Sit Cancelled Due to Previous Sitters

My husband and I were accepted for a sit that starts in 3 weeks. I received notification from the host that she is cancelling our sit due to a very bad experience she had this weekend with sitters who never showed up to her home due to car problems. She was in route to her destination (via plane) when she was informed by these sitters(a couple I believe).
She is very angry and not only is she cancelling our sit she is also not using TrustedHousesitters again. This was her first time using TrustedHousesitters.
So we are now scrambling to find a sit for that timeframe.
We take our commitment to sit very seriously and would do anything possible to at least get one of us to the sit on time. I’m wondering, have any of you sitters had an experience where you had a issue with getting to a sit, (sickness, car problems, etc) and how did you handle it?


A year ago, I had a string of sits scheduled in the UK. First sit was starting on a Friday. I took a covid test the weekend before a flight scheduled for Tues before the sit and tested +. Would have had to quarantine in the UK for 2 weeks on arrival. I immediately contacted the HOs and they were understanding. Of course I did give about 5 days notice. The other sits in the string got longer notice - 2 and 4 weeks.
I’ve also had sits cancelled within a few days of starting because the HO tested + and couldn’t travel. In both cases the HO offered to help if I had any expenses but I was able to get full refunds on my tickets. And sits cancelled a few weeks out when the dog died.
Things happen. I can understand the HO being angry about the cancellation, but 1 bad experience shouldn’t control all of the future.


Thank you for your reply.
I am sure that happened often during Covid and it must have been stressful for both sitters and hosts.
We travel for months at a time and our last trip out we had hosts cancel but those sits were a couple months in the future and much easier to reschedule.


@PetTrippin we also had some cancellations, but usually long in advance. My husband just told me a HO from THS wrote, on another forum, that they had terrible bad luck with sitters on 3 out of 4 occasions and now cancelled their membership. The first sit went fine. Then 2 sitters cancelled last minute, one was even already there! The sitter was invited to arrive 3 days early as she was already in the area and had gap days. After she arrived, she said tickets home are so expensive for the dates at the end of the sit, she can’t afford it, so the HO asked her to leave immediately. And then the last sit, their home was trashed by some drug users. They even had good reviews, that’s why she chose them, so this is weird. This was reported of course. But anyway, this is to show there are definitely some bad seeds, making the rest of us look bad.

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I advised the host they should let THS know of this situation. I know there’s always 2 sides to a story and I am only hearing one side from a very upset host but it makes the rest of us look bad as you said.


You said the host had the bad experience this weekend?

I would let her sleep.

In the meantime, do your thing and try to find another sit.

After a couple days, you can approach the host again and see if she might reconsider. Perhaps even doing the sit outside TH (assuming she’s already cancelled). For example, you might say something about how you take sit commitments very seriously, and what it would take for her to give you a chance. Or maybe just chat with her and listen to her story more.

As to your question: I try to avoid such issues by not being in a hurry (e.g., “better an hour early than a minute late”), communicating well/frequently as needed, and I also am blessed to have resources to get me out of a jam (e.g., I’d rent a car/Uber even if it cost me a lot). But of course I don’t have ultimate control.

I’m guessing it comes down to communication, and the sitters didn’t communicate as well as the host would have desired (either not quickly enough when they had car troubles, or didn’t reveal that they reasonably could have car troubles).


@PetTrippin I read your post again and can really see both sides.
We are also a couple and we would also do a LOT (nearly anything) for at least one of us to show up, but it’s like @geoff.hom says, some people have the means to do that, and others might not have the means.
On other hand, I would be furious too, if I were a HO, on a flight, and receiving a message upon landing that the sitters pulled out. That would also be unacceptable to me and I might also cancel my subscription and future sits. Needless to say the HO should really have a Plan B in place (emergency contact person to step in etc.), but just like not every sitter has the means to get there against all odds, maybe it’s the same that not every owner has the social network to deploy a plan B just like that.
I think it was a very steep learning curve for both the sitters and the owner, unfortunately.


Yes I think both sides could have taken steps so this didn’t happen. It is really unfortunate situation. So not only myself and my husband lose out but potential sitters for any other upcoming trips this host may have planned.


I thought about this more and wanted to add another thing that could’ve happened: the sitters could’ve been flaky. E.g., they lacked commitment (vs communication).

We all know people who mean well but bite off more than they can chew. They may get excited about things very easily, and that goes well for an interview where someone is looking for passion. But at the first sign of trouble, they may bail.

A related possibility is the sitters cared about the travel and not the pets; e.g., they weren’t committed to making sure the pets were cared for. So that would be more a difference of belief. One could say that was also due to poor communication (on both sides?), because one would want to know that beforehand.

As there’s so much speculation, I think if you want to explore still doing that sit (and helping the host regain trust in TH), then you’d want to start by 1) waiting a couple days, then 2) asking to hear more about the situation to try to understand what happened, because 3) you and your husband may be quite different than those other sitters. You may be more mature, more committed, more experienced, have more resources, etc.


Hi @PetTrippin I am sorry to hear you have had a sit cancelled and hope that you can manage to resolve your unfortunate situation.

Nobody wins in this situation, the stress and inconvenience caused can be profound but we also need to know the actual circumstances from everyone involved so that we can investigate, help manage and support those affected. Speculation only serves to amplify possible inaccuracies and may even compromise a member’s privacy. We strongly advise members who have any issue with a sit arrangement to contact the Membership Services Team.

We are a trust based community and take these matters very seriously and any member breaching the Code Of Conduct, which every member agrees to, we will investigate and take the appropriate action.

We know that life happens and sometimes a cancellation is completely unavoidable but cancellations outside of extenuating circumstances are unacceptable and should be reported to the Membership Services Team who will manage accordingly.

No member, pet parent/owner or sitter should ever commit to an arrangement unless they are 110% sure that it is right for them and that they are fully prepared to honor their commitment.

Thank you @PetTrippin for sharing how most of us feel …

We are quite flexible since we are two people and mostly avoid far to travel very far for a sit so we can be 100% reliable. If we do need to travel far then we book an Airbnb en route or close to the location of the sit (so at least one of us is already close-by). We don’t use a car but often use an earlier connection (depends on the reliability of the public transport in the country). It sounds like the couple that cancelled on your hosts had to drive a long way and couldn’t figure out an alternative way to get to the location. Not great planning, but certainly not a reason for the HO to cancel your stay as well. It’s always good for everyone involved to have a backup plan. Even if it’s just the option to put the key under the mat, that already adds a lot of flexibility!

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It sounds to me something of an over-the-top reaction. If it was the Homeowner’s first experience, maybe they were rather anxious anyway, and almost waiting for something to go wrong, and it gave them an excuse to cancel? They might have been quite exacting, had you been able to do the sit.


Hopefully, after the Home Owner calms down, they will reconsider having you sit for them. Like it was suggested, reach out in a few days and stress how reliable you are and ask for the sit again. Maybe offer then a reference that they can talk to on the phone for reassurance. Another recommendation I have it to suggest that they not leave until the sitter arrives. Personally, I don’t like to arrive after the Home Owner has left… for that specific reason. Things happen. What if I got in an accident on my way there… or flights delayed etc. I talked about arrival times with Home Owner and say I like to arrive a few hours before they leave. If it is awkward for me to be there… I can always take the dogs for a walk, or leave to grocery shop or go site-seeing etc… while they get final things packed. I do tend to leave before the Home Owner is back, but only after I get email confirmation that they have made their last flight and 100% assured they will be home within the pets “potty/care window”. It really is down to communication between home owner and sitter. The Home Owner needs to also make sure the sitter feels well informed and confident during the transition/ pet-home hand off.
Fingers crossed that they change their mind and welcome you back!


I agree with Caroline99. I would not go begging for her to reconsider.

It seems like there may be more to the story.


Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. We have secured another sit for those timeframes.
For us it was that we were being judged/cancelled due to someone’s else’s mistakes by a new host. Of course we don’t know the whole story but I was not happy with her subsequent emails to us and therefore think it worked out the best for us that we confirmed a different sit.
We have been pet sitting around the world for 5 years and have never run into this situation.


The cancellation issue is a bad one!

After our first two great experiences as homeowners with THS, we had multiple (?!?) sitters cancel before our last sit (and one did just days before the month long trip). Though quite stressful, we were luckily to find a fantastic sitter at last minute…but it made us really insecure about this wonderful concept. While it wouldn’t help for homeowners that cancel on sitters, I wish they had a pool of “last minute backup sitters”.

Oh! When we were stressing, we contacted THS. They tried to help by posting on social media looking for a sitter. There’s a “last call” kind of thing where homeowners can post needing a sitter on short notice. Perhaps they have or need a similar option for sitters. (I haven’t read all the replies, but I’d suggest contacting THS and asking for assistance.)


@PetTrippin: Glad you found another sit!

Unless I’m missing something, you weren’t being judged. By that, I mean it wasn’t personal. It sounds like the HO would have canceled any sitter, because they also were canceling their TH membership. If anything, TH was being judged.

I can see an HO expecting TH to be perfect, like paying a sitting company. In that case, if someone from the company had to cancel, the company would be expected to make up for it one way or another. So maybe TH isn’t a good fit for that HO.


I am a single sitter and always worry a little about something stopping me getting to a sit on time so have made it a must to do in my pre acceptance chat that they must have a back up plan in case it happens! If they dont then the owness is on them but i have refused sits who cant find a back up incase plan !


We’re homeowners who have been members since 2013, and we generally arrange sitters 2 or 3 times each year.

On 3 occasions in those 9 years we have been VERY badly let down, and it is enough to put you off using the site. Even knowing that it is a minority of sitters, we took a long break and used a competitor site for a while.

Also since covid we’ve experienced Sitters cancelling a lot more frequently than before - not due to having active covid infection, just changes in their plans. Mostly not last minute so alternative arrangements could thankfully be made.

Leaving ill health aside - It’s tragic that a small number of unethical and inconsiderate sitters lead to the site getting a bad reputation.

Should there not be penalties such as a cancellation rating/score visible on profiles?


We would never leave home until our sitter was there and happy. But then that’s us. We also now prefer the sitter to be there when We arrive home. (Through bad experience).