Advice for our first nightmare sit

Myself and my husband have been sitting on and off for a few years now, and we’re currently on our 7th sit on THS. Before this, we used MindMyHouse, and only had one bad experience on there.

We’re currently just over 4 weeks in to a 6 week sit, looking after 3 elderly pets (1 dog and 2 cats). When we arrived, we could tell instantly that the house was dirty and there was an awful smell coming from the lounge area where the dog slept.

The first 3 nights, we were kept awake by the dog barking continuously throughout the night and she just wouldn’t settle no matter what we tried. She appeared to be distressed and possibly showing signs of senility, which had not been mentioned by the owner. We contacted him and he had me calling up his vet and a pharmacist to try and get her sedatives, which as I thought, were not something they would allow, and I didn’t really feel comfortable sedating her anyway. He then agreed that taking her to a kennel for 6 weeks was the best option. So we drove her to the kennels, which was out of town, and there was no mention of being reimbursed for fuel.

I then had to contact him again multiple times to tell him that there was a flea problem in the house. I had looked at other forum posts where sitters agreed that this was not their responsibility to sort out and I feel the same. Flea bombing a house is a huge task after all. Still, we used the products found under his sink after he unapologetically asked us to do so. We have now done this twice and the problem is still ongoing. The products were cheap ones, so I suspect that’s why they weren’t effective. I have found fleas on both cats, despite him telling us that he used a flea treatment before he left. Because of this, we have had to limit access to parts of the house for them, such as where we sleep and eat as we were being eaten alive whenever they were around.

We are now worried about the cat with a thyroid problem. We fear she may have experienced heat exhaustion from the recent hot weather. She tends to spend a lot of time outside in the long grass, even in the rain. She was frail looking when we arrived, but she has now become disorientated and has been eating grass and has thrown up. I have shut her indoors and made her up a bed next to some water. She has been drooling and sneezing a lot too. I have contacted the owner to let him know and ask him what he wants us to do for her. I’m keeping a very close eye on her until I hear back. He also doesn’t seem to have a cat carrier, and I know the cat’s welfare comes first, but should my car be infested with fleas, who is going to pay to have it sorted? I get the impression he doesn’t like parting with his money.

What he didn’t tell us, until we arrived was that his vet is a 50 mile round trip, and there has never been any mention of being reimbursed for fuel costs. From the beginning, we both feel that he hasn’t been entirely honest about much, including the behavior of the animals and the state of the house. There is a leak from a radiator, which needs to maintained with rags that smell bad, and this affects the boiler pressure, which we are having to adjust every couple of days. The heating also wasn’t working when we arrived, so the house was very cold. We had to clean areas of the house, including the kitchen and bathroom before we could use them, and we really wouldn’t say we are particularly fussy people. I also can’t help feeling that he doesn’t seem to understand how THS is meant to be mutually beneficial as we always seem to be treated like this is a full-time paid position and we should be grateful for the opportunity.

So, if you’re still with me after reading all of that…do you have any recommendations on how we should deal with this situation? Is it wrong to ask for fuel money for taking a cat to the vet? Would you take the cat to a more local vet? I’m also not on a position to pay for vet fees, nor is it my responsibility to!

I’ve had so many great sitting experiences, but this one has really changed my opinion on sitting in the future.

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So @imissmomo firstly big hugs :hugs: to you guys for grizzing your way through it until now. Yes you should ask for fuel reimbursement, :100:. Unfortunately the onus is on the sitter to pay vets bills and claim them back if there is no account so would probably not head to a different vet or it will be harder to get cover for any costs. Additionally, you’re probably within your rights to quit as the home is “unhygenic & unclean” (don’t know the actual clause no. on the Ts & Cs but hoping @Silversitters will jump in with those for you. It might be time to say enough is enough and give the HO 48 hours notice that you’re leaving. Have you talked to THS HQ to seek their advice? (Not always great as they tell you to stick it out or talk to the HO usually but worth a try). Then a full and factual review at the end of it all to warn future sitters. Hope you can find a solution & soon.

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@imissmomo there is a THS vet hotline you can contact for assistance. Sounds like the cat might need to see a vet. See screenshot below on how to contact the vet hotline via the THS app. This sounds like an awful sit and the PP seems to care less about the well being of his pets. Take screenshots of the conversations you’ve had with the PP and contact member services to start a complaint.

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It’s really sad that you find yourselves in this position, it’s not hard to imagine that it’s making you reconsider pet sitting in the future. You guys are so patient! I would have left the first week.

Contrary to what another member explained, as a sitter I would not pay for the vet visit. I’d tell the HO that if he wants you to bring the cat to the vet, he must arrange payment with the vet’s office in advance and reimburse you the fuel cost.

If you have noticed that he’s ‘careful with his money’ and he hasn’t even mentioned reimbursing you the previous fuel expense, I don’t think he’ll volunteer to reimburse the vet visit either. Worse still, he may also be the type of person who thinks that the cat being sickly and frail, it’s not worth spending money on her.

THS telling sitters to pay for unexpected expenses and asking the HO for a reimbursement is unreasonable and cannot be enforced anyhow.

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Thanks for the support and the e-hug! :slightly_smiling_face:
We have 11 days left and I suspect finding another sit at short notice may be difficult. I don’t have experience of this sort of thing, or whether THS could help us. The cat may be end of life, so I am concerned that moving out would not be the most ethical option. I have just spoken to the owner and the vet and I’ve got her booked in with his vet, so will be asking for a reimbursement of fuel costs tomorrow. I left a lot of awkward silences in the call, but still, no solutions to the flea problem, or talk of money for fuel.

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Hopefully he has an account and/or a card kept on file at the vets. Might be worth asking in advance? The clause that says sitters should pay the vet & reclaim from the owner is the most ridiculous ever!! Not our pets. Not our bill. Do hope it all pans out okay, be firm on the fuel and any other costs. #moreehugscomingyourway :hugs::hugs:

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@Peonie19 Thank you for your message! I didn’t realise what a supportive community there is here on the forum. Fortunately, he has agreed to call the vet during the time of the appointment, should any difficult decisions have to be made, so that would be a great opportunity for him to pay the bill also. I didn’t realise that THS expect you to pay the bills upfront until today! That’s crazy! I imagine I’m not the only sitter that isn’t rolling in money!

I agree with you about him possibly not being too concerned about the cat. He hasn’t really asked after them much at all, just sends me pictures from his holiday, which we both find a bit strange.

I think we’ve probably been a little too patient, but we’ve learned from this bad experience! My husband will likely be the one to ask for fuel money along with money for more cat food. I’m eager to move to our next sit as the HO couldn’t be more different and told us she has a payment method set up with the vet and even a friend who would be available if there were ever any difficult decisions to be made at the vet! If only all pet owners were this responsible.

Thanks again for your help :slightly_smiling_face:

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Just a thought re fleas….we use the strongest you can buy without vet prescription and it appears the fleas here are immune to it! We’ve had to change to a different brand……from the vet! Not much difference in the price thankfully.

Where is the clause that says sitters should pay the vet? ( I guess and then request reimbursement)

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Where is 5.3? I ask my pp during our FaceTime to put a card on file at their vet(s). I do not know about anyone else, but, that’s expensive. They always seem happy to do that.

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I always thought it was weird to have the sitter pay and then get reimbursed. Some sitters wouldn’t be able to cover this. The responsibility should be in the pet parents to set up an authorized chargeable account at the vet.

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Please be your own advocate! Let the ownner know that you expect payment for fuel. I would ask that it be Venmo’d or something before the sit is over. It does not sound likely that he will reimburse you after the sit. AND kudos to you for sticking it out…I honestly would not have if there was any way around it. Fleas are a health hazard for people too and I would hate to unwittingly take an infestation home or my next sit.

Good Luck with all!

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That changes my perspective on pet sitting. Vet bills are no joke and there is absolutely no reason that a sitter should be liable for a vet bill (unless they caused the issue). That being said, SERIOUSLY!!! :triumph:

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@Campbell 5.3 is a clause in the terms and conditions that all members sign up here is a link

If you read the thread that @BonnyinBrighton posted there has been a long discussion about this clause and the potential impact on a sitter if they are not aware of it .

One of the reasons why we may not renew, is the “pay vets bill and ask for the HO to reimburse” clause.

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It would be a shame not to renew because of such a ridiculously unfair clause. I would discuss it in advance with prospective home owners, many of whom are probably not even aware of it, and just say that it’s not something you’re willing/able to abide by, and can they therefore ensure that they make alternative financial arrangements for emergency situations. I expect that many sitters, like myself, work on a freelance basis and have a completely random and sporadic income which certainly doesn’t provide a financial buffer zone for paying other peoples’ vet bills.

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Hello & im glad you’re coming to some sort of agreement.
Its very sad for all the animals & however bad the sit has been you may have been a positive to them, if just for their sake.
Re the flea treatment, though, if you are visiting the vet, they should be able to provide very good options to use in the home. Also most vets do now bill customers if the pet is brought by a third party, so that would cover any extra costs there…:crossed_fingers:t3:
Good luck

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One of the reasons we decided not to own any more pets was the price of inevitable vets bills so no fancy for paying someone else’s and literally hope to get it back

@Hallt64 Personally I would refuse to pay any vet bills. It is entirely the responsibility of the pet owners. I would completely ignore that ridiculous clause! THS cannot enforce it no sitter should ever be out of pocket whilst doing an unpaid service! If the HO cares enough about their pets they will find ways to manage the payment somehow without sitter involvement.

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