Frustrated with Last-Minute Changes: Need Advice on How to Handle Sit Cancellation in the middle of Sit

Is this possible? Did you see a sit for this date?
And who is paying the costs for travelling?

If you have premium, I would organise your thoughts, draw a line in the sand with the HO, and potentially report this to TH with timeline of all the changes and basically say that you are unable to make firm plans because of the mercurial nature of the HO’s decisioning. Once you have that firm date, if the HO cancels on you, I would start a claim with the premium insurance so that the alternative housing is covered.

You can lay out options to the HO and then just tell them to choose…

  • HO gives you an earlier set date, they cancel the sit in the system and you leave on that date, which means their pet may not have coverage and you can file a claim due to early cancelation
  • HO leaves the dates as is and lets you know how they plan to accommodate you should they return early (I would phrase it something like this, too so they know it’s on them to figure it out
  • HO leaves dates as is and you finish up the sit as the only party to ensure that both you and HO aren’t violating T&Cs, and HO finds some place else to stay

Keep in mind that there is a co-pay (may not be the right term…sorry my brain’s a bit slow rn) you have to pay on each claim (around $100) and you can not book anything until it’s approved. I would also stress that you have another sit following this one and so you want to ensure any rockiness with this sit does not affect your ability to show up admirably for the next sit.

Lastly, I’d review this HO hard with all the facts of the changes. The kicker here for me?..It would be frustrating to me that no alternative option was even provided to you by the HO with regards to trying to brainstorm on how you’d be accommodated…in this situation as HO, even if we came home early, we would shift the dates to end the sit, then offer you the option of remaining in your sit room until you could find an alternative. (As the sit would have ended, there’s not violation of policy and it’s basically just us hosting a person.) OR, we would go stay with family and leave you to finish up the sit. This is just what we would do though…can’t speak for everyone.

One thing you might clarify up front with HO’s in the future, is their local back up plan for your pet’s care if anything unforeseen happens during a sit.

For example, on my HO site, my Welcome Guide has my brother and my neighbor as backups in an emergency. As a sitter, I always ask for a local contact of someone who could help in case a situation occurs.

I’m petsitting for my God Dog (not on TH) in Santa Barbara at the end of the month. It turns out my handicapped brother has to have out of town surgery that had to be rescheduled. While I was waiting to hear of the rescheduled date, I contacted the homeowner and said that in order to do the sit, I needed to know that she had backup for 1-2 days in case his surgery fell in the middle. She arranged for her daughter to do it. It turned out we got a surgery date before the sit, but we all felt better knowing a backup plan was in place.

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I’m not sure an emergency contact when it’s the HO electing to cancel the sit, would be relevant in my situation. I guess if I decided to leave early I would contact them to come care instead. But that’s a different circumstance.

Maybe I rambled a bit. Sorry. It wouldn’t have worked in this situation because the woman didn’t have a plan B, putting the pressure on you, to change your plans for her. Going forward, if you ask up front for back-up Emergency Contact people, you could tell the HO that you are contacting them to finish the sit. My guess is, the HO would commit to coming back on the pre-arranged day.

As a homeowner…I think the homeowner is responsible for assuring the sitter has an acceptable housing options! If the sitter can’t just go home (as many are nomadic travelers, planned a followup sit close by, home is too far, they were using homeowners car and plane reservations aren’t until end of sit, or whatever reason they were counting on the housing until the end date just as the homeowner was counting on the sitter staying), then they could invite the sitter to stay if all can feel comfortable. Sitters should not be expected to sleep on a couch, share a bathroom, etc.) If that’s not feasible, then the homeowner should pay or find accommodations acceptable to the sitter (hotel, air bnb, friends’ guest house, etc.)


Also, if you have an upcoming sit following, contact those homeowners and let them know what’s happening. Maybe they would want to go away sooner.

This happened to a sitter from abroad right before our sit. He texted alerting us to his situation asking if we wanted to go away sooner. We had air tickets so couldn’t go early, but we happily invited him to come the few days early. (Since we basically have a private apartment in our lower level, it was no problem and even a pleasure having him here. In fact, he drove us to the airport and picked us up upon our return which was an unexpected bonus for us!