Client canceling after we arrived

My family and I flew to Toronto from the states for a sit, and after we arrived during the first meeting with the client but before we moved all our luggage in the clients dog had a vet emergency and now they are deciding to not leave the country. Which I totally understand. But is it appropriate for me to ask for them to cover our hotel stay? We were supposed to be in their home for a week, and we have now already paid for two nights in a hotel.

They aren’t obliged to do this. And are probably super stressed at the moment. If you are a premium member you could get reimbursement from THS. If you are not, you are probably out of luck. There may be another last minute sit nearby, and plenty of still open Christmas sits elsewhere you could apply to even if it means paying for more transport. If they aren’t in the midst of terrible choices, and crisis, you could try calling them to make to check if they rearranged plans.

You can always ask.
Can you provide more details on what kind of ‘vet emergency’ they had that occurred between you arriving and you moving your luggage in. Seems a very tight timeline for something unexpected to happen. Did they need to stay or did they choose to stay?
If you don’t have the top sitter level membership that gives you hotel cover and they aren’t willing to help out your costs I guess your next option would be legal. You had an arrangement for accommodation, they cancelled it and you incurred costs. Talk to a lawyer.
In any case try and enjoy your stay in Toronto.

Definitely this. Have they cancelled the sit so the dates are free so you can apply for some sits? If not get on to THS - use the chat and ask to talk to a human. Get them to remove the dates and make sure they know the owner cancelled and not that you want it cancelled but that it has been cancelled on you.

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If the homeowners were planning to leave the country they’ve already incurred costs cancelling their travel. If there’s been a vet emergency – they’ve incurred costs. As a petowner, I watched my senior cat suddenly get a seizure as I was getting ready to leave for the airport! My spouse was going to leave from the office. This was pre-THS, so it was a question of calling off the neighbor who was going to do drop ins. My spouse who is a pro managing customer service, got the flights cancelled for a small fee and the rest in his airline account for future travel. If a housesitter had arrived to a cancelled sit, I don’t think I would’ve been in any condition to deal with their request. (In this case, the cat was okay and I stayed home to watch him while my spouse left a few days later for aa man-trip to a different location. The teenager who would’ve watched them survived the cancellation.)

These things do happen. That’s why the premium tier exists. I have sympathy for the sitter family flying in, but there are inherent risks for both sits and sitters.

Nobody should be going to a lawyer and threatening to sue anyone.

Why not start with communication? Sitter calls HO to check on how things are doing with the dog, and discusses the situation – honestly. Maybe comes up with an ask.


Tangentially to the problem: I do not regard the owners as my clients.


@Calbananna that sounds like a very stressful situation for both parties . You can ask , however the owner is not responsible for your back up plan and has no obligation to provide alternative accommodation for you or cover the expense of it especially as there is a genuine extraordinary reason for the cancellation .

I can see that there is a last minute sit listing in Toronto . As others have suggested if you contact member services you can ask them to free up your dates so that you can apply for that sit. It may work out much better as you won’t be caring for a sick pet during your holiday.

To contact MS use live chat :speech_balloon: in the Help section and ask to speak to a human . They can also help you with the “sit cancellation guarantee” if you are a Premium member.

All the best and please let the forum know how you get on .


Is this a sit booked via THS? The terminology you use makes me think it may be a paid sit.

It’s a tough situation but as a sitter for nearly 10 years Ialways allow for the fact things may go wrong and I have to pay up for extra accommodation.

Client? Legal action? Lawyers?

Life happens. Things change. Please let’s not take housesitting to another level!


Insurance (as restrictive as it is) exists to help offset some losses that you may incur. It’s mere existence does not absolve one or more parties for responsibility for their actions or for breaking any agreement they have made. In fact the premium tier insurance specifically allows the insurance company to sue the the other party to recover their losses and forces the claimant to assist in this.

Nobody should be going to a lawyer and threatening to sue anyone.

That’s certainly an opinion. It is not however everyone’s and it certainly isn’t true in all situations. The OP posted about asking for some assistance with costs, I agreed with that option and added that if that doesn’t get them anywhere there isn’t really anything left other than legal. That still seems like an accurate assessment if they need to get some help financially.

If the homeowners were planning to leave the country they’ve already incurred costs cancelling their travel. If there’s been a vet emergency – they’ve incurred costs.

I’m certain they have incurred costs however this is a post from the sitter asking about costs so I addressed that.

I never meant to imply that going to a lawyer was the wrong move in every situation. That’s pretty obvious from the context. My point was that among the sitter’s options would be talking to the HO.

I’d love for an actual lawyer to weigh in. The situation as described is a pet emergency. That’s an extraordinary reason for the homeowners to cancel the sit. We don’t have all of the circumstances of the emergency. Let’s imagine hypothetically that the dog has raging diarhea. Do the HOs leave the sick dog with the sitter? (And then someone starts a thread about how awful they are for doing that?) The HOs agreed to the sitters using their home for free accomodation in return for pet sitting. They can’t leave the dog. They can’t take the sick dog to a hotel or airbnb. There is nothing in the TOS/TOC that places the financial burden for a cancelled sit on the homeowner. In the opposite situation, where a sitter cancels the day a sit starts for a very good reason – say a sick pet or family member of their own – nobody would be arguing that the homeowner should go to a lawyer if they have to hire a sitter or cancel or delay their plans because they can’t find one.

In both cases, sitter cancelling, homeowner cancelling – the unexpected costs would have been at least partially covered by the insurance offered through a premium plan. Not to mention that going to a lawyer is both costly and impractical. And that coming into Canada from the US to housesit is a violation of Cannadian policy so even if there was a “contract”, it would probably be moot. The “contract” that exists is the THS agreement, and there is nothing there about one party paying the other party in the event of an emergency cancellation.

“Going to a lawyer” is also not an immediate solution that solves the problem – unless the aim would be to intimidate the homeowners into paying them – which could easily backfire in all kinds of ways. There are lots of more workable, immediate solutions to the family’s dilema. These are: (1) Checking in with the family for a doggie update and to make sure their plans are truly cancelled. (2)Asking the family directly for some travel reimbursement or if they know of any accomodations – a friend, or relative with an empty airbnb or vacant furnished apartment. (3) Checking for last minute sits nearby (4) Checking with the airlines on penalties for changing their flights.


You said “Nobody should be going to a lawyer” which seemed quite emphatic and I’m not sure what other context there was other than the thread it was in but ok lets read that as going to a lawyer may not be the right move in this situation. Until you discuss it with a lawyer it’s hard to know if its the right move It may be a terrible option but it is an option. It is almost definitely the last option but I thought that was made clear by it being the last option I offered. If you can suggest a way to recover financial costs after asking and being refused and no insurance options I’m all for that option but I don’t know any so that was what I offered up.

I’d love for an actual lawyer to weigh in. The situation as described is a pet emergency.

I’d be interested to hear from one as well.

There is nothing in the TOS/TOC that places the financial burden for a cancelled sit on the homeowner.

THS are very clear that sits are an an agreement between sitter and owner that they are not party to. The terms you signed up to are between you and THS. They have a clause saying the owner must pay for vet’ and home repair costs within 14 days of a sit ending but they have admitted that there is nothing they can do to force payment. It would be interesting to find out how the sitter/owner agreement holds up and what difference an emergency makes compared to just cancelling because plans changed.

I did ask for more information on this emergency. Hopefully we can get some and maybe more information on how they ended up in a hotel rather than the spare room or sofa. Hopefully they are at least enjoying their christmas in Toronto.

At the risk of derailing the original question which was about getting some help paying for hotel costs (which I imagine for a family for a week in Toronto at this time of year could be huge) , I find some comments around THS insurance in this thread and other threads to be quite odd. Insurance exists to hedge against unexpected costs. However from a lot of comments by many people the attitude seems to be that because insurance for this exists that absolves anyone from any responsibility for any losses. It even seems to be implied that if it exists and you didn’t pay for it the other party is even less liable. As if someone having car insurance or car insurance being available absolves someone of responsibility for damages when they crash into that persons car. THS insurance is not great, it cost money (double the basic membership to get it), has many exclusions and shouldn’t’ be a get-out for someone reneging on an agreement. And I don’t specifically mean this occurrence but many other instances.

Hello :wave:, Thank you to everyone who has commented on this thread to help the OP. @Silversitters @pietkuip @Furryfriends @Marion all gave lots of helpful advice for the initial question :smiling_face:

This thread is now going off-topic of ‘Client cancelled after we arrived’, to a more general chat about lawyers and THS terms. To ensure that the OP gets the help and advice they need for their original questions, please feel free to use the spyglass to find a relevant topic or start a new one if it’s something you would like to discuss further.

@Calbananna I hope you managed to get some accommodation sorted and if you need help from Membership Services as other members have suggested please feel free to contact them here.