Red flags that come up after agreeing to sit

I tend to feel very obligated once I’ve agreed to a sit. I’ve given my word and I fully intend to keep it. I’ve driven toward a hurricane to keep a Florida sit once! I feel a pressure that it’s only under pretty extenuating circumstances that either the owner or the sitter cancels.

But what if red flags don’t come up until after you’ve agreed to the sit? Is there a graceful way to bow out? Is it okay to say “I don’t think this is a fit after all”? I don’t want to leave anyone in the lurch, certainly. But sometimes issues you wish you could avoid don’t come up until later.

I’m on a sit now where things started out fine in the application process but as the sit got closer and closer, more and more red flags appeared, and now that I’m on the sit, I wish I hadn’t taken it at all. (Basically, the HO calls or texts daily with tasks for me that we did not agree to beforehand, up to 4-5 times a day. It’s the first sit where I’ve felt like I’m being treated as a personal assistant rather than a guest.)

I think this one is on me for ignoring the early warnings. But I definitely don’t want a repeat of this experience. It is okay to bow out of a sit when you start getting the “oh nos” as time goes on? Again, I wouldn’t bail right before, but in this case, I wish I had cancelled in December (for a February-March sit) when I started feeling like I’d made a mistake.

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I’m sorry your sit didn’t work out… hopefully it’ll get better or at least the sit’s not too long.

We bailed out once after agreeing. The owner had quite a few sitters lined up before our sit and kept on slagging them off, saying they didn’t leave the place clean and he was confident we would be better, blabla… It was just too much of a red flag.

We pulled out, just saying that unfortunately we were no longer able to do the sit. This was about 4 months before, so he had plenty of time to find other people. He just said ok…

I still think we dodged a bullet there. I know THS has a strict no-cancel policy unless there’s a good reason, but I do believe that reasons like that should be valid. We would never cancel at short notice or for no reason, but there’s no point feeling miserable about a sit before even getting there. Would love to hear THS’s point of view on that.

I hope things will get better for you.


@Els Thank you! That was very smart of you. I think I need to be more aware of making sure sits are the right fit for me as opposed to landing every job I can get.

I’m halfway through a 6-week sit, so it’s a longer one, unfortunately.


Just tell them you’re not their PA and point out the responsibilities they listed perhaps as opposed to the daily chores they’re giving you now.

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Hi @sbwade. Let me start with what I think is most relevant right now. You mention that the tasks being asked of you multiple times a day are not things you agreed upon. Keep the safekeeping of the pet(s) and the home as your priority. If the requests don’t fall into those categories, then assess what’s being asked of you and give a respectful reason why you are not willing to do those you don’t want to do. We all deserve respect.

I am selective about what sits I apply for, and have a mental long list of things where I think I’m not a good fit for their needs, or that there are things in the listing that just don’t sit right with me. Just listening to my gut instinct at times, or those red flags we talk about. I think the questions we feel awkward asking are often the most important ones. If anything hadn’t been clearly communicated beforehand, I’d ask more questions, or request the Welcome Guide earlier than my usual timeframe, to get things clearly set out. Also, as you do more and more sits, you’ll likely get more selective.

For this sit, remember that you have a team behind you. If you’re unsure how to handle things, then ask @Therese-Moderator or @Angela-CommunityManager for direction and assistance.



As you do more and more sits, you’ll likely get more selective.

I think this is important for me.

I had wondered if it were bad enough to report - I started documenting everything and in three weeks, I’m up to item #41. I put my foot down when she asked me to open her tax mail. That sounds like a liability issue to me!

Hi. My comments here are just my personal opinions, based on my experiences. We all form different levels of bond, or lack of bond, with the homeowners. I’ve done everything from a very business-like transfer of keys to those who treat me as family (and I have a great family :slightly_smiling_face:).

I say that as for some relationships, I would agree to monitor their mail perhaps, notify them of whatever they had asked me to look out for. I’d then take a photo of what’s inside, send them the photo, put the contents back in the envelope and put it away. I would not read it. I want to respect their privacy, as I expect that from others in life.

I’d urge you to address issues before you get a long list. Rather than trying to report many things after the fact, assess whether they are reasonable and manage them, one by one. You have the right to turn down a request, if you’re not comfortable with it and it’s not to do with the safekeeping of the pets or home. I mean this in a supportive way, not a critical one. :heart:


Would you mind sharing some of the things they’ve asked you to do that were not agreed upon in advance? 4-5 texts per day for extras is excessive.


I suggest you write to them through the THS messaging and state that you are not comfortable taking care of their personal matters, nor had you agree to in advance.

As for the mail/tax stuff, she/they may not have been thinking about it beforehand and now realize uh-oh–but that’s not your problem. I would possibly offer to have those things available for someone to pick up.

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Sounds way out of line and needs to be stopped. What the heck are you being asked to do?

We did one sit where the HO very nicely asked if I could call her dentist and schedule an appointment for her as soon as possible upon their return. No problem.

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@sbwade You mentioned that as the “sit got closer and closer, more and more red flags appeared” which indicates that there were red flags prior to the start of the sit. What were the red flags prior to the sit? Your gut in the beginning was telling you that something was off. While it is commendable that you wanted to go through with the sit (perhaps because of the pet(s), at the same time you don’t want to jeopardize your comfort level. In the beginning, if you agreed to and confirmed the sit, but later saw red flags, I would bring those red flags to the attention of the homeowner. If you don’t communicate what is wrong, how will the HO know? If you do bring the red flags to the attention of the HO and they ignore your requests, then bowing out would seem like a reasonable and feasible option.

Your gut of red flags is confirmed now that you are on the sit. You were optimistic, hoping it would work and honored your commitment. However, don’t try to force a square peg into a round hole. It is better to have quality sits rather than quantity sits.


This is majorly important and you are
Wise in recognizing this. Longer sits at times require more responsibilities. Not every HO is in the position to hire gardeners, housekeepers, pool people and such but some do.
You will get better in identifying what you are willing to do and how to ask better questions. This makes it easier for you identify what sits are best for you and also it helps the HO select the right sitter for their needs.
There is no wrong or right answer except what you decide is best for you.


She is taking you for a fool sadly.
There is no way she isn’t aware that she is basically controlling you to some degree.

Not a lot I can do to help you but please make sure you learn from it!

Sounds awful :disappointed:

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Fair enough, and yes that does sound like way too much.


@SandC I suspect she does this to everyone she knows… It’s less a deliberate action than a way of thinking.


Sounds like you have come to the edge and it’s time to draw the line in the sand.
Putting an end to what is obviously an uncomfortable situation now vs later will prove to be best for all.
You are under no obligation ever to do what is not agreeable to you. End it now.
Just say you are not comfortable with those tasks and if your willing to continue pet sitting without those say it. Otherwise just end it.
There are lots of other opportunities out there. The arrangement has to be mutually agreeable and beneficial.


@sbwade Even though you didn’t start with a firm line, does not mean you cannot end with a firm line. “It is not how you start, but how you finish.” This homeowner has crossed the lines of boundaries. Moving forward, create firm boundaries and define the limits of what is acceptable behavior toward you and declare the kinds of treatment you will not tolerate. Remember, people will do what you allow them to do.


HI everyone,

Thank you for your support and showing concern for a fellow member’s position however these matters need to be discussed on a one to one basis and managed off the forum which is a public space. It’s very possible that other members who are involved in any particular situation, directly or indirectly, are present. No matter what the situation or personal opinions, we need to be respectful of everyone’s position and privacy.

@sbwade I realise you are frustrated, upset and looking for support which we can give I will DM you to discuss and see how we can help with the situation.

Thanks everyone and have a great weekend.

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