We made arrangements months ago to sit 3 dogs and 2 cats over Christmas. The hand off was our 5th - and far and away the most awkward and uncomfortable. After a very brief first meet he hosts kept us out of the home until basically the moment they were leaving, informed us they burn garbage and recycling, had not one Christmas decoration - though they reiterated how much they appreciated finding us to come over the holiday, and actually turned us away when we walked from the bottom of the hill - thinking we could hang with the critters as they finished up their packing.
Our sit ends on the 29th and tonight they informed us their return flight arrives at 1am on the 30th, but we are “welcome to stay and put the dogs in their crates and spend the night in our RV”. Not the house. Reality is we couldn’t use the room they offered because that’s where they store open dog food, in a closet, and I can’t tolerate the smell.
We already have other plans and are feeling really blindsided and, truth be told, manipulated. How do we drive away knowing the animals will be crated for 11 or 12 hours? Why didn’t they say the sit ended the 30th instead? I asked what happened to the flight and tgey told me “Nothing. It was always going to arrive late.”
No host has done this. They always come back mid to late afternoon - early evening at the latest. No one has expected we would add a day to a sit they planned MONTHS in advance already knowing they were not coming home until early the next day.
I asked if they could get a friend to come because we can not stay. They said they would, but now we want a phone number to make sure someobe comes and lets these dogs out for water and a pee before bed.
It is stressing us out when we should just be enjoying the last few days of the year. We bought our own tree, decorations and gifts for the 3 dogs and 2 cats - but I feel very crappy about this one and do NOT like the idea of the dogs being crated so long.
Are we overreacting?
In the future, always ask what the departure and arrival times are for the owners, including flight times if flying, what time they want you to arrive at the home and when you can leave. These are my first questions on a video call.
I would suggest your leaving as late in the day as possible. Ask them what time on the 29th they would feel comfortable with your leaving and go from there. Do you have the contact info for their emergency contact? This should be in the Welcome Guide or should have been given to you at some point. You can tell the owners you’re happy to coordinate pet care with the emergency contact on the 29th if they like. Make sure the owners know you want the best for the pets and don’t want to leave them for too long.
Because of the lack of communication on both sides, if it means paying to stay in a hotel, I think you should accept it and learn from the experience.
Absurd behaviour, terribly inconsiderate of you and of their pets.
Of course they should have set the dates to the 30th and checked in at an airport hotel or something. Or chosen a slightly more expensive flight.
I don’t think you’re overreacting.
holiday decorations and burnt trash? Meh…people can live their lives how they want to
…but everything else? That feels so transactional to me…like literally, we won’t let you in until we are out? Like if their place isn’t set up to hold that many people, then ok, but I would also have felt slighted, especially if they didn’t disclose something like, “we won’t be ready for you until XYZ time.”
Moving forward, I really like @mars’ advice to firm exact departure times…If I were arriving at 1AM, I would plan and expect my sitter to stay through to the next day, but that would be made explicit as we discussed sit logistics before even confirming.
I’m also not sure if you did a video chat with these HOs before the sit? but I genuinely find that in both directions, they are extremely helpful so that you can see exactly what you’re signing up for and ask all the pertinent questions.
Maybe they don’t mind leaving their dog crated for 11 hours, and if it’s an overnight thing, I could kind of get it because the dog will be asleep anyway, but when they’re not even back from traveling yet?..mad sus and it kind of forces you to compromise what sounds like your own personal care code or basically be put into a forced situation that could have been avoided.
Sorry you had that experience!
How awful, at the beginning and the end!
People are strange…
It seems like common sense that Owners who are asking for help, should provide specific information for the Sitters. Sitters need to know what time they need to arrive, and what time they need to leave.
So often, it is like pulling teeth to get this information from the Owners. They have not thought about it, have not thought it through. This lack of planning, lack of respect for the Sitter’s time, can really leave a bad taste.
I really think you need to pick your battles here. Leaving pets crated for 11 hours is not ok, and that should definitely be addressed. They need to give you contact info for someone that will let them out before bedtime. The awkward handoff and not letting you into the house is unfortunate, but chalk that up to poor communication on when they wanted you to arrive. However, the no decorations and burning of trash comments aren’t really pertinent. If you write their review, I would definitely leave that part out. Hope you can make it through until departure day!
Crate use varies vastly from country to country. But I can say with confidence that 11 hours is too long for any dog in any country. 8 hours max if the dog is sleeping. I don’t use the crate during the day at all unless required to by a service provider. I would not start the sit without having the name and number of the person who will relieve you on the 29th. These do not sound like considerate HOs.
@WeBeNomadic -What time did you intend to leave on 29th? Awkward that this wasn’t discussed previously . However if you leave at 5pm (after first walking the dogs ) they will only be crated for 8 hours and if they have told you that they are getting someone to come and check on them then it’s not your concern after you leave. Take a time-stamped video of pets as you leave and send to homeowner .Keep as a record .
Whilst not this is how you would wish to leave the sit , it’s the owners choice and their decision so you shouldn’t feel bad about it or let it spoil the rest of your holiday - you are only responsible for the pets up to the confirmed end date and cannot reasonably be expected to extend your stay to accommodate the hosts arrival a day later than agreed.
You aren’t being unreasonable to ask to speak to and coordinate with the person who’ll be checking in after you leave. Let them know that their plan is not what you expected, and seems very unusual. Tell them that not coordinating on a plan with the person who’s checking on the pets, could set you up for claims against you if anything happens to the pets during the time they’ll be left alone. Ask them for the phone number of the person who will be checking in so you can confirm or to have that person contact you. Remind them that flights could be delayed. You need to make sure that the person will have access to the home and will be considered the responsible party during those hours. Explain to them since this wasn’t your understanding at the start of the sit, you’d like something in writing from them releasing you from any responsibility for the pets from the time you leave. If they are not cooperating, call member services. Also if they won’t put stuff in writing, you should put your understanding of their plan in writing, and your concerns in writing, and send that to the Homeowner, so if something happens later the Homeowner can’t claim that you abandoned the pets. Contact member services.
Let’s say the person checking is a neighbor. There is no legit reason the Homeowner wouldn’t want you to speak to the neighbor and coordinate with them.
I appreciate your concern for the pets.
I would just add that you may want to contact MS, so there is a record of these conversations about 11 hrs in a crate. Don’t delete texts/emails.
May you and the pets have a great outcome.
Thank you all.
We certainly already learned to confirm departure and arrival times in the future. And yes, we did a video chat. In no scenario did we EVER expect the host would arrive the morning AFTER our scheduled departure when we spent Christmas looking after their 5 animals.
The host has now said they have a friend who will come by to check on the dogs and let them out for a break.
We will confirm who that is so we can leave without anxiety about their comfort.
This has been pretty disappointing but that’s probably because every other host sets the bar so high.
Cherrs, and thanks for responding.
We won’t put anything about this in a review. That wasn’t our intention as it’s their first time. They’ll get private feedback so they do the sitter and animals better next time
Thanks for the update @WeBeNomadic!
I’m glad things worked out for you and for the pets.
@WeBeNomadic what a shame, I really feel for you!
You’ve had such great advice and support here already.
Definitely leave this in the review to make sure it’s addressed, or the HO may not realise this is an issue. You can word it as something that came up and was discussed with the HO, so that future sitters can get clarity on what HO expectations are (and if there’s a chance this will happen to them) — this is truly stressful.
As sitters, our reviews are for future sitters.
Re: intro/chemistry call - I confirm their arrival/ departure/ flight details with them first up, as well as confirm my details at the same time, then confirm in writing BEFORE I accept the sit. That way if HO change their plans they know they have to make other arrangements for animal care.
As for Christmas, not everyone is religious and HOs can’t be expected to know you want decorations. I’m stoked the house I’m in right now doesn’t have decorations - I don’t celebrate Xmas!!