How far would you go above and beyond the call of duty for a former HO and their pets?

I think many of us have certainly ever left a sit with a teary eye. The HO was super lovely, and the pets have grown so close to your heart that you would have loved to take them with you.

But how far would you really go if something unexpected happened? The HO dies unexpectedly, gets sick, or has to give up their pets entirely or temporarily for other personal reasons. I’m mainly talking about life-changing situations where they might need help. So how far would you go?

Is there an HO and his pets that immediately comes to your mind?
Have you perhaps thought about it in advance? According to “For HO xxx and pet yyy, I would immediately …”
Would you invest your own money to help? Even with the chance of not getting it back. Of course only if is possible for you.
Would you pick up pets even if it was very far away and costly?
Generally sacrifice your time, free time or vacation for it?
Would you take these pets? Maybe forever or at least until you find them a new forever home.

How do you think about it? Is housesitting just a job and when it’s over it’s over. Or is there much more passion, sacrifice and love for the pets in it than some HO maybe think?

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I’m not sure i would adopt pets as they could become orpheans (it is a risk we took with our new puppy) as we are in our seventies but yes i would try to help.

I could stay more If owners were injured or faced problems,

i would try to find a solution. With their kids, friends, relatives.

I love pets and my husband can manage with our dog if i pet sit alone.
I am not a very experienced pet sitter but i loved all the places where i sat . So it would be easy to stay more If necessary.

This is why it’s so important to choose animals you like, locations you like.
Help does not mean sacrifice.

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I sit full time, so if I plan things properly, I don’t have much time between sits, often leaving a sit one day, catching a plane to start a new sit next day, or within a couple of days so if things went wrong I would need to either cancel a future sit or try to organise cover. However, if needed I would stay. Also, need to consider Visa’s - I sit mostly in SE Asia and different countries have different rules.

But saying that, I have looked after a couple of dogs on Bali 4 times, 4 months, and have been flexible with the owner - changed flight times, extended visa, cancelled sit, last-minute sit. Probably my favourite dogs, and would fit in my suitcase !!


I am always surprised how much I love these wee guys, as my own dogs were always bigger dogs - Springer Spaniels and retrievers, but there is just something about them.

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Not for a former HO but oh my where to start, we have done so many things beyond what we expected when we accepted several housesits. The current sit we are doing is an above and beyond sit. We are on a 6 month housesit for two dogs. One month into the sit, I felt I needed to take the older dog to the vets - sure enough she was ill - she was diagnosed with diabetes.

This was supposed to be a pretty easy sit, but now I have made many, many trips to the vets, having to give 2 injections each day, and haven’t had a full night’s sleep since October. The owners are overwhelmed with thanks. We are still happy to be here, but it is not the responsibilities we were expecting.

At the beginning of Covid, the owner we were sitting for was trapped in India. What a roller-coaster that was, he is coming home, he isn’t, and then came back a month later with two days notice. But we were in Manhattan, anytime I am in New York City, I am happy.

So yep things come up and not always easy. Are there things I wish I could change - yes, but I’m happy to be housesitting any day of the year.

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Definately if it involved the pet we would do what was required. Several times we have been to the vet, paid the bill from our own funds and trusted that the owner would pay us back. Luckily for us they always have but we could never leave a pet in pain or distress so the money does not come into it.
We always leave a bit of leeway between sits for changes of plan but also we have split up for a few days if two sits clashed because of a change of plan. Always good to be flexible.

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What a great question @StefanK
When it comes to pets my hubby and I open the conversation with HOs about what they want us to do should anything happen to their pet(s) to make sure all-important documents and contacts are in place. We then dig a bit deeper and ask the big question “what if your pet(s) decide it’s time to go?” It’s not an easy conversation but I can highly recommend having as it gives really clear guidance. We have had plenty of experiences with visits to the vet or calling out the vet as things can go wrong especially with older pets or when on longer housesits.

Your question inspired me also to have the conversation with HO whether they have made plans should anything happen to them to make sure we can assist as much as possible.

I have learned so much in the last 3 years of being part of TrustedHousesitters.
Every housesit is unique, every furry friend is unique and very special, and I am in touch with most HO (some have become dear friends).
To me, being a TrustedHousesitter is a commitment I love and live but it comes with a great responsibility I take very seriously.

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As the questioner, I would like to give my answers too. The thoughts came to us already at our first housesit in England. The HO was single with two dogs.
What if something happens? What if no one can take the dogs? We had no arrangement for this case. The Eurotunnel was booked, and we had to go home for work in any case. We also knew that we couldn’t bring the dogs in a shelter. So there was only one possibility. If needed, we would take them with us home. When the things are better, then we can discuss with the HO or his family about the return. Even after a sit, we have often asked ourselves: What do we do if the HO asks for help because he can’t take care of his pets.

Would we invest our own money? Let’s put it this way, we wouldn’t think about it at first.
Would we take in one of the dogs that we sat and also pick him up at our own expense? Yes immediately. I would get in the car at 3:00 in the night if necessary.
Would we look for a new home for them if necessary? No, they could stay with us for the rest of their lives. We love them all.

@Jenny described it very well. Being a TrustedHousesitter is a commitment we love and live, but it comes with a great responsibility we take very seriously.

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