"Frustrations" - Helpful Suggestions

We hope to be away all of the summer of 2023 - any chance, Dusenzofe, that we could work out our travel plans to coordinate?

There are no definite plans yet. I can’t just simply walk away from my job to take a few months off :rofl: as much as I would like to do so. So far we only have discussed the possibility.

If it’s going to happen I will choose very carefully, because there’s more to consider than for a shorter absence and I would need to be able to see a potential sitter’s profile.

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I am glad that you have raised the issue about looking at a potential sitter’s profile @Düsenzofe
The Forum is full of advice of really reading a profile and previous reviews before applying and choosing to make sure it is the correct fit. Then I see many members who do not have their profile attached offering to sit for other members and replies saying yes that will be great.
I have been waiting for the right opportunity of raising this. I am interested in why members of the Forum would want to enter into this kind of correspondence without looking at a profile instead of choosing carefully.

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That’s what I was wondering about as well.
Especially for an (eventual) long sit as ours I would want to be extra careful. I have one cat with health issues and he needs some more attention than the usual outdoors allowed cat and I would have to be really sure that the sitters could handle it. I am also already thinking how I would manage to supply enough food. As I make raw food for the cat and cooked food for the tom, we have a freezer, but it’s too small to stow food for 3 months. So either someone is up to making food with lots of instructions from my side (actually it’s pretty easy to do) or to get another freezer for the time of the sit.
Anyway, I would always want to have a look at the sitter’s profile first and see how they describe themselves. Only after finding this positive, I would look at the reviews. The most important thing I look for is reliability and pet care. Of course a clean house is good to come back to, but this not being perfect could be overlooked, a suffering cat, because of neglect or mistreatment, couldn’t.

In fact it would be nice to have a flexible possibility to ask this kind of help.
I have written to this chat before,not sure if my message was published. I am so lucky because I have found really nice honers now! But also I have noticed that people do not care so much just want a service from xdate to y date. I think it would be fair to honers and their plans too, considering also that sitters are often abroad in a foreign country and maybe the flexibility is something important for safety of people, of course we must be independent and provide a plan B…but At list a bit of humanity more it would help expecially because this is an exchange not a work! I have been a host for years, helped so many people in famous pay and free web sites, so I am not new on hospitality matters. Things cannot be so detouched.
For example if you as a sitter ask for a late check out cause if the sitter has a late flight, or a kind help to reach the honer house, or whatever…
Maybe because I have a different way of considering human beings and I care for them even if they are strangers…

Seems like maybe more people travel in the summer months, so sitter demand is high. More sitters might be traveling to other countries, now that restrictions have been lifted.
I’ve also been noticing a lot more listings from homeowners requiring sitters to take on many more responsibilities, than just caring for a couple of pets. Almost like a full time job; such as running a farm, handling Airbnb rentals, caring for several pets (some of which have medical issues). It doesn’t leave much room for actually enjoying the pets and the trip! It also seems like it goes beyond the scope of this platform and the sitter should be compensated.

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but these activities aren’t allowed to be required on this platform!

I wouldn’t take that kind of sit, but since posts aren’t audited after the original listing, it’s up to each of us to determine if we don’t mind doing unpaid work that generates income for the HO.

I think if what the HO requires is much more than
• caring for the pet/s*
• taking in mail & packages
• taking trash cans to the curb
• watering houseplants
• cleaning up after the pet and myself
then those additional chores could be considered “work”, and should probably be performed by someone who is paid to do that work. Again, I wouldn’t take a sit that included such requirements.

In consulting, there’s a term called “Scope Creep” and it’s an insidious way to get more out of the initial negotiation than what you already agreed upon. As an example, if the HO asks, “Oh, would you mind mowing the lawn at some point?” when there was no mention of that previously (What is Scope Creep? - Definition from Techopedia)

It might seem simple for a person to just refuse to that extra work, but there’s always a risk of a poor review, and it seems that’s enough to “put the squeeze” on a sitter to feel obligated.

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* there’s some pet care that is (IMHO) above-and-beyond, as in, when a pet can’t be left alone for less than 4 hours, grooming that’s beyond basic level (trim claws, etc.), or pets that require special medical attention like injections, post-surgery care, treating ongoing infections, etc. Again, each of us has the option to not pursue those assignments, but it’s not OK if that’s sprung on you upon your arrival.

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There are hundreds of comments on this subject all over the forum and I think the whole thing has been talked to death.
I think ( and this is only my opinions) that the conclusion is a sitter takes on what they think is reasonable and jogs on past anything which they are not willing to do. If things are sprung on when the sitter arrives it’s up to them to walk away or stay. The key word is communication. Everything in finite detail should be discussed before the sit is even accepted. I know things crop up but forgetting to say the cattle need mucked out twice a week is a little unbelievable! However, if one of the responsibilities is to look after a shed of cattle don’t be surprised if that’s on the list. THS have not the resources to read every listing before it is posted and they are now finding that old listings which were not monitored before are cropping about in frequent numbers now. Could you imagine the staff( and money) to proof read everything that is posted on this site?
So, back to the subject in hand, do you think there should be a space somewhere that sitters can post their location and dates to help pet owners make decisions on when they book a holiday?

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Yup. Shut down the forums. Nothing else to discuss. :rofl:

a sitter takes on what they think is reasonable and jogs on past anything which they are not willing to do.

which is what I said… but with the added explanation that scope creep has a risk of review blackmail. Also talked to death, I’m sure, but also, clearly still an issue, because it hasn’t been rectified.

Discuss it by all means but the subject doesn’t need to be brought onto every thread. There are least two threads dedicated to that subject.

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Just to answer your question, yes. I mentioned it before and at the time it went nowhere but the situation was reversed (more sitters than sits).
And I am of the mind to agree with all you have said. If I want to do extras, I do. My HOs in turn do extras for me.
We are extra ordinary. :clinking_glasses::sparkles::stuck_out_tongue:

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I’ve re-read your suggestion and now given it more thought. Like many good and well-intentioned suggestions that surface on the forum, what appears to be relatively simple to implement sometimes gets far more complex when details are considered, IMHO.

As a test post, I went to the thread for meetup opportunities - UK as, in some respects, it seemed like a parallel idea. That thread has been active for three months and has 47 entries. Some are repeats/updates from the same members, when they’ve added or amended sits to their calendars. As usual, some posts don’t stay on topic. Scrolling through, I didn’t have the patience to see if, hypothetically, I could meet up with someone, if I were in the UK.

Now magnify that to be applicable to ALL forum sitters (not just UK-located ones). Even if they just posted their available date(s) and preferred locations, it would likely have more entries in the same period of time. Would it become impractical? I think so.

I feel as though I have 101 ideas of how I think things could be improved by THS. Some seem like far less work than others to me, but I’m not skilled in programming. I therefore have to trust (pun intended) that the THS staff continually prioritize and produce as best they can. As a forum moderator, I perhaps have more involvement with THS staff than some members. I am 100% impressed with the dedication I’ve seen by those staff members. Now for me to sit back and patiently wait for ongoing improvements to be implemented, as no doubt they will. How do I know? Because they have for the 7+ years I’ve been a member. :slightly_smiling_face:

Exactly. I have worked for large companies in the past and I have been at meetings where a simple idea turns into a National headache. There are so many good ideas banded about on the forum but where does the staff start?
I haven’t read any of the meet up threads, to be honest, I’m a solitary soul and find meeting new people sometimes very stressful. Animals, now there’s a different subject all together. The only way to find out if it would work on the forum is to try it and see.
Perhaps just a simple (there’s that word again) format

Location
Dates available
Link to profile.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

And if the sitter becomes unavailable it’s up to them to remove their post.

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@ElsieDownie @Snowbird

I think Elsie’s idea is a good one. It’s good to start thinking about how it would work in practice

It would seem logical that if there was a place to post sitter availability, location and dates, it should be broken into different threads for different geographic regions - just like the Meetup threads, which do have some similarities.

It is normal for threads to go off topic here and there. However a homeowner in need of a sitter would probably be more motivated to spend time working their way through the thread than someone considering a meetup - real or hypothetical!

Here in the UK at the moment, there definitely seem to be a lack of available sitters for the sits available. We don’t normally sit in school term time. We could, if the sit was close enough to drive to school/work on a daily basis and the pets routine allowed for this. So there are probably local term time sits that we could do. However I am unlikely to bother to search and apply for them. I would take a couple of minutes to put a post on this forum though, saying that was available in the local area between certain dates, and it might just allow me to connect to a local homeowner we could be in a position to help.

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I am sure it would work!

I would like to explain, giving this example:
Crewmembers in our airline have started a Facebook group for switching vacation dates.
In September we usually request the dates we would like to be off work for the complete next year.
There are, of course, certain times nearly everybody would like to have days off, like Christmas or the summer holidays, but of course, this isn’t possible.
In November the company releases the off days for all crewmembers for the next year. We usually are granted at least one of our requests, but not all of them. We cannot simply ask the company for different dates, we need a matching partner to do a switch.

From then on, everybody, who wants to switch dates, posts in this group, something like this: ( …we use # for the month, but I don’t know if this would work here.)

Offer: #January 4-15, 12 days
Search for: #Oktober any, 12 days

Or
Offer: #March 17-31, 15 days can be splitted
Search: minimum of 5 days in either #April, #July, #September or #December

So if I see offers for dates I am looking for, I scan them for my dates. Sounds complicated, but it’s easy.

If there were different threads for the UK, the US, Austalia and mainland Europe, I am sure that this is a great idea.

Of course everybody would need to read through all the posts. It’s work, yes, but it’s also worth it.

I would suggest that all requests should be sent as personal message in order to not confuse everybody else looking for available sitters. As soon as someone finds a match the sitter should delete the post.

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Sitters may have availability for some dates and want to sit in a certain location during that time but that doesn’t mean they will want to sit for anyone who satisfies those criteria. It could get sticky having to cite a reason to a HO who has invited you. You can’t cite unavailability or location, are you going to tell them you don’t want to sit for their breed of dog, you don’t want to stay in their neighborhood, their home is too cluttered? It could get sticky.

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As a sitter I get turned down without a reason most of the time. It would be the same criteria.
“I’m sorry, you are not suitable” or words to that effect.

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I think that keeping it in a single thread is a recipe for disaster. These giant threads - almost no one is going to read all of the posts. IMO a better solution would be to have an “Availability” section of the forum and each sitter can post their availability in their own thread. Then they can keep updating the title and content of the initial post as time passes to make sure it’s current and HOs can use the search function to search for sitters in their country of need. something like:

Title: Creature Cuddler Avaialblility - France, Switzerland, Italy, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain - Through December 2022

Post:

I am interested in short term sits for cats and dogs who are easy to walk on and off lead and would consider sitting for other animals, including farm animals like chickens, pigs, etc., as long as there is not heavy manual labor involved. Here is a link to my profile if you’d like to see if I’m a good fit: (link)

Note: I’m traveling with a vehicle so I am able to access remote areas but would need free, safe parking in cities.

Last Updated - May 15, 2022

Available Locations

May, 2022

France - 17-30 May anywhere en route from Bordeaux to Geneva

June & July, 2022

Unavailable 5-10 June

Switzerland - Anywhere unless otherwise noted
Zurich Area only - 4-20 July

August, 2022

1-15 August - South or east Switzerland
16-31 August - Northeastern Italy. As far west as Milan, as far south as Bologna.

and so on. Don’t want to bore anyone with my plans for the rest of the year. lol. Anyone searching for any of the countries would see my thread and could check my dates and invite me if I’m a good fit.

Just my $.02. Hopefully eventually the calendar will allow us to provide our locations in a similar way.

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Wouldn´t sharing a google calendar be the quickest, easiest, and most efficient way? Set it up and have a link to it in your profile. You can be up and running in 5 minutes.

Somewhere else people wrote that they wish they were declined for some of the reasons you worry about, because then they wouldn’t invite the same sitters again.
Others who say they aren’t available, aren’t completely truthful anyway. So where’s the big deal? Simply say, no thank you and leave out why, if you don’t want to tell the truth.

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