Just thought someone might be interested in our experience of using a local dog sitter to look after our two dogs for three nights - I've always been a little unsure how it might work - but it was a real success.
It was all a bit last minute & informal really - after our plans for the dogs fell through at short notice we had a recommendation from a family member & the dogs already knew the proposed sitter through meeting him briefly a few times before.
So - I sent a very detailed e-mail describing the routines etc and then he called over to see how things worked for himself. The guy came to stay at the house, looked after the two dogs, cat and greenhouse (!) along with the usual home security etc. So - for £50 and a couple of ready meals left in the fridge we had some confidence that things were being looked after well at home.
I felt lucky because my Mum lives just around the corner so she was on hand if needed (unfortunately she couldn't have our dogs to stay as planned because one of her dogs is poorly), and we were only away for three nights so it wasn't a long absence - but I'd use the same arrangement again if needed because we came home today to a pair of very happy & well cared for dogs.