Mutually beneficial exchange

I’ve gotten invites from the other side of the country with the bare minimum of civility. I make it a practice to reply to all such invitations, even if the sit isn’t feasible for me. In one case, I wrote the HO, declined the invite, and thanked them for thinking of me.

A week letter I got another invite (??) from the same sit, along with a very frustrated message to the effect of “please advise us how to proceed,” as if I were a robot or could magic myself over to them…

Just ask them to send airplane tickets, book a taxi to the airport, etc :slight_smile:

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I’ve applied for sits in Europe indeed, whereby I’d have to fly in at relatively short notice (few weeks or less), with HOs indicating things like ‘we’ll be leaving around 9 am, so would like you to arrive before that time and meet us before we head out’ as if:

  1. I have anything to say about the departure/arrival times of flights to their destination, let alone that such early arrival would even be available
  2. I would take any flight available to accommodate their request and not look at the cost of the flight that’s e.g. less than 2 weeks out…
  3. Or if that doesn’t work, fly a day earlier & just book a hotel for the night so I can accommodate them better (yes, I like flying out the day before, but I will stay at the HOs place)

I agree with you. I’m a sitter and, so far, have completed one sit, am currently on the second, and have the third sit scheduled for next week. I’m older and am using THS as a way to offset the cost of travel while also allowing me the comfort of a home and the company of pets (pets are life!). I’ve been a homeowner and a landlord so I’m exceedingly respectful of other’s homes and am happy to maintain their level of cleanliness and even do a little extra if it’s for my comfort. I will also strip the bed I sleep in and put sheets and towels I’ve used in the laundry. However, I’m not paid help. I’m here to save the homeowner the cost of boarding their animals or hiring a paid housesitter. I’m always willing to discuss what constitutes an equal exchange of “services”. For example, if someone provided a car for use while I was staying at their home, that is a huge value to me and I would be willing to take on extra responsibilities for that particular perk. Additionally, if the pets are very high maintenance - medication, care, etc. - I would expect the homeowner to recognize that and be willing to negotiate what they can offer for my time and effort beyond just the stay. Not money, but something bartered… a metro card, a neighbor who would be willing to share some duties if I’d like an overnight stay-away, etc. In my opinion, this is about humans connecting, recognizing the value we bring to each other, and treating each other with respect. So far that’s been my experience and I hope it continues.


THIS! I feel exactly the same way.

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I would say the same for HO. I would be reticent to provide a poor review for an HO if it meant that they could retaliate with a poor review of me. I want an HONEST review of how I treated their home and pets, as should anyone, HO’s included, who is honest and caring. I can’t remember what site I used that wouldn’t post any review until both parties had reviewed. In other words, you could both review but you couldn’t see the other one until both were done and posted at the same time. I thought that was brilliant.

I agree with Cuttlefish’s reply. You’re clearly concerned and, frankly, the car thing would have freaked me out too. Chalk it up to a miscommunication (or poor communication on the sitter’s part) and use the experience to hone your “skills” moving forward. :slight_smile:

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Not really an equal exchange when the HO leaves out important info so you don’t get to make an informed decision.
On arrival:
By the way the bookkeeper for my business works out of the office in the house and has a key. Doesn’t have a regular schedule, will text you when she’s coming in.
There’s a handyman coming to fix something, mostly outside but he may need to be let into the house – don’t know what time.
Also, one of the cats doesn’t like to poop in the litter box, instead she poops on the carpet in front of it (so, that’s fun to clean every day).
Also, the elderly cat’s been sick lately, but she’ll probably be fine
The internet is really weak (I will have to cancel zoom meetings)
Also, people should mention in their listing if they don’t have a TV, not something I typically ask since it’s unusual not to have one.

I think I’m done with housesitting. I’m going to do the sits I’ve already committed to, but am not scheduling anymore.


How about “I foster kittens but won’t tell you in advance how many cats will be in the house, I will ask you to handle the adoption of foster cats too, and by the way my neighbour’s two dogs are at home in my house, freely come in and sometimes pee in the kitchen?
You don’t like this? Strange. My previous sitters all loved it.”

This is not fiction.


Not funny I know but honestly, the mind boggles @andrealovesanimals - sending these :hugs::hugs:

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@Cuttlefish Well. It actually is funny, seen from a distance :joy:
Thanks for the hugs.


An experience: - Kittie is allowed to languish to its hearts’ content on the big comfortable bed in the proper bedroom that HO boasts of in the advert. Only when being sent the Welcome Guide, does the HO inform the sitter that they cannot sleep in this bed. Instead, the sitter is shown a foldaway ‘bed’ in a tiny cluttered dreary cupboard of a room. . . . Sit subsequently cancelled by sitter on the grounds of HO not revealing true conditions of the sit, prior to acceptance. :roll_eyes:

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Hmm. The sitter was lucky to get out of this sit before it started!
Before I became a sitter here, I had this idea that pet owners tend to be kind people, but a small minority I have met were super kind to their animals and super mean to me.

somehow this thread about how great the exchange of THS can/should be has devolved into yet another thread of horror stories

You’re right.
Why don’t you post something positive to rescue the thread?

I like your summary, we have completed lots of sits in France, Spain, UK and Ireland. Just about all have been fantastic and felt mutually beneficial. We had 2 that weren’t great both were partly our fault for not looking at the size of the property in one, you couldn’t ‘swing a cat’, not that we engage in swinging cats. Actually given the international make up of the forum is that even an expression outside the UK. (I digress) and the other was two fold we didn’t have experience of chickens and became neurotic about the fox getting them and their boiler broke down when it was -3 and it couldn’t be fixed. It meant we had to go outside to shower in the pool shower and then run back to the house making sure we didn’t slip on the ice. These both happened in our early days with THS and we have been more careful since and have brilliant sits.

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In the US we have a variation on the swinging of cats. It’s used in the negative, as so: “You couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Starbucks in Seattle.” Generally meant to indicate that there are too many/too much of a thing so that if one swung a cat you would certainly hit one. Interesting that our cats are dead though. Perhaps by gunshot? And speaking of which, please make some room for me and my adult son as we’ll be defecting in a year if things go as expected.


Interesting how these phrases come into use. I actually looked it up
What Is the Origin of the Saying "Not Enough Room to Swing a Cat "? This saying derives from the 16th Century, when sailors were punished by being whipped with a cat o’ nine tails.

I really hope things don’t turn out as you imagine. I am actually Irish but live in the UK.


Well, that entomology makes sense. Glad to know it. Thank you. Fingers crossed on the other. I’m my favor is my dual citizenship with Italy. :+1:

Oh no, ‘Systaren’, don’t give up on House sitting… there are some fantastic experiences and new adventures ‘out there’! We’ve (husband with me, so I have support when some thing may needle me!) travelled extensively and met amazing pet owners and pets over the past ten years. There has been only one Host out of 55+ who was hard work with the Sit very one sided; perhaps there were one or two others that were a little different to the profiles given but we consider those “life experiences for a short time” which make excellent dinner party conversations!!
(before I’m ‘chatted’, naturally we maintain confidentiality but the essence of the tale can be a hoot!).
So, ‘Systaren’, select carefully and good luck, I’m sure you’ll find fabulous appointments!