How do homeowner's protect their pets and homes during a sit?

Hello @hazelanibunny
I’m really very sorry to hear this and can understand how very upset you would have been after your holiday and long journey home. You definitely should give an honest review of the sitters. As someone else has asked, was this their first sit?
I don’t think you’re overdramatising this at all, and it was very good of you to accept the sitters’ dog as I know that is uncommon. So, rather than never use THS again (because believe me there are far more excellent sitters than bad ones) ensure you really interrogate prospective sitters and go with your gut reaction when choosing in future.
I recently got a text from the owner of a home I’ve sat before and will be returning to next year. She has 2 dogs and has had several sitters in the past all having been excellent. Unfortunately very soon before their holiday they had no applicants, so I advised her how to improve her listing. She got one response, a young couple with a child. Unfortunately the owners were unable to meet the sitters before they left nor upon their arrival home as the sitters had left. She was very upset to return home to a dirty house and had to spend the morning cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms. They’d also left clothes for her to take to charity shops! The sitters were also rude about one of the dogs, who is elderly, saying they should put him down. I know how much the dogs are loved so that was a particularly unpleasant and unnecessary remark.
I advised her to give an honest review of the sitters (it was their first sit and they only had one reference) and she gave them 3 stars but it was diplomatically worded. The sitters said the home was dirty on their arrival (which I know it wouldn’t have been having sat for them and no such comments from the other sitters) and they retaliated with 1 star in their feedback. I think the sitters have done themselves no favours and will likely struggle to get sits in future.
Yet again, another reason why we are all crying out for THS to have a blind review system like Airbnb which is apparently in the wings.


Such a statement can only be made after having heard both sides. So, let’s not jump to conclusions, shall we?


This is not a court of law.

In this case, the home owner’s account is very convincing. To me, it actually sounds rather understated.


Nor is it anarchy, where anybody can accuse anybody of anything they please

Hi @hazelanibunny
This is truly shocking. Leaving your home a mess isn’t acceptable but not looking after or mistreating your fur babies should be reported to THS support as this person has no place being on THS. I do hope THS removes them immediately.
Please post the facts as stated above in your review. This way hopefully no other HO accepts them.
Things like this make me very angry for your pets, for you and that people like this exist.


I’m so sorry this happened to you, hazelanibunny! Yes, definitely leave a review to help other HOs. Don’t worry about retribution, if your sit is attractive, there will be other sitters who are interested even if one sitter leaves a bad review.

She didn’t accuse anyone by name. She related her experience. There’s no “accused party” here. No one’s reputation is getting bashed.

Based on your Us and Them post, you seem to just have an aversion to anyone discussing anything that went wrong on a sit. If you don’t want to listen to people who’ve had a bad experience, don’t. No one is forcing you to.

Based on this:

You seem to have a different rule for yourself. Why are you allowed to complain about people who aren’t here to defend themselves and tell their side of the story?

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I never said she did. @pietkuip called the sitters “these awful sitters”. The exchange you are quoting was with him and not the OP

And this?

You sound like you’re accusing her of making the whole thing up.


The people described by the OP were not good sitters.

I did not call them “awful people”. It is quite possible that they are charming people.

@radarinc is certainly gaslighting, at a minimum :frowning:


Anyway, let´s give it a rest.
It only proves that a forum platform without proper threading is pretty much useless … it only creates misunderstandings and confusion

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As a long time sitter on THS I have learned over time to take photos when I arrive and when I leave in case there is any dispute and also because a small percentage of my sits haven’t been very clean. I think this might be advisable for owners too, take photos as you leave because that is how you want your home to look when you return. For me also I want to check if expensive kitchen hobs, worktops etc are scratched as I have found myself thinking before, did I do that? when I didn’t. I keep in regular touch and send photos. I think these sitters don’t represent Trusted Housesitters at all and it was a bad experience. The important word is Trust on both sides


After reading and commenting on this thread I have woken up this morning to more comments which makes me think I must be so naive. I have been on this site for six plus years, regularly pet sitting, meeting wonderful animals and pets, living in pristine homes and looking after beautiful gardens. I have never faced any of these problems (knowingly) highlighted in this and other threads. The homeowners come back to a clean and tidy house and if I can’t do the laundry then the bed is stripped and towels are waiting in the dirty linen basket. If there is an overlap we cook a lovely meal for everyone and hear about all their adventures while they were away. We have never been marked down for leaving a dirty home, unwatered garden or unhappy/sick pets.
Am I living in a alternate universe and they are all just being nice to my face and are disgusted with my care and actions?

Am I naive and easily pleased?
Does my sixth sense work better than other sitters and I know when to walk away?

I am so confused how sitters and pet owners get themselves into so much drama.
Red flags are raised, take notice of them and walk away.
Ask questions and listen very carefully to the answers.
Do a video call before acceptance and ask for a walk through of the property and garden.
Don’t kid yourself that you can cope with something that overwhelms you already.
If something bothers you already don’t accept the sit or sitter. There’s always someone/something better coming along.
If all else fails book an Airbnb/space in kennels and forget about pet sitting.

My conclusion. I’m just going to be as naive, easily pleased as usual. I’m still going to ask lots of questions, look and listen very closely and accept all these wonderful sits which want me.

“Viva Trusted House Sitters”


Review is done. I tried very hard to leave out emotion, and parse it down a bit. Time will tell what comes next. I will say that if communication had been as valued by the sitter as it was by me, much of the issues I had could have been avoided. But communication did not seem to be a priority.

In reply to Radarinc, yes, I was tired, having been in 6 time zones and awake for over 24 hours.

My first response should have been to take pictures once I saw what wasn’t right, but my dog was happy, jumping all over, the cats were happy to see us, and the first thing I noticed was the filthy floor. Perhaps this does not bother you, but I have tile floors and we don’t wear shoes in the house, so feeling dirt, sand, plant material, etc under my feet compels me to vacuum before I bring in my luggage and spread it out on the floor.

Again, that is how I deal with things. Clean house upon arriving home is important to me.

My hurt dog was not noticed right away because she was too excited, running around with joy, so by the time she calmed down (Golden mix, lots of joy, so it takes awhile for all of that to be released) and I had a chance to give her a nice belly rub, the sitters were gone and I had to ask them by text message, giving benefit of doubt as I had no idea, what had happened to my dog. I was told they knew nothing. That’s when I became angry.

Hopefully you never have a similar experience.


I am so so sorry this happened. I hope your dog will be okay. I would like to urge you to leave an honest review. Right now sitters like that make it into someone’s home simply by being in the first five to respond. They are giving THS and all the wonderful, considerate and responsible sitters here a bad name. First five does not equal trustworthy.


I was thinking the same! I agree with all of the points that you make, and have wandered the same things! I don’t know how people seem to get into such bad situations!

My membership is easily my best well spent the last couple of years. I love when the holidays roll round and I get to go housesitting!


As a HO - I would be horrified if anything happened to my dog @hazelanibunny

I’m so sorry this happened to you. I’ve had uncomfortable situations and one not-great experience with a sitter who left my dog alone overnight, but nothing like this. In the future, take pictures.

If you’re worried about retaliation, remember that you can always comment/reply to their review.

Breaks my heart to hear of your experience. I’m both a HO and a petsitter on this site. Fortunately I’ve never had a bad experience with people who have come to my home—still some were better than others, but nothing like you expressed.

Don’t give up hope. You definitely get better at reading between the lines, after awhile. I just looked up my sitter profile and the Reviews are pretty obvious, with my References boldly stated below. I’ve given people a chance, that are new to TH, but only if they had 3 or 4 references. If someone doesn’t bother with external references when they are getting started on the site, I pass them by.

I wish you the best as you resolve this issue and encourage you to give TH another try.

I had the same experience with a hob and worried myself to death until the owners returned and confirmed it was marked by them

@ElsieDownie same here. You couldn’t have said it better!

I often wonder the same thing!