Home owner vs Home sitter imbalance - why aren't we held up to the same standard?

Hi @Lassie
I’m always open for improvement so would love to take a look at it! :blush: thank you!

Sounds great @Lassie, I’d like to see it, too. I’ve written my first guide, but I’m sure there’s room for improvement!

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If any sitters are interested, this is the form I send to HO upon agreeing to a sit. It’s a constant work in progress; with every sit I amend it slightly because I learn something new…for example. I’m going to add a caveat, in the event the house is inhabitable or the pet care requirements are not as described/agreed upon, I will end the sit early, with sufficient notice.


So after that first page, four more pages.

How do your HOs react?

I would not like it if I was a home owner. I might cancel if there was another applicant that seemed ok.

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They react fine. 4 out of 5 have filled it out. 5th one had their own welcome guide but that was also a lesson because that guide contained borderline-OCD instructions but I only saw it a week before the sit and it was too late to cancel.

Considering I’ve received 10 page home and pet care instructions before, this is nothing.
It states clearly at the top that they don’t have to fill it out if they already have that information in a welcome guide or somewhere else. Majority of the questions are about their pets and home anyway, so if they don’t care…red flag.

But going forwards, I won’t agree to a sit/will cancel if I don’t have this information before a sit. I can have this form open during our video call so they can verbally tell me this info.

An ‘applicant that seemed OK’ - what does that mean to you? Someone who doesn’t ask questions about your pets wellbeing or home security? Because if we have learned anything from this whole thread is that HOs don’t always provide (full) information, so sitters have to take on the mental and emotional labour to make sure they have everything they need.


Agreed - I have done around 6 pet sits now and I’m finding it so common that the sitter is at a disadvantage - iv cleaned most if not all house for HOURS because I cant work and live in a place that is dirty, iv arrived to dirty dishes, no clean linenetc - however if the owner is a nice person there is really no way to give honest feedback and reviews. Pet sitters can’t even rate HO which is unfair.

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I am a sitter who does this to spend time with animals after my own died after having them 22 years.

On sits I continue working online. I really only leave the home to buy groceries and walk dogs and not for sightseeing at all. There were sits this first year, where I watered the grounds/gardens every single day which took between 1.5 - 2 hrs each time. I have my own properties, that I still maintain, so do not need accommodation either.

So paying for a hotel, in the alternative to THS, would be non applicable in my case and perhaps for other sitters too. The benefit gained is time with the animals. And there is an awful lot of daily work (and potential stress) that goes into taking proper good care of someone’s sacred home, garden and beloved pets.

Best wishes


Please don’t put all sitters into that category. I’d like us to remember the (hopefully many) people who do sitting for the love and care of animals. Please see my post above :point_up_2:t3:

It was only after I joined that i read, people used it for travel, holidays and free accommodation… I wonder if it is in fact now being marketed that way???…:pray:t3:

Many thanks

I feel so grateful for what THS has introduced into my life. There is so much that is very good about it. It would be sad if the quantity over quality trajectory continues, resulting in the higher ethos and committed members leaving, which would skew things for the worse.

I too feel concerned about the imbalance of reciprocity and equity, which could be exploited if desired. Most of the time it is thankfully not. But is it not for the best, longer term, for any inherent biases and disadvantages for either party, to be reviewed and addressed to uphold good ethos and standards? Some inequalities are just screaming out to be dealt with, and with ready, simple solutions, and IMO, a bad idea to just ignore.

Because it is not accurate.

So many sitters do not “need or want housing”. Just time with animals and opportunity to help someone get away without using kennels/catteries.

I hardly went away in 22 years when I had pets. I had 2 holidays in 18 years at one point. Now I know about THS, and my pets have died, I want to help people get away with peace of mind knowing their pets and home are in safe hands…. I thought that THAT what THS was all about.

Am I wrong/naive in thinking that? I’d like to hear from others if they are just wanting free housing as mentioned in the quote, or sitting for altruistic/animal loving reasons. Is there a way of having a poll? Saying if we do this for a) free housing, b) free travel accommodation, c) to be with animals and help their owners avoid kennels/catteries…

If we are going to judge others, should it at least be done based on accurate information?


Gosh @Fluffyfrens. These experiences sound shocking and I’m sorry you had to go through that., I would have felt vulnerable & alone. Especially if i went abroad, which i have not yet. But this is one of the main reasons I don’t. What to do if it is really horrendous like in your real life examples? It really is in the interests of no one, to leave such cases without redress.

If someone thinks it’s a privilege for me to stay in their awesome house, and if they think that’s my reason for doing it, I don’t want to pet sit for them. I want to spend time with animals, and give them love. This might be combined with staying in an area I like.


I pet sit in exchange for housing in places where I want to visit. I love having the animals, so it is not JUST free housing, but the animals are not my primary reason for doing a sit. I have animals at home, volunteer at our local animal shelter, and have a pet-sitting business, so I don’t need to sit at someone’s house just to get my pet fix.

I’m also a HO here and all of my sitters have wanted to visit because they were coming to my city for other reasons and/or were digital nomads traveling from sit to sit. I don’t think any of them came just because they wanted to spend time with a shy cat! Even if that had been their sole reason, they are still receiving a benefit from staying at my house - the pet company that they want.

That is me, kind of. I am primarily on THS for spending time in a change of environment, in places that are interesting to me. I could live in a tent, but this is more comfortable. I am not hunting for anything grand (almost any ordinary home is much more comfortable than a hotel room).

Daily dog walks on new streets are also nice, and I have encountered some really delightful dogs, but those could certainly be found closer to home.

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For me, it’s the combination of the 2.

I get a lot from meeting and caring for different animals. Those connections are priceless.

But at the same time, my goal is to experience as many new places for as long as I can. Looking back, travel has been the most rewarding thing in my life and I always want more.

A pet sitting exchange allows me to accomplish both. When done right, it’s a fair exchange for both parties. I’m a paid pet sitter when I’m home because without the benefit of travel it’s not equitable.


Same. I have made connections with pets and their people, to the point where two pets who have died–their people reached out to let me know and thank me for being a part of their lives.


Yes, that happened to me too. Really nice people, I will get in touch when I have a sit in their city again.

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Have to admit - I didn’t read all of your post - but what I did read, I couldn’t agree with more. I had issues with dog on one sit, but I didn’t put this in the review for fear of a bad response - which makes the review less than helpful to the next sitter. As I suspect most sitters do this, it makes the review pretty academic. I agree that neither side seeing the review until both have posted and definitely agree that HO should also have more ratings.
Just to say, I did put in a roundabout way about the dog in my review which most sitters would pick up on.
However, the HO said one thing to me and really meant another - and all in all sent me mixed messages and didn’t seem to appreciate the lengths I went to in caring for her dogs and home.
I went above and beyond in the sit

I record a video of the home upon arrival (for myself, to have a record of the state of the place as I found it) and on the ‘checkout’, especially if I’m leaving before the owners return (which has been the case in 3/5 sits this year) for them to see how I’m leaving it. I also ask if they’d like me to put some food in the fridge for them, especially if they’re arriving late at night or the location is remote.

I have had owners sending me video tours via WhatsApp and it’s great but some people don’t know/can’t use it.

I currently have a sit scheduled for a lady who is partially sighted. I need to call her for every question and information, which is understandable. (I stil don’t have the address and the sit is in 16 days). Maybe she has a physical, printed guide at home, made by her friends/family/neighbours. She has great reviews, that’s why I’m OK with basically going in blindly.

‘Needs housing’ sounds utilitarian to me: a need to have a roof over one’s head. That’s a valid reason for house sitting: it solves a problem for people who need accommodation, and in a very inequal society, offers a chance for the housing ‘haves’ to give something back to the ‘have nots’.

And as we know, people sit for all sorts of other reasons: pleasure in the company of animals, desire to travel, change of scenery, break from usual routine, experience other cultures, holiday, desire to be part of a community and meet others, opportunity to visit family/friends, escpe from city, escape to city… and various combos! (I wonder what a list of reasons for offering sits would include?)

Surely any reasons for sitting are vaild - as long as sitters care well for home and animals? I love that hosts, sitters and animals all benefit. For me it’s about relationships of mutual respect, with a good dash of altruism. Judgment only comes in when someone - host or sitter - takes advantage, or shows lack of respect and care.