Mixed feelings - First sitter experience

Continuing the discussion from Share Your First TrustedHousesitters Experience:

We just finished our first TH experience. And frankly I have mixed feelings about it. The sitters we booked at 26 sets under their belt and were actually very nice people. They left our home spotless and gave us daily updates on our dogs. The problem was that apparently they booked their next sit too close to the end of our stay and we’re unable to wait for us to get home before leaving. They ended up leaving our dogs locked in our bedroom for six hours and never checked to make sure that our airplane landed and that we got home safely to the state not heard back from them cents even though I myself reached out to them. This is very disconcerting to me and I had expressed I need to ensure that they would be there before we got home and she assured that “things would work out”. They left our home unlocked with the heater set very high. It was an oven in our home. They advised me 3 days left into the sit that they could not stay till we arrived home and that new gig had just confirmed. I tried to change my flight to leave my family and come home early spending hours on hold w airline etc very stressful but with no luck due to holiday travel. What started out great ended so disappointing -

When we end up with situations like this we split up. One of us goes onwards, the other stays to make sure you arrive safely and the pets are ok. When that has not been possible, very occasionally, the pet owner has asked us to take the dogs to a neighbour or nearby friend or even a relation/friend has come round to take over.
It is a very difficult situation but there are acceptable solutions for both parties. I have even been asked not to be there as, I an assuming now, the returning family are too tired to socialise. Everyone is different. Yet again honest communication before and during the sit is the key.

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I agree but our flight landed as scheduled at 11pm so not anyone that was possible to come that late at night. That is why I had asked prior to booking for them to stay over due to the late hour of our arrival - this was the same with our departure which was at 6am so we asked them to arrive the evening prior to our departure which they did / they had lead us to believe there was no issue as we reminded them of our arrival time before we left and they never mentioned any issue about staying etc. it wasn’t until 4 days before our scheduled return that they adbhsed me they had booked another sit and they could not stay - leaving our home unlocked is j acceptable - leaving our dogs unattended for so many hours is un acceptable

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I even spent hours on hold w airline frantically trying to get a flight home earlier leaving my family but couldn’t

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As a sitter I find it really embarrassing to read stories like this and can only say to you that this is really unprofessional and not the normal level of service that the vast majority of sitters would give. Your arrival and their departure times should have been discussed with you so that an agreement was made that suited everyone.
Be sure to be honest in your feedback.

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That was definitely unacceptable. You even gave them an extra night to stay!
Think this another one for the naughty step……

I’m very sad to hear this has happened, especially with experienced Housesitters. I would never want to leave animals, particularly dogs, until the owners returned. However, I have been told by homeowners that it’s ok to leave a dog before they return if it’s been used to being alone for a few hours, but I’m not comfortable with that.

Do you ask the owners to message you when they arrive? That’s one way I settle myself in that situation. My mother always did that when I was travelling.

?? I’m the owner

Sorry that was for smiley. I’m not very good yet.

What was also strange is that the woman got confused as to the start date and texted me she was coming but it was a day early and I texted back that the date of
The sit started the following day but that they were welcome to come a day early as we have a private guest suite with its own entrance ans 2 bathrooms and sitting area etc but she said she got dates mixed up and they would see us the following day - then later in the sit is was clear they never read any part of the welcome packet (which I had also screen shot and texted to them
To ensure they had easy access at all times ) when I asked about it she said she had assumed I would’ve had it printed out for them - as it is we left a cheat sheet of dog food amounts/times as well as how to work remotes and thermostats - oh well

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Yes, that has happened once

I think these are all points that should be mentioned in your review of the sitters. You probably don’t want a future HO to have the same problem. As a sitter and HO, I find the sitters behavior unacceptable.

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How disappointing. You keep saying they so it seems it was a couple. I don’t know why they wouldn’t split up. Personally I’m VERY uncomfortable leaving a sit before the owner returns and I really only do so if they ask it (some people just want to be alone after travel, totally get it) or they’re traveling locally, so delays are unlikely. If I were part of a team, it would be a no brainer that one would stay and one would go to the next sit.

It’s frustrating to read this about someone who has so many sits under their belt and I agree that it’s something you should mention in your review. Especially leaving your home unlocked. That’s completely unacceptable.

Sorry you experienced this.

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@Audreychloe , what a bad ending to what started out to be a flawless sit. This is not typical of good sitters, especially those with a slew of good reviews.

I have had sits where the HO prefers that I not be there when they return because of covid or because they don’t want to have to greet a guest after their long trip. Some HO want me to stay until they return but the majority text to let me know when to depart, either when their plane has landed or if driving, when they are on their way home. Some pets, especially cats or larger dogs, are OK for many hours alone.

Your house should never have been left unlocked with your precious animals inside unless you stated that you wanted it left unlocked. What I have done on occasion when there is a key and not keyless entry is to either leave the keys in a hiding place that I text to the owners or place them in the owner’s lock box.

Sitters should be cognizant of the cost of utilities and out of simple consideration use them responsibly and not run up needless bills.

And there should be no expectation that the HO will have a printed copy of the Welcome Guide. It’s nice when they do but certainly not necessary since it’s available online. I usually print it out myself and shred it after I leave.

Please include all of this in your review, the good and the not so good, and do not give them a 5-star rating. By doing this, you will be helping to maintain the integrity of THS.

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I’m sorry this happened. It all sounds very stressful. I’d be upset if my home were left unlocked and dogs left in a bedroom for hours.

However, and perhaps I missed it, but when they told you 4 days prior that they had to leave by X hour, did you look into having someone (a neighbor, friend, local paid petsitter) come stay with the dogs to cover that bridge of time? Have you discussed any of this with them?

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I do take sequential sits but always make sure the HO understands when I’ll be leaving if I won’t be staying until they actually return to the house.
Make arrangements for where the keys will be ‘hidden’ or for my most recent sit was instructed to leave the house unlocked.
In fact I’ve done a few sits where I have use of the car and drive it to the airport, take a picture of the parking location and text to the HO, leave the ticket in the car and make arrangements for where the keys will be.
Its always worked out and the HO has made arrangements for a friend who can stop in if there is a flight problem

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We’d like to thank everyone for their support and advice throughout this conversation, we hope @Audreychloe that you have found it helpful and reassuring.

There is one recurring message throughout this conversation and that is the the importance of communication and mutually agreeing all pre, on and post sit arrangements so that everyone involved is clearly informed.

Once sit arrangements are agreed there should be no changes except under extenuating circumstances and again direct, open and timely communication is essential to avoid any problems or misunderstanding and always the well being of pets and care of homes are paramount.

We are now closing this conversation and please use the Direct Message option if anyone has any additional thoughts or questions.

Angela and the Team

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