Interesting question! My first THS sitters (who were wonderful) broke a handmade bowl. It was fairly expensive and turned out to be irreplaceable BUT all our dishes are handcrafted ceramics we’ve collected over the years, and we expect them to be used. They felt terrible, of course, but I just told them these things happen when you live with art! At least my animals were all healthy and content. And I didn’t mind them waiting to tell me til I got back, nothing anyone could do at the time. They saved the pieces for me, which made me happy because I’m a mosaic artist and made a pretty butterfly with them Anyway, I think you did the right thing and I’d just wait til they get home.
We include the following in our correspondence with the HO:
Precious or Delicate Items
While we are very careful and will treat your home and belongings as we would our own, accidents do happen. Please put away anything valuable, precious or irreplaceable prior to our arrival.
On one of my earliest sits “way back in the day” when I was still apprehensive and felt like I was walking on eggshells, I smashed a bust figure.
The owners had just left for their trip to Italy and said not to contact them unless it was a dire emergency. I was literally moving in bringing in too many bags at once.
I turned and my shoulder bag knocked it over smashing it to bits.
I was mortified and spent the next 3 weeks searching for a replacement. Turned out to be a very expensive piece. I put all the bits in a paper sack.
When they returned they simply said, “No worries. It will be a fun project to put back together”
They were, are, extremely kind people and we stayed in touch for quite some time.
Knock wood, it was the first and only time.
I’ve had a few mishaps in my sits. I wait until the HOs return before telling them - unless it is a mishap that they could do something about and I’ve only had 1 of those.
The folks I’ve sat for have been fine with that approach.
Tell them now. I broke an ornament once. It was a one off so no replacement. I told the home owner immediately. What a relief, her reply, “oh it’s ok. My daughter broke it as well last month. It sticks together very well “
I was cleaning a stove once and the whole top panel with the clock, timers and various controls slid out of line. I was really worried, told the homeowner right away and she said it always does that and not to worry. I have broken and replaced two glass coffee carafes-one I mistakenly put on a gas burner and melted the handle, and I have no idea how a piece of glass chipped from the spout of the other.
Accidents happen. We have always replaced broken things or left money for the house owner to buy another. I would never hide something that was broken or deny my involvement.
in my experience, it is just part of life and most people who have pets and are enjoying the joys of travel are not overly attached to “stuff”. That is not to say that sitters do not need to be diligent, mindful and respectful.
I have learned to not stress. If we do our best, when things happen we manage as best we can.
As always there are always exceptions.
We’re currently on a house sit and arrived last night. This morning when I woke up, I found a chewed pair of eyeglasses on the kitchen floor and thought “oh no - hopefully it’s not the homeowners’ glasses”. Turned out it was my husbands. Just inexpensive ones but thank goodness it wasn’t mine - very expensive prescription glasses. The dogs are young and I feel we should have been warned to not leave anything within their reach to chew. We’re not annoyed about this but I feel like I should tell them for future house sitters but my husband said not to bother. Feedback?
I would appreciate reading this in a review. You could mention that at this time, when the dogs are whatever age they are now, they chew anything within reach and managed to chew up a pair of eye glasses. This info would not keep me from applying for the sit- one of my favorite sits was for a tall, 70 Ib puppy that was able to reach anything chewable unless it was in a closet or on a very high shelf, but could save someone else’s valuable possessions from a similar fate.
I recently read a brutally honest review by a sitter that helped me avoid a very bad situation. I was so thankful. And earlier today I read a delightful review left by a sitter who enjoyed the sit and said very nice things but toward the end said if you need a very tidy place this is not the sit for you. A big thank you to that sitter too.
These things happen. Sometimes it’s a first time incident and not an ongoing problem. When anything happens, I always tell the owners as part of my update for their own awareness. Animals will “act out” when their normal routine is disrupted or if they are missing their people.
For me it’s just part of the process. I’d mention it , just like I said for their own awareness and not so much as a complaint or expected replacement. In all probability they will offer but for me it’s no big deal.
We had this happen but to the expensive prescription glasses and wondered what to do. In a daily update we included a pic of the desecrated glasses and just said “whoops!” rather than putting them on the spot - the HOs we’re amazing. Said that’s why we have insurance, here’s the address of the local optometrist, go & get them replaced & we will sort it with them. Incredible! We’re returning in a few months too.
I burned a pan forgot the stewed apples on the stove.boiled up vinegar and bicarbonate soda a few times came up a treat.phew very fussy owners glad I resolved it. They must have thought I liked vinegar a lot half a bottle gone.
Hi @Globetrotter if you weren’t pre warned about this, I’d mention it to the HO as most are grateful for this feedback and will want to rectify it for you and avoid the same issue for future sitters. The pet behaviour may have changed due to their humans being away and you being new in their lives. Tell the HO now but at the end of the sit send them a message saying “May I suggest you include in your welcome guide details about … as this was not covered.”
Hi Crookie - yes that’s exactly what I plan to do and thanks for your feedback. Future sitters should definitely be warned about not leaving things within the “chewing” range of the dogs There was previous sitters but nothing mentioned but I definitely well.
Excellent advice. Might adopt this approach ourselves.
I recently broke a teacup on a sit where the only dishes available were handpainted and colourful pottery, obviously old and chipped. I informed the owner after the sit was over and her reaction was Oh no those are x-name artist’s handmade cups. I looked on the artist’s webpage and a cup was £100. I offered to come over and give her a day’s gardening as recompense, as I wasn’t going to buy it. Eventually she recovered and said Thank you - it’s just a cup.
Hmm, I am dealing with a similar problem now, but in my case it is not just one item (like your vase), but a number of things that got ruined during my stay - and the home owners will come back in a few days!
I wonder to what extent we, as house sitters, are obliged to replace broken items and/or offer some other sort of damage reconciliation? In detail, this is what got ruined during my stay:
- A locking clip on the dog’s harness broke when she pulled hard and I didn’t let the lead go, and it cannot be fixed.
- The dog ruined a gel-filled cooling mat she was resting on during the heat wave, by chewing on it while I was not watching.
- An upholstered chair in the living room got a hole which wasn’t there before. I don’t know how it happened - either the dog chewed on it or the cat scratched it open.
- The automatic ice-maker in the fridge door stopped working. I don’t know why. I did not violate it in any way.
Am I liable to replace any of these or to offer some payment for the damages occurred?
@Vanessa_A Thank you, Vanessa!