From a sitter to owners

This is just a thought, from a highly experienced pet sitter, for possible consideration by pet owners.

Of course pet owners are absolutely entitled to make their decisions about prospective pet sitters based on any criteria they wish, but I would make a plea that owners might consider reading all applications received within a day or two of posting, and making a decision based on treating them all equally, rather than offering the position to the first suitable candidate whose application is received. Of course many, if not most, pet owners do this anyway, but for those who don’t, please do bear in mind that not all pet sitters receive listings at the same time, and that time zones etc. can affect how rapidly a pet sitter is able to submit their application, especially if they want to send a thoughtful, personalized message. Just a thought – but of course it’s always up to pet owners’ preferences. Thank you!


Good point! I’m also a seasoned sitter and just applied on a local house sit last night and sent a thoughtful and personalized message to the homeowner but received another “application declined” without any personalized message. This is the one thing that really irks me and I know it does other sitters - I think it’s a total lack of courtesy to just hit that “decline” button.


Hi Annette, I can certainly understand your concerns. I am a homeowner, and found out today that as soon as I send a note confirming a sitter, a decline notice is automatically sent to all other applicants. In our case, we are currently traveling, and confirmed the sitter late in the day. When today I went to reply to others that we had filled the position, I noticed that they had already been sent a decline notice. I still replied to everyone individually, but I felt badly that they received a simply decline without an opportunity to send individual message. I suspect this is done because some HO’s don’t reply individually, but as a HO who always sends individual responses, I found it quite alarming!


Because it feels so unpleasant to get that Declined message, when I get an invitation to sit, I send a personal note back to the kind HO who thoughtfully invited me but do not click on Declined at all. It could feel like a slap in the face. After they have chosen a sitter, I get the *Declined/Sorry you were not successful * (or whatever that message says),
but it doesn’t bother me in that situation.

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As an owner i always answer individually. I don’t wait to receive many proposals (since i insist upon speaking a minimum french, sitters’ applications have decreased a lot…)
I explain i’ll take my decision in a few days, when i know i have received enough mails, i use the pause button (clicking on “enough applications”)
But i noticed when i was rather new on THS that If i had explained why i did not select x or y, and use the décline button at the end of my answer, my explanation text automatically vanished!
So now i send the negative answer but thanking the sitter to have applied FIRST. And i push the decline button on the top of the sitter application AFTER.
May i précise i’m surprised sometimes sitters didn’t read obviously my listing, otherwise they would have not applied (no références yet, not speaking french etc.)


Is there a fb page of this name? I shall look! I too, am v v disappointed when I’m declined out of hand yet the total number of applications is fewer than 10. A more personal approach is warranted. Someone on this forum suggested a few months ago that the THS system be set up so that HO could not ‘reject all’ but their chosen sitter until and unless the message box to the unsuccessful applicant sitters was completed.


@PassportSoulmates I am appalled that the system automatically sends “application denied” this facility should be removed. I had assumed that it was the HO simply pressing a button rather than having the courtesy to reply to an application.


@ELNF Same here! I assumed the HO was pressing a “decline” button.

@PassportSoulmates so glad you posted this as I didn’t realize that was the process. As a sitter, that “declined” message feels extremely cold, especially after putting effort into a personal application. As as HO, I would be mortified to have applicants receive it before I was able to reply to them personally.

@Angela-CommunityManager A suggestion for TH - this message could be a more positive user experience by changing the wording and offering more transparency into the process.

Instead of using negative wording like “declined”, soften the blow by simply telling the sitter that the homeowner has confirmed another sitter.

It should also be clear that this is an automated message and not rudeness on the part of the HO, which is how it currently comes across. I think this little change would make that message much less unpleasant for the applicant to receive.


@Lindsay @Angela-CommunityManager
I do agree with Lindsay - a much better idea!
Application declined makes you feel that you weren’t good enough but without any explanation why


@ELNF @Lindsay @PassportSoulmates thank you for tagging me in this conversation, I have also received this message, which has been made less “final” since it was introduced.

An update in response to all of your comments, I am having a conversation with @Katie-MembershipServices and checking on the declined “Sorry, this time it’s not meant to be”. timing trigger and will follow up when I have some news to share.

Thank you again and we do appreciate our member’s feedback and suggestions on this and all other aspects of your membership.


Thank you for sharing this information. Those of us who are not homeowners on the site do not see the options you have, and I had no idea this was the setup. @Angela-CommunityManager and @Ben-Product, surely options could be set up for the HO? For example: ‘Do you want to send a standard message to all applicants (and then give them the option to create it or use a generic one), or would you prefer to respond individually?’ That seems like an easy programming fix to me.


@LTD and whoever originally suggested this, it’s a good idea to require HOs to write a personal note to each of the other applicants before being able to confirm their chosen sitter. This would also deter HOs from allowing 50+ applications to accumulate before making a decision.


I also reply with a personal message if I need to decline an invitation to sit.


That’s something I didn’t know about!

I personally don’t think the homeowner has any obligation to respond to everyone who applied, especially with any sort of ‘personalized message’ or feel like they should read through every application before deciding, unless they feel they want to do either. There are so many opportunities on here–don’t get too attached to any one of them, and if you don’t get picked for one, no biggie, moving on.

And as for changing the ‘wording’ of the messages so people don’t feel badly about not getting picked? That is kind of silly I think…it’s nothing personal.

I certainly have not been accepted for every sit for which I applied --great, personalized introductions, very detailed profile and over 20 excellent reviews. I can’t imagine any HO would look at all of that and think my husband and I were ‘bad’ candidates, but for whatever reason, we weren’t the ones. I don’ think it is so much a process of ‘rejecting’ who you don’t want but rather ‘choosing’ who you do.

I think a lot of people take ‘rejections’ way too personally. HO’s can only choose one person, and who knows what draws them to the person they pick, what they are looking for. Maybe the person had a really good reason to be in the area, like an event or having family nearby. Maybe they have a similar hobby or occupation as the HO and they felt a connection. Maybe the sitter looks like their favorite cousin and there was some sort of subconscious ‘draw’ to them.

We actually get picked for the majority of sits for which we apply, and I think this more relaxed attitude about it definitely helps.

Overall, I think people need to come at this from a more detached space and not take anything personally. Whether it’s a message from a homeowner on a housesitting site or anything else in life, the less we walk around feeling like people ‘owe’ us something, the happier we will be…that is my experience anyway!


I agree that some folks take “rejection” too personally but I do not believe changing the wording is silly. I’m making the suggestion to update it from a practical perspective.

I’ve spent the last decade working in online marketing & conversion rate optimization so I can’t help but pay close attention to the user experience with any service that I use. In my line of work, the goal is always to give the user the best, easiest-to-navigate experience and make them feel valued.

These types of small but thoughtful updates benefit everyone. You and I may have thicker skin than some, that’s ok. Changing the copy to be more thoughtful doesn’t hinder our experience, it only improves it for other users, and is one of those little things that add up to contribute to TH’s bottom line in a positive way. Happy users stick around (pay subscription fees) longer.


I think words do matter, and to ask that THS consider modifying its wording is neither unreasonable nor silly, in my opinion. I have no problem with not being chosen, or with the word ‘declined’. However, THS is hearing from many that ‘declined’ is jarring (my word), so hopefully members services will take note. For example, perhaps being told that someone else has been chosen would be a gentler and more appropriate wording, rather than being declined.


Hi @Lindsay and @Snowbird …thanks for your thoughts. It really wasn’t the suggestion I was talking about, but more the idea of why it would be necessary in the first place, and silly wasn’t maybe the best word to use! Being on the forum, it surprised me to see how personally people take this whole thing and it’s a shame some end up feeling badly or thinking something must be ‘wrong’ with them if they didn’t get selected, or seeing the wording of the notification as some sort of affront. I’m a big believer in energy and things happening as they are supposed to. If there is a lot of negativity around this whole process–feeling badly about not getting picked, pondering why the owner didn’t want them or being annoyed they aren’t getting acknowledgment for their applications, I think that creates a vibe that closes them off to other opportunities and having an easier time aligning with the sits that are best for them! Once those applications are in, just let it go and see what happens…there are so many opportunities and no ‘competition.’ It’s just about finding the right matches!


I don’t take the rejection personally at all if I’ve haven’t been chosen for a sit. We recently got confirmed for a sit before the homeowners even personally emailed us. What is annoying to me is that “common courtesy” and “manners” don’t prevail when a person hits the “decline” button and I’m not the only one that feels like this. A blanket one email can be sent to all sitters who applied on a sit so there is no need to reply to each individual sitter that applied. Mind you I’m from another era - we’re seniors so I still appreciate people who have courtesy and manners.


I understand your position as you’ve expressed it here. My opinion is that I can never say that I was perfect for the sit as I have no knowledge of the other applicants. My reaction may be disappointment, if it’s a sit I was particularly hoping for, but that’s about it. I also always take the position in life that everything happens for a reason.

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