I think a gentle reminder to the community of what this site is about is called for.
We all understand the ethos of what we are trying to achieve. Both parties want what is best for their homes, animals, and travel. We all come together as individuals with different aspirations but one thing unites us, the love of animals and the joy of travel. This is not a site if you are after a five star holiday, lying around in the sun and sightseeing all day. On each listing the owners list what their expectations of the sitter is. Some sits are far harder work than others but all of them have some sort of work/commitment. It’s up to the sitter to chose what sits they want to apply for and up to the owner to read the application and profile and decide if it’s a good fit.
Communication is everything. Each party needs to talk to each other, discuss the finer points and make sure they both understand what the sit entails.
The first point I would like to reinforce is for the potential sitter to read the listing carefully. Don’t just look at the pretty pictures or ooh and ahh over the house or location. Being in NYC is fantastic but being in charge of two dogs who have to be walked three times a day doesn’t give much chance of siteseeing. We all have reasons to visit somewhere just make sure the sit suits your reasons. Make sure you can cope with what is being asked, can you give a cat some pills twice a day? Can you live in a bed sit for two weeks surrounded by the owners worldly goods? Can you stay on an isolated farm in the middle of winter with the nearest neighbours five miles away? At 6pm, with a glass of wine in your hand and the smell of the evening meal wafting from the kitchen it all looks so easy and wonderful. On a snowy winters morning, temperatures below freezing and the water pipes to the cattle’s feeding troughs frozen it’s a nightmare.
Secondly, owners, read the application, look at the profile (and anything else they send a link to) carefully. Don’t get carried away with nice pictures of them with lots of animals. Make sure they are a good fit. If your dog must sleep in the bed with someone make sure that’s ok. If you like your house to be pristine at all times read the reviews.
The last part is communication. No matter how much you want the sit, don’t lie. No matter how desperate you are for someone to care for your animals make sure they are up to it.
This is hard work. From applying to being accepted to doing the sit properly to leaving happy pets and owners at the end, it’s lots of work and commitment. This site is not for someone who sees it as a cheap holiday or a good way to avoid paying rent. From beginning to end the good sitters put a lot of time and effort in getting these good reviews. It’s even harder just starting out as there are no glowing reviews for potential pet owners to read. Your actions and communication have to convince them that you are the right person. I can only imagine what a pet owner goes through, handing over their animals and home to a complete stranger. It must be nerve racking, walking away wondering if everything is set up to the sitters liking. Is there enough toilet rolls (don’t fret, the sitter can buy more if needed). Is the house clean enough? Will I come back and my back garden looks like a jungle?
We all work hard to make this site work. The management team have got one of my nightmare jobs - trying to keep everyone happy and onside. I, for one, do not agree with everything they have done recently but one thing they have done to improve this is to set up this forum. What a difference it has made to me and my experience. I find it very interesting to read about others experiences, expectations and gripes. One thing I have found is I’m not such a fusspot as I though I was was which my husband thinks is hysterical.
So summarise, it’s damned hard work but all can be overcome by communication, (both verbal and written), hard work and a sense of humour. And never give up…….it’s worth it.