Information on Welcome guide or list of questions on first sitting

Dear all,
I am relatively new to Trustedhousesitters.
I applied for my first house sitting a few months ago, I am due to start in exactly 20 days from today.
I have not received the Welcome guide yet. I asked for it a couple of weeks after I was assigned, the pet parent said that I was going to get it closer to the date. Now she says she’s busy, but she’s working on it.
The sitting is approaching, I do not want to put her under pressure, but I want and I need to start asking some questions.
Because this is my first sitting, I want to get it right as much as I can and avoid last minute doubts or finding about something not expected, etc…
I am going to do a house sitting with a 16 year old female cat.
Could I please ask if you have a list of usual questions or you could provide me with the standard information included in the Welcome guide? I have my own questions, there might also be something I might not think of yet.
I appreciate your help on this.

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@mokina, I am sorry you have not received your welcome guide yet. I am sure this is disheartening as I can totally understand you needing answers to questions.

I would continue to pursue a copy of that Welcome Guide, but I see the following info to be of most importance at this time:

  1. Address, contact info, emergency contacts (neighbor, family member, vet, etc.)
  2. If driving, you need to know about parking, etc. If coming by public transit, you need to know what is available, how close, etc. as well as shops near for food, medical, etc.
  3. Pet schedule. Request a copy of the routine (sleeping, eating, etc.) so you know what to expect.
  4. Full timeframe of when you are expected to arrive and depart.
  5. What is expected of you as far as maintenance of home (departure cleaning, etc.)
  6. Wifi and streaming info

This is just a start but I am sure others will have more info and insight as to what you need. As I said, continue to push for the info and advise you must have all this info prior to arrival for a seamless handover.

Good luck and hopefully she will get it to you soon!

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Thank you Debbie.

Hi Mokina,

This blog article may help.

Sounds like the first sit for the PP as well. As long as you’re both communicating well—even if she’s busy—I’d say that’s a good sign.

Hi Geoff,
Thank you for sharing the link.
The pp has already got some sitters, the last one this year.

Hi Molina,
I’m not sure the welcome guide will provide you the information you want. Can you arrange a chat with the homeowner? It might be best to get information directly.

Mokina - see if you can arrange a mutually convenient time for a phone call or other direct contact with HO. The Welcome Guide may not cover your specific questions and a 15 phone call may. Most HO are willing to talk about any concerns about an upcoming sit.

As a HO, here is the information we leave in our Welcome Guide. The sitters get a PDF electronic version and we have a printed copy at home also.

  • Contacts
  • Us
  • Family and landlord
  • Emergency
  • Internet & Utilities
  • Wifi
  • Our cat
  • Description
  • Food and water
  • Litter
  • Habits
  • The house
  • Address
  • Description
  • Kitchen
  • Coffee machine
  • Electric Range
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge
  • Mail
  • Plants
  • Snow removal
  • Waste disposal
  • TV entertainment system
  • Utilities
  • Main water valve
  • Water heater
  • Electrical Panel
  • Electric heaters
  • Air exchanger
  • The neighbourhood
  • Activities
  • Groceries
  • Hardware store
  • Pharmacies
  • Pet shop
  • Public Transport
  • Restaurants
  • Shopping Centre
  • Taxi Services
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Hi @Mokina. In addition to the great suggestions above, I always ensure I get information (name, address, phone) about the usual vet and the closest emergency vet.

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Today I was not able to access to the forum until now.
Thank you for all your posts and for your advice, I really appreciate it.
Yesterday evening I exchanged some messages with the PP. She said she’s never done a welcome guide, instead she previously left a big letter in the house.
I asked if I could get a copy of the letter by email and told her that It would be a great help in getting ready for the sitting and in case I might have some questions.
I am waiting for a response.

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Just go ahead., and ask your questions! Why wait for a ‘welcome pack’? Personally if I was in contact with someone regarding a sit and they told me they were ‘too busy’ to keep me informed I would be somewhat ‘put out’ and wondering if I should be sitting for them. If you are being treated casually then that isn’t right and I would be suspicious as to why they are so casual, you are doing them a favour after all! As for questions: Will you have your own room? bathroom, is the cat well? Will someone be there to meet you when you arrive? What about electrics, water, gas, neighbours etc. The list is almost endless; get asking and if you don’t get a decent response cancel the sit.

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I assume @Mokina has already confirmed the sit, so she really needs to be careful about canceling. I’d hate for her to get some kind of black mark from TH.

I don’t work for TH and I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, but at the very least, one should contact Membership Services before actually canceling a sit.

And I don’t think a sitter even has a “cancel sit” button? Only HOs/PPs can “unconfirm”?

If a sitter or a HO can’t be bothered to behave reasonably regarding communication I would have no hesitation in cancelling the arrangement, regardless as to whether the sit has been confirmed or not. To me that is an ‘extraordinary circumstance’! Maybe the sit has been confirmed and maybe we don’t know the full circumstances but on the basis of what I have read I stand by what I have written. If the woman can’t be bothered to communicate I wouldn’t agree to the sit.

Hi all,

Thank you again for your posts and for your help and advice on the matter.

Ken, I understand your point and I might agree with you. However, as a new member and not having experience as a house sitter, I am trying to follow the rules before doing things in my own way.

For this reason I first contacted THS support who advised me to post in the forum and ask for advice.

As far as I know a Welcome guide should be sent shortly after a sitting has been confirmed. I was confirmed in September, I am due to start in 2 weeks and 2 days.

I take your notes (doing a favour, cancelling etc…), however I do not want to miss an opportunity as well. The call I had with the PP was the first (and only one for the moment), she told me that I was the only sitter who decided to call and asked me if I wanted to sit for her pet within just few minutes of chat. This gave me a tremendous sense of trust.

After recent lack of response, there was a moment I started getting suspicious this week. However, then I saw that the other two sitters wrote very good reviews, I checked their profiles, they have a lot of experience and possibly there was no need for a Welcome guide from their side, beside some possible specific ad hoc information. I guess her lack of communication was just genuine. She also appeared very kind in asking if I am set for Xmas and she offered a lift to a local supermarket from her family.

After all this talking, the PP came back to me yesterday evening with a start of a Welcome guide! She said that she’ll work more in the weekend to provide more information. I find it quite complete. I started with a few questions. I know the address as well, eventually I know where I have to go!

It is a good start and I want to thank you the ones who provided with positivity, this has attracted good energy in finding a solution by keeping a good relationship, something I was mostly looking for.

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I’m pleased it is working out for you. If you are content with the arrangements that’s all that matters. A welcome pack isn’t obligatory but it would seem to me that some people , being poor at providing details, are 'encouraged by the site to provide a ‘welcome pack’ I’m a little more ‘strict’ with regards communication. If I don’t get a decent rapport straight away then I won’t proceed with arranging a sit. My attitude is, rightly or wrongly, if someone can’t be bothered to have a good relationship regarding a sit straight away then I ask myself how good will they be with my pets or in keeping to the arrangement!

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I am currently on a sit that has inspired me to come up with a list of questions I am going to ask for written answers for prior to the sit. In addition to the welcome quide. I am still working this up but most important is asking what the back-up plan is in case things don’t work out? We travel as a couple so it would be extreme that we would both have to leave but it could happen. Or what if the dog just refuses to have you in the house? Or the cat tries to bite you every time you try to give it insulin. We are experienced sitters but twice now the pet was not really as tame as advertised and while we were able to make it work it was touch and go.

I think out of the 20+ sits I’ve done, I only had one official welcome guide added. With the rest, they’ve done what your home owner said and left me a couple of sheets of paper with info. It could be that she’s a cat, generally pretty easy to look after, and that would explain why she’s relaxed. If you have enough time with her before she goes, that’s likely enough time to give a handover and ask any questions off the back of that. Most are also available to get in touch with when away with anything you might have forgotten. Hopefully she appreciates you being super conscientious.

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I find it incredible that people say they are ‘too busy’ to do something! I wouldn’t go ahead with the sit if that was the sort of person I was dealing with!

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Wow. I am a homeowner and sent mine as soon as the sitter accepts as I want them to have as much time to familiarize themselves and ask questions. The online guide has a ton of incredibly important questions that I wouldn’t have thought to include. I can’t imagine not having this resource as a sitter. Hopefully, you can impress on the homeowner that you really are looking forward to the guide so you can be prepared for emergencies, to take care of their pets and home as they’d want, and to make it an easier transition for their pets and their sitter, and maybe ask for the date that you can expect it.

HOWEVER, the print version of the online guide is horrible and so I downloaded it and copy/pasted every question, created a pdf and email it to the house sitter. I also let them know that we also have a printed version in a notebook so they need not print it out unless they want to. I am very detail-oriented and probably include more than absolutely necessary, but all our sitters said it was extremely helpful and they appreciate more than less. I now make edits only to the offline version. (Note: Perhaps they completed it and are having issues printing it, trying to get it right. If you have a convo and it feels right, maybe let them know you are okay with reading it online if printing it is causing issues…)

(I WISH the THS online doc could print well formatted with larger font, and also that we could upload a document instead of answering online…until this happens, I’ll continue with my offline version.)

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