Gardening, watering and light landscaping
  • Pool maintenance: salt water and fresh
  • Be most respectful of your neighbors and community
  • Manage your rentals as needed


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Click for References

Please feel free to contact us if there are specific services that you require.

                                                                the joyful travellers

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Our Sitting Experiences

Our first visit to Barbados:



Tranquility on the Windward Side of Saint Vincent:

Saint Vincent


Saint Vincent in the Grenadines:

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Samara, Costa Rica -April,2017

Walking the dogs daily on one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever experienced.


Los 3 Amigos


LOS 3 AMIGOS- Zila, Zephera, Zulu

Put Samara on your must visit list!!



Celestun, Mexico – 6 days with Marvelous Beach Friends


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March 2017: This was lot’s of fun, a wonderful, Canadian family is restoring a hostel on the beach in remote Celestun.



Back to Merida – 6 Weeks

Jan., Feb.  2017: We are so spoiled by being at this colonial home within walking distance of everything that Merida has to offer.


The lovable Nala and Tesa


Mickey                                                                                                          Felix



On the Nandiame Road, Nicaragua – 5 Weeks


Dec., 2016: Heading out of town and beside the Mombacho Volcano. From here we were able to explore this pastoral country side.

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Bear, Lady and Mia Ling (a lovely bred)

and Little Risa





We were even able to hook up with House Sitting Comrades Jody and Nat.





Granada, Nicaragua – 1 Week 

DSC03294Dec., 2016:  A very quiet and comfortable home in a subdivision on the edge of the city. We were able to reconnect with the wonderful friends we have in the dynamic expat. community.

DSC03297             Sad Kitty


Lacy and Lady

(what lovely animals)



On to Ometepe Island – 5 Weeks

Nov., 2016: Ometepe is a mesmorizing place removed from the rest of Nicaragua because it sits in the middle of Lake Nicaragua.
We had a  wonderful house sitting assignment that allowed us to become immersed in Island Life. “Oh what lovely pets and kind owners”.


Cappy the Joyful Wanderer.



Ocho and Queenie


Merida, Mexico – 2 Short Term Sits

Sept., 2016:  We were very fortunate to have the pleasure of minding two families in the heart of Merida. These mini sits looking after  charming cats and dogs allowed us to enjoy everything that Merida has to offer.




Mucho Gracias



Playa Sisal, Mexico- 18 days

Sept.-Oct., 2016:  What a joy it was to discover this isolated corner of the Yucatan.

When we first contemplated the opportunity of pet sitting for 12 rescue dogs we had a lot of questions. How will this work, who feeds them, how do you walk 12 dogs, what are we saying yes to?


The Beach Crew

Actually it worked very well, Karen has done a wonderful job of providing a loving home for these beautiful animals. Overall, the dogs are very well behaved and it was a such pleasure to spend time there.

Thank you to Karen and her mom for sharing the joy!! Hugs

If you are looking for a very cool place to escape to, take a look at Karen’s vacation rental property directly on the beach. A more peaceful place would be difficult to find.

Our Friend Karen’s Vacation Rental


Merida, Yucatan, Mexico – 1 week

Sept.,2016.  We had the pleasure of sitting for our new friends Vikki and Carlos in Caucel, a suburb of Merida. They have a successful property management business and are pet sitters themselves, so they knew what is important to owners who leave their property to house sitters.

  • oscar-and-co3 playful cats
  • 1 lovely rescue dog
  • Oascar the rescue turtle
  • beautiful song birds


We were amazed at how much fun turtle watching can be!

“Thank you again for a job well done with heart and soul”

Vikki and Carlos, Merida

Laguna De Apoyo – 4.5 months

April. to Sept., 2016: As we were leaving, we found it was very difficult to say good bye to our newly adopted family. Yes, house sitters do become attached to the pets!!


  • 5 dogs
  • chickens, turkeys
  • birds
  • and a lovely cat

There were so many happy moments spent caring for this crew.

This is one of those very special assignments that will always be close to our hearts.

We hope to return often to visit with the wonderful owners and their pets.

Pica, Bella, Simba and Teddy the inhaler.


“We highly recommend Doug and Johanne for any and all house/pet sitting positions. Doug and Johanne took wonderful care of our 5 dogs, 1 cat, paraketes, chickens and turkeys while we were visiting with family in the United States for 4 1/2 months”.

Dave and Linda, Laguna de Apoyo

The Kind Words Others Have Shared


the joyful travellers

Uxmal – Mayan Magic


Gazing out over what remains of a once great civilization, so many questions arise.


Pyramid of the Soothsayer

Many of the answers remain a mystery today particularly what transpired to cause such a rapid and dramatic decline to this once powerful civilization?









Founded  around 700 AD the  Mayan center of Uxmal was the home of  approx. 25,000 people. It is said to be the most majestic of all the Mayan  cities. There is much Mayan mythology about the city once being ruled by Dwarfs.

I found it interesting that this center was built where there was no cenote for water as is the case with other site.



Getting up is the easy part.

We were extremely impressed at how well preserved and presented this UNESCO  location is and  our 3 hour walk about was very enlightening.

More Information


Getting There:

Uxmal is 65 KMS south of Merida and there are many tours offered stopping here and the other sites on the Puuc Trail.

Johanne and I chose to take the local bus from downtown Merida- it takes about 1.5 hrs. and was  just a few dollars one way. There is also a local bus tour on Sundays

There is also very comfortable  accommodations and restaurants just as you enter the site. Maybe stay a few days and experience this area by moonlight.


Make sure you put the ruins at Uxmal on you “Must Do List”.

joyful travellers

Merida, Yucatan, Mx.

Johanne and I have found this to be a very safe and comfortable city offering many enchanting plazas and parks. Strolling the tree lined streets we discover a variety of interesting nooks and crannies.


Street Performance
Street Performance

There is free nightly entertainment at various locations in the historical district where you can experience a real local flavour.

Every  Sunday they close off much of the old city around the Plaza Grande so that families can ride bicycles together.

Artists and musicians add to the relaxed atmosphere and there is great street food to experience.


It is a city steeped with culture and tradition, plus it offers a high quality of life to its residents and guests. We are always greeted with warm and welcoming smiles.

The city is also an ideal starting point for visiting the pristine beaches

dsc02339-copyalong the Gulf of Mexico as well as the numerous nearby Mayan sites such as:


“We can highly recommend Merida as a place to visit and enjoy”.

Hint: (It is very HOT in September)!!


the joyful travellers

Resource: The Yucatan Today is the best Travel Companion magazine we have seen. Great maps and current events.