Emotional struggle after leaving a 5* review with one line of honesty

My husband finished a sit a week ago, and this is our first-ever non-positive experience on THS. There are several problems with the sit:

  1. The house owner changed her travel and left a day later, and returned a day earlier, making this 7 day sit 5days. She did not tell us about this change until we’ve arrived at her house, even though we had video calls and messaged her to check in a couple days before the sit.

  2. The owner’s adult son stayed in the basement of the house for 2 days during our sit. We were not informed prior to the sit.

  3. One of the dogs poops and pees every day on the carpet. This is not indicated on the listing or the welcome guide.

  4. The owner complained about previous sitters on THS to us repeatedly during our time shared with her, and it was very uncomfortable to hear.

We are the kind of people who do not mind some inconveniences or extra work during a housesit because we truly love spending time with animals and appreciate the owners for opening their home for us. But we felt really stressed out due to the above 4 issues. Especially I felt there’s a lack of communication and consideration on the HO’s side about the first 2 issues, by which we felt our “healthy boundary” as house sitters are crossed by the owner.

I still gave it a 5 star review in general (I guess just to be nice) with 4 stars for the category of communication. In the review I started with “this is a great sit in general” and goes on about how we loved the dogs and how the home was beautiful etc.
In the end I said " if there’s one thing that’ll make this sit a better experience it would be if HO has communicated to us a head of time about her change of travel plan and that we need to share the house with her family, I suggest future sitters to double-check with the HO about it"

After submitting my review, I saw that the HO has given us a 5 star review with sweet wordings.

Soon after that, my husband received a text message from the HO, expressing her upsets about the last part of my review, and it was extremely emotionally stressful to read her text.

Afterward I had an argument with my husband about it. He thought I shouldn’t have said anything on the review to “cause” all this nastiness. He thinks it’s better to let things go after it’s done, and everyone goes on to have a pleasant day, and that my “unnecessary” honest review has caused more stress both for us and for the HO.

I think I can sympathize with my husband’s point of view, why cause more stress by leaving a review when we have already finished the sit? But I felt it would be wrong to not say anything as well.

I feel that after this experience I will hesitate for a long time before leaving another honest review.

I guess I’m just here to share my experience and see if this had happened to other sitters, and I’m open to advises from fellow THS community. Thanks!


You did the right thing to tell people about what happened. It was brave and will help other sitters avoid this sit in future. Of course the HOs were not happy. When you stand up for yourself, or speak honest words about situations, lots of people will blow up. That doesn’t mean that speaking up was wrong!

If nobody ever pointed out problems and issues, some bullies would soon run the world. So well done!


As @andrealovesanimals writes, you did the right thing.

Your husband needs to understand how important it is to warn future sitters about the way these homeowners broke THS rules and policies.

Good for you that you wrote a tactful and honest review.


They had not been nice to you.

That son in the basement for example, is totally against the THS T&Cs.

And daily dog p&p on the carpet… that is not lovely.


It appears to be an impossible task to write a review that will not bring conflict, require a defensive reply, or stress out the reviewer, but will be accepted by the other party as is.

Perhaps we should go back to the old system??? These honest reviews bring too much emotional struggle and stress. only :sweat_smile:


Does not it cause more stress by keeping in with one’s feelings?

It would have been the son and the dogs pooing and peeing that caused me stress.

Writing an honest review about that would have been a way to deal with that. I would not care much about angry messages by an HO that I would never see again. If it was really abusive, I would forward to THS.

But yeah, that is me. You guys know me :slight_smile:


Was the owner upset that she had caused you to feel uncomfortable OR
upset that you commented about how you felt in the review ?

I would expect a considerate homeowner to reply with “ I’m sorry I hadn’t considered how you would feel about my change of travel dates and how that impacted your stay. With hindsight I should have let you know before you arrived “
Or “Thanks for the feedback I’ll bear that in mind for future sitters “

With regard to the son in the basement - is that a separate dwelling or did it mean that you shared facilities ( kitchen etc ) or that he had access to the main part of the home ?

Do you wish that previous sitters had been honest and flagged up the issues ? If so you did the right thing with your review .

IMHO there’s no point writing a review at all, if it’s not honest and factual about your experience . The reviews are there purely to help future sitters decide if a particular sit will suit them or not.


Private messages are the least of the problem, I think. What might be stressful, however, are replies to honest reviews that cannot be addressed. This way, the potential bad guy gets the last word (or laugh).


I’m so sorry that your husband isn’t supporting you.
I’m sorry he doesn’t have any respect for future sitters who need to hear about your experiences.
I’m sorry for you that despite doing the right thing you’re being blamed!
The HOs were wrong, your husband is wrong, you did right and you need to own this, and stand your ground. Just because other people get angry doesn’t mean we should feel guilty about telling the truth. Well done!


You did the right thing expressing your honest opinion, and in a non confrontational way to boot.
I believe your husband isn’t taking into consideration the true purpose of a review or feedback: it’s not to make nice, but to be factual and informative.

Future sitters thank you in advance. :hibiscus:


So sorry you’ve had this experience. What’s done is done, and your review seems fair and reasonable and will help sitters make informed choices in future.

Her feelings about it aren’t your business, so you shouldn’t feel like you have to respond. If you do want to you can say something like: “sorry you’re upset, but we wanted to describe our experience of the sit factually. We hope you can learn from it and make sure future sitters have a great experience with [pets]”

The good news is you have no reason to keep communicating with her, so you can just block her number and move on!


@Rainaire The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

Thank you being courageous and not accepting this home owner’s standards.


Your husband’s approach is the easy way out, one that helps perpetuate problems and enables people who take advantage of others. It’s an approach that lacks courage. Personally, I wouldn’t take that sort of approach for all the sits in the world. Bravo to you for being better than that and not being part of the problem.


I recently left a review for a sitter who looked after our family home which was just a tad less than glowing and it was hard. It’s great that everyone is supportive of honest reviews on here but it definitely would be interesting to know how many have now actually clicked submit on a review with less than 5 stars AND explained that rating in the review …because honestly there is nothing more irritating than 4 star reviews that are glowing descriptions of the perfect sit/sitter.


It sounds like you’re asking whether some of us are hypocrites who encourage honest reviews but don’t walk the talk. I’m saying that to check if I understood correctly. Personally, I’m direct and am willing to live with the potential consequences. Like I know I could be more diplomatic or pull punches, but I have little respect for people who do such to spare themselves.

Below is how I rated my last hosts, and I reviewed them with specifics, good and bad. If some hosts choose to avoid me for that, shrug, I’ll happily avoid them and their sits.


I have. Well, I did not give the whole explanation, I avoided getting personal.

You were absolutely right to mention it. Future sitters need to be aware.


If that pet parent had a previous sitter who had exactly the same experience as you, would you have appreciated an honest review for you to read? I think we all would. And therefore, I believe you should have been more frank and given the appropriate amount of stars instead of just leaving 5*s to be nice.


Bravo. We’ve had very few less-than-stellar experiences: for those, would have appreciated a “head’s up” from previous sitters.
This system cannot function properly if everyone is afraid to make a truthful comment!
I think yours was a very considerate, rather kindly worded commentary given what happened.
This HO doesn’t seem to understand that it is not acceptable to change dates, or to have another person in the home, without first discussing it with the sitter.
That the HO wrote your review was “extremely emotionally stressful” is suspect.
IF the situation was beyond their control and they did what they could to consult with you about solutions it would be very different.
But this reaction suggests they care more about what future sitters might think than what you as their sitters thought during the sit!
Well, again, BRAVO YOU for giving ‘fair warning’ to future sitters that this might happen to them as well.


Please continue to leave honest reviews - especially in the way you did, which was very nice.

Im sorry this has caused you distress, but you did the right thing. This doesnt sound like a good sit and the home owner doesnt sound like a good host.

The HO has the opportunity to write and post a response to your review. She could easily recover from your remarks by addressing the issues in her response. But it sounds like she rather make you feel bad than own up to what she did wrong.