Communicating after a house sit?

As most of you will have experienced, lovely friendships are often formed between pet owners and sitters. Some people choose to continue communicating after a house sit is completed, (via personal emails) to keep the friendship going.
During these unusual days of the pandemic, we have felt deep concern for all the lovely folk we have met while housesitting (in the UK). I have longed to make contact with all those folk just to check in on how they are coping or have been affected by the pandemic or the lockdowns. Some folk we have ‘sat’ for would be considered very high risk and I would love to hear they are ok or if there’s anything we could do to help them if they needed it.
Earlier this year, when our state of Victoria (Australia) experienced horrible bush fires, several people we’d house sat for previously, made contact with me to check if we were OK and to ask if we were at risk or safe. How kind! We loved this show of care and thought it was a beautiful example of one of the benefits of house sitting. One lovely lady contacted through the THS site because she’d lost my personal email address and she was really worrying about us.
I have been pleased to be able to check in with most of the dear pet owners who gave their personal emails to me. Most replied, which gave me some peace of mind depending on their story. Those who didn’t reply I continue to be concerned about but I have not followed up for fear of being a bother. I have just assumed they are OK and respected their privacy.
My question is, “Is it OK to use the THS site to contact people after a house sit is completed (assuming they are still active members), just to let people know you are thinking of them and concerned for their well being?” We don’t want to bother people with unwanted correspondence and would just send the one enquiry and leave it if we get no reply.
What have others experienced? What do you think?
Ali

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We do stay in touch with a fair number of our home owners after sits, and it’s often a way to open an opportunity for a repeat too. Although, if they request this outside the platform, we always ask them to put it up as a registered sit to ensure review and history continuity.

I personally only do only do this with people we’ve genuinely connected with and I use a mixture of the THS messenger system, email or whatsapp, depending which they preferred using during the sit.

As a homeowner, I think I’d enjoy hearing from sitters I’d used and built a rapport with, and we’ve never had a complaint or bad response. But if I didn’t get a reply, as you say, I’d also leave it at that.

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If we continue to keep in touch with hosts we always do it via email or WhatsApp. Only tend to use the THS messaging system to organise the housesit.

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The special relationships we make through sharing homes and pets often result in life long friendships but of course that doesn’t happen with every sit but when there is a special connection we find our own preferred ways of staying in touch, through the site, email or WhatsApp … I much prefer having a real conversation though and take connections off the site and return to the system to arrange and confirm sits.

Because of the rapport we build with owners we have many repeat sit requests but just like @vanessaanderson we request that owners arrange any sits through the site (even with almost 100 reviews I still want to get that next 5* acknowledgment of a “job” well done)

Our 2019 Trusted Awards brought in 1000 nominations that’s a minimum of 2000 community members connecting around the world with amazing stories of caring and sharing, friendship and connecting, there was not a dry eye in the TrustedHousesitters house … lots of laughter too.

Always with a “Thank You Pets” because it’s the animals who bring us together.

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We also were very concerned when Covid started and wanted to be sure that the homeowners we’ve sat for were well.

It helps that whenever we start a house sit we set up a group message with the homeowners through Signal Private Messenger App (a secure, truly encrypted message app that works over WiFi). We, like many here, keep in touch with most of the homeowners we sit for and keep chatting periodically through Signal. So, when Covid started, we had an easy way to check in with everyone. Thankfully, everyone we chatted with was in good health and managing the pandemic relatively well.

However, like you mentioned @Ali, we sometimes don’t hear back. We try a couple of messages (both on Signal and then finally in the THS messenger), spreading them out over a few months (knowing that life can get busy :wink:), but if we still don’t hear back we hope for the best and let it go.

Just like @Angela-CommunityManager and @vanessaanderson, we too ask that repeat sits are managed officially in THS. We appreciate the additional review because it never hurts having one more when we’re applying for our next sit. Plus, since we read sitter reviews on listings, we know our leaving a review helps them too!

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I’ve always been in contact with my 5 former owners.
2 have asked me to come back, but dates did not fit. Another couple invited us for lunch one month after their return from Greece as we had not met before the sit (their daughter welcomed us) and proposed us to let us their second home for holiday.
These contacts have been made through whats app, mail or my own telephone as I can call for free a hundred countries.
Apart from a gift left in their home on departure, I always send owners once back home something more personal than a bottle of wine : photos of their pets, made through a transformation site. They are all delighted. It’s fun.
When the Covid has begun, I’ve asked all if they were OK. One of the owner in Guernesey was italian and her family lived in Lombardia.
Last august when we were sitting in Kent, I was invited to go to Costwolds by the owner of my first sit a year before who was adorable. I i was quite a long route.

As I could not leave the cat I was in charge she suggested to meet me half way.

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So far, I’ve always used WhatsApp to keep in touch during the sit and it’s so easy to send quick messages afterwards too.

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@Gillian Same here Gillian, we always use WhatsApp as so many owners like regular photos whilst they are away.

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@Gillian @Jon-JWalking We are the same as you guys. We use WhatsApp or text during the sit and then afterwards for repeat sits they have my number so usually just message me directly. I don’t bother asking the homeowner to go through THS we just arrange the sit over text. I did initially think we’ll miss out on reviews etc but texting is so quick, minimal effort for everyone.

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@PetsSit I sometimes ask to go through THS for a return visit so that I have access to the 24hr vet.

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@Gillian @PetsSit We always try and book through THS but some owners lapse their membership and contact us direct. Difficult to insist they sign up again in those circumstances.

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I would ask for their personal email so you could communicate especially if it is unrelated to housesitting

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@Jon-JWalking @Gillian @PetsSit I’ve had lapsed owners ask and always request they to go through the site; I “really appreciate their valuable review” access to the vet line, in the unlikely event of an emergency although they will likely have their own vet, offer a discount via RAF I have never had an owner not rejoin, like all communication it’s all in the messaging, your relationship and what you feel comfortable doing.

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It depends. Notwithstanding a Phobia of being labeled Creepy Stalker. There are other owners with whom I just “click.” Usually they’re my age, and we have much in common.

Unfortunately there are owners with whom I must contact after the sit to remind them to review the sit. Really doesn’t take much effort, but some need reminding, again, and AGAIN.

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All but 1 the rest send Christmas cards etc
Chat on WhatsApp etc

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