Did you ever face an emergency while sitting?

Were you obliged to go back to your state/country because of severe illness, death of your relatives ? Of your own pets if you have some ? Because yourself fell ill ?(in Covid 19 times it can be a problem with the cost of health in US for europeans…)
How did you cope ? If you were a couple, did one of you stay ? What was the owner’s reaction ? Did (s)he find a friend, a relative, a neighbour, another sitter to come home and look after his/her pets and let you go back ?
What did the owner write in his/her feedback ??

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“Knock on wood” we have not needed to leave a sit early. We have had to take a dog that was attacked by another dog in the home to the vet once. But personally no.

We have also done a split sit - where we started it and stayed three weeks, then the other couple came and they stayed for one more week. They came a day in advance so we could show them everything we had learned and what we knew about the dog and home. It was hard for me to leave because the next couple I did not believe was up for the task.

Again depending on where the sit is located will make a big difference if someone does need to leave early - ie other sitters in the area that can take over, paid services that can help in large cities…

For the majority of the sits we have done there is a local contact person, which in most cases was listed as able to come over in an emergency.

A good question to ask when you have gotten a sit or talking to the owners during the interview process.


Thankfully, as of yet, we’ve never been in an emergency situation where one of us had to leave the sit early and unexpectedly.

However, there have been times where we split up during a house sit. We’re always fully transparent with the homeowner in advance. Because we’re a couple one of us can stay to finish up a day or two at one house sit, and the other can start another house sit. This is not a preference of ours, but we’ve asked homeowners if that would be okay a couple of times. We’ve been very careful in the way we ask, always asking before we’ve committed to another house sit and making it as comfortable as possible for the owner to say no.

We also had one situation where we’d accepted a house sit in Eastern Europe several months in advance. It was a very rare country to see come up for a house sit, so we were very excited about it and willing to fly from the US to get there. Unfortunately, we were put in a sticky situation when Shannon was unexpectedly offered a job that required her to be based in the US. It was an opportunity that we couldn’t turn down (prestigious and globally recognized tech company). So, out of respect to the homeowners and our commitment to keeping our word, we offered for Sergio to complete the house sit on his own, but asked if they would be kind enough to relist their dates and see if another sitter they liked applied. We reassured them that if they didn’t find someone they liked, Sergio would happily complete the sit.

There was still a few months before the sit was to begin, so the owners didn’t have much trouble finding someone else. All was done on good terms and the outcome was positive.

The moral of our stories if you will, is that our commitment is solid. Once we give our word, an owner can be sure that unless there’s a crisis that prevents both of us from being there, both or one of us will always be there to care for their home or pet. We’ll do whatever we can and go out of our way to keep our word.


Marvelous. I love that story. I really hope we’ll meet one day when you feel like pet sitting in Provence.
It gives me the idea to publish a new topic : “have you ever canceled a sit ? For what reason ?”
not sure to get answers although some HO precise sometimes in their ad. : “due to a late cancelllation, we seek a sitter for…” So HO do face cancelllations.

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Yes, we’ve seen that on the homeowners side. We’ve also experienced homeowners canceling sits on our end. Thankfully we hadn’t purchased our airfare yet and we understood that it was an unavoidable emergency. On the other side of the coin, we’ve had a homeowner that had their work travel cancel, but rather than canceling the sit, he took a trip to see a friend and work from another city instead.

We just can’t help but think that in large part both owners and sitters are genuinely kind and loving people who do their best to keep their word. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


I was doing a petsit in Forster, New South Wales Australia when there was a rapidly moving bushfire, not bushfire season in September, early Spring.
The owners didn’t have any pet carriers for the two cats, so I had to improvise - two laundry baskets cable-tied together.
I gathered evacuation supplies, including spare feeding bowls, food, beds, and being prepared to buy litter trays & litter (the cats toiletted outside),
In the absence of notice of a pet friendly shelter, I would have driven down to the beach with the cats in the car.
The fire came within 5 km of my part of town, we were safe.


Must have been scary for you too ! Did the owners call you to hear you say “we are ok”.

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No, they were overseas at the time, I emailed them to let them know we were okay.