A question on Owners having a Vet Account set up

Has any other Sitters had to ask the owners to confirm if they have an account set up at their local Vets.
I wonder if it may be a good idea if THS made it compulsory for owners to have an account set up at a Vets. We’ve had to ask a few times for HO to please do this before we arrive at a Sit as of course it is so important should a vets emergency arise. There could possibly be a situation where the Sitter has to settle a bill for emergency treatment as the owner can’t immediately be contacted. This could result in an unneccessary and possibly difficult situation for the Sitters to fund the bill and also, worse case, any hassle in receiving the money back from the owner.

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What a good point. I’ve seen listings that mention leaving a cash float, which could be another minefield but the vet account could earn the owners a “star rating” for their listings!

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Everytime I choose sitters, I tell them they will not have to pay an € in advance, my vet trusts me and I warn him we are away and give him the name of the sitters who will be in charge .
In 2018, our first sitter experience (with Nomador organization) was a nightmare : the sitter went 3 times to my vet (not warning me, we were very far away, 12 000 km far in Perou), when I got a call, my dog was dying !! I had left a 44 kilos dog, apparently healthy (12 years old) and I found ashes on the way back. And a bill of 600 €.
I prefer to be sure sitters go to the vet than not doing anything because they can’t afford a visit or are anxious not to be paid back. In that case the vet could not do anything (sudden lymphom) but I was really furious (and devastated) against the sitter not to have warned us, he has sent us photos every 2 days, through Whatsapp, not saying a word. On our way back he explained "I did not want to spoil your holidays".
Last summer I change my vet, after my other dog had passed away I could not go back to his clinic. I was sobbing all day. I was much too hard.
The new vet I took a month later, when we adopted anew puppy (vet chosen a few hundred yards from our home, I thought it would be asier for future sitters with no cars) did not know me at all, so I warned the sitter he would have to make an advance ig he had to contact him for our dog or cat.
He had to go twice to an emergency clinic with our cat who did not eat or drink for 3 days : the event happened on a bank holiday, during a week end. I knew it, suggested to pay him immediatly by bank draft. He could wait our return he said.
Then as more exams were to be done, I asked him to go to my previous vet, I called him (hiding I had a new puppy and a new vet for him…) and again the sitter had no money to give.
I paid the vet and my sitter the very day on our way back. 200 € bill for the emergency clinic to the sitter, 130 to our vet directly
Owners can behave correctly. Our cat recovered.

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Oh my goodness Provence, I have tears reading your sad stories with this earlier Sitters, can’t imagine how sad and devastating it must have been for you.
We would always try to contact the owner about a situation where a call to the Vets may be needed, if we couldn’t contact them use our own initiative. Luckily never been in that position.
We always ask if the HO would please set up an Account if they have not already and they have done this when asked.
Just thought it would be nice not to have to ask.
We would always pay a vet’s bill and hopefully be reimbursed by HO.
We have once paid a vehicle Service for a HO, they didn’t leave enough cash and we didn’t get reimbursed. Not a huge amount so we didn’t ask for it, but they of course saw the final bill.
And we drove HO 2 x one hour drives to airport (our car) and didn’t get the petrol they mentioned would be paid. Sometines you weigh up the ‘gains’ for want of a better word, at the Sit. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t have excess amount of funds at all but we try to be fairly relaxed.
As you say Owners can and very mostly all the time, do act correctly, we certainly have no big gripes. We’re just not very good talking ‘money’ :blush: so thought it may be good for owners to have things in place with vets as a necessity.

We went over 2 years and 50+ house sits before we had an occasion to take a pet to the vet. However, in that time we were always cautious and were sure to ask for preferred vet information and if there was an account on file for payment, or if cash/check/credit would be left. We also started asking a very tough but important question, if an emergency arose and we’re unable to get in contact with the owner, what’s your spending limit/threshold for care.

At the beginning of this year, that question was one that was the best preparation we could have had. Over 2 months a dog in our car (the most adorable Boston Terrier) fell ill and while we were in constant contact with the owner, we had an emergency visit to the vet hospital. We had to authorize a large up-front payment for services, but had the owners permission, even though she was out of the country and we couldn’t immediately get ahold of her.

We learned a lot from that sit, from appreciating every minute you have with a loved pet or person, to being prepared for the worst case scenario (but hoping for the best). But the thing we recommend the most to both homeowners and sitters is to pick an owner/sitter that you trust. It’s not just about a homeowner trusting someone with their most prized things in life, it’s also a sitter opening up their life and security to someone else. It might be scary to some, but it’s truly the beauty of the THS community. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Firstly, I’m so sorry for that sad and very difficult situation you had. You coped with it so well, but how sad :cry:
You are absolutely right about us being more than just Sitters for bricks and mortar and the furry ones. Sitters have to really treat the home and the pets as their own with respect in every aspect and they are your top 110% priority while you are there and of course to good house sitters that comes naturally. How many times have us Sitters had a tear saying bye bye, cant count the times for us. Always find it amazing how quickly bonds are formed and the pets become just as your own.
This is why we and yourself and all good Sitters form lasting friendships with the owners, it’s just one of the many rewards of house and pet sitting and we thank THS :blush:

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Over the years we’ve had several occasions where we’ve had to take pets to the vet, both for routine and emergency reasons. We have paid many vet bills and have always been reimbursed.

It would be very difficult @Julie to make it compulsory for owners to set up accounts, there are vets who refuse to do this on the grounds that it is setting up a line of credit (particularly in the US)

Before I agree to the sit I will open the discussion to see whether or not the owner has any pre-arranged plans in place and if not suggest they:

  1. Inform the vet they are going away - give dates and their contact details
  2. If possible make sure all routine visits are either completed before or post sit
  3. Is the pet insured?
  4. Leave CC details with the surgery - if acceptable by the practice, if not agree a suitable and acceptable payment option
  5. Introduce the vet to the sitter - or at least leave name and contact details
  6. Talk to and instruct their vet (in writing) regarding their wishes in the unlikely event of a life threatening situation with their pet. This will help remove the responsibility of decision making from the sitter
    After opening the conversation every owner who has been able to make advanced payment provisions with their vet has done so.

Sadly we’ve had three pets pass away while in our care, they were all seniors with health issues and fortunately the owners had discussed their wishes and made arrangements, taking much of the burden of decision making responsibility away, we could not have completed any paperwork through the tears.

The prime focus in any situation is the pet and what is right for them and so having the serious and often difficult conversations with owners before a commitment is made is so important. Just because a pet is young doesn’t mean it might not need veterinary care, often in out of hours which is hugely expensive, I had a four month old puppy, in New York, chew a new pair of boots and I couldn’t find a metal buckle anywhere. A 2.00 am ER visit is expensive, VERY expensive we never did find the buckle either. … this is where the Vet HelpLine comes into it’s own at least they can advise and help make the right treatment decision.

My daughter is an ER & Critical Care Vet., here is a tip she told me when a dear old senior lab I was sitting pulled his nail out of the nail bed. His foot was bleeding profusely and so I called Nicole, “Mother, get a bag with some flour, insert his foot, leave for 10 mins the bleeding will stop, put a sock on his foot and take him to the vet in the morning” The bleeding stopped and off we went to the vets the next morning.

There’s no charge for that piece of veterinary advice!

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Gosh Angela you have had to deal with some really sad times/experiences.

Luckily we’ve never had a poorly pet under our house sitting care. We have sadly had our own elderly pets that have visited the Rainbow Bridge.

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I can see then when not all vets would perhaps agree to that service its not possible to ask owners to set it up in the THS guidance.

It is a question we often have to ask HO when we see the Vet section has not been completed. Fortunately all of the HO we have asked to do this have agreed and sorted it.
With your suggestions 1 to 5 we too have those exact discussions with the Owners.

We haven’t asked them to put anything in writing to their vet in the event if a life threatening situation occurs with their pet, no. 6, we’ve chatted with them but that sounds good to have it in writing.

I wonder if perhaps then any of your above helpful suggestions may be included in the guide THS give to Owners for completing their Welcome Pack, just to make them aware.

On a couple of occasions the Owners have not even considered the possibility of needing a Vet and wonder why we ask.

But both of us are definite ‘people pleasers’ so we never seem to have a problem with communicating and coming to a plan that us and HO feel happy with.

Just thinking, for experienced Sitters like yourself and us we are already having those conversations, but for newbies (owners and sitters) your information could really help them.

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I think that’s a very good point. I do sometimes worry if owners don’t have an account set up at a vet’s and if I was the owner I would definitely cover that. Touch wood I haven’t yet had to take a pet to the vet

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I always ask if there is an account and the majority of the time there is. I do not think it can be compulsory, even if that is what we all would like. We have had two emergency visits that we did need to pay at time of service and in both cases, they reimbursed us immediately when we notified them how much it was.

Housesitting is about trust and communication.

If we are taking care of an elderly pet, I always ask what the owners would like to have done if the pet passes away. I never want to make those decision. Fortunately, with apps like What’s app keeping in contact is pretty easy.

Vet info is always critical to have. And not just the pets normal vet, but where to go after hours and weekends - the emergency vets.

Yes, it would be nice if they all had accounts, but that does not stop us from applying for a sit.

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Yes, agreed. Also it’s good to have a conversation before owners go away whether they’d like to be informed should anything happen to their pet (to not spoil their holiday). Most want to know, but I did have one owner who didn’t.

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Hi, no as you say definitely not a reason not to apply for a sit, conversations can be had.

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Many sitters seem not to know there is vet line on THS, very useful when it is night, or week ends.
I used it once for my own pet (I wondered whether it was allowed) and they answered me on phone, then sent me the instructions by mail.
A second time (for my own pet again) I could not get anybody on phone, due to Covid probably. I went to my own vet the following morning.
But believe me or not, owners do have strange reactions : as a sitter in Spain, responsible for 4 cats, through Nomador, I called the owner in Turkey because one of her cat has vanished during 2 days, another one was constantly vomiting. That lady reproached me to have “bothered” her during her holiday with my anxiety (!!!) telling me she was against vaccines, she did not have any vet for her pets and did not want any. "You want to see a vet because she vomits ?" Yes, sorry…
Last summer, as a sitter in Kent, I’d been warned by the owner one of the 2 cats could die (21 years old) and I called her 2 days after our arrival : obviously it was the end for her little fur cat. Did she want me to go to the vet to help her sleep ? The answer was NO, a friend of hers came to check how was behaving the cat, warned the owner she was in a terrible state, but still the owner wanted her cat "to die at home, not in a clinic"’
So we waited for her death. Which was not nice, I refused to burry her, the gardener did the job !!
The owner thanked me in the feed back…

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Oh yes, I forgot to mention in my Post about THS Vets help Line, it’s a main reason why we ask repeat HO that contact us directly if they would book us through THS website as it gives the 24 hour Vets help line in an emergency. So sorry for your sad story :purple_heart:

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Having lost a dog in march 2018 when a pet sitter was in charge and a cat in august 2020 when I was in charge, I hope in the future I will never face such horrible events again as an owner or a sitter. I cross my fingers.

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Absolutely hope that will never ever happen again. Devastating and incredibly sad for you.:purple_heart:

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We always ask if a vet account is set up, how payment is handled and also how the owners would like emergencies handled. So far we’ve only ever had one occasion out of over 100 sits where we’ve had to contact a vet. But we look after a lot of elderly pets so it’s always a concern. We’ve found that most home owners leave an emergency fund especially when house sitting internationally in countries like Mexico or Panama.

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We check that we have the vet details and the pets are registered etc. Most vets won’t demand the money upfront (not in the UK anyway) so I don’t tend to worry about who is paying the bill as I generally assume it wont be me! I am more concerned about the level of care they are prepared to pay for or how far they will go. We look after a lot of horses so colic surgery is on my mind which is a major op and not for everyone so I tend to ask those type of things if I think it’s relevant. I’m a vet so that helps!

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You’re a vet ? So you work again when you pet sit ? Is it à quality owners do appreciate much ? Do you think it makes you selected first ?

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