SITTER used as free labour: Arriving early & leaving day after after HO has arrived home

I am looking for advice in a pet sit situation where I no longer feel comfortable & feel I am being taken advantage of.

I had a pet sit starting on a Tuesday - I was asked to arrive on the Sunday to have the full Monday to “learn the pet’s routine” as the HO was leaving on Tuesday early morning around 3am for the airport. I only found this after the sit was confirmed and the HO make me show proof I had booked my flights before even confirming the sit. I realised that on the Monday they were going to be out of the house for the morning and I was simply needed as a dog sitter in the place of daycare. I found it awkward to share the small space for this extended period. I have now found out they are arriving back a day earlier than explained (Wednesday evening) and that once again only need me to stay the following day (Thursday) as they will be out in the morning and have even asked me to take the dog for walks & errands that morning. I feel I have been misled and am being used as free day care since the owner is already going to be back. I know how I respond will cause an issue as it was never stated when they were arriving per se just that they would need someone until this date at this time. Can I please get thoughts and opinions on what to do and if anyone else has been in a similar situation?


It feels like if they are going to be back, then they have basically ended the sit early. Don’t know where you are or what hotels/airbnb would cost, but if it were me, I’d get out. However, I would also communicate with them. Give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they don’t understand what they are doing. Explain the 3rd party rule. Use an excuse like you have to work – true or not and don’t have time to run errands for them.At most if you don’t have the money or want to use it to stay elsewhere, then leave for the day and spend as little time there as possible. Disengage. Also report this to THS. AND in case they write a lousy review be prepared with a rebuttal that is unemotional and factual.


The owners coming back a day early is one thing, and they are open to you still staying overnight as agreed so that’s good, but asking you to take care of the dog etc after they return isn’t on.

You personally volunteering to walk the dog after they return is one thing, but that definitely isn’t the case here, I think they are taking advantage of you by asking you. On the presumption they are in the dark about you feeling uncomfortable, I’d tell them that you’re going to head straight off on the Thursday morning, so they can have their place to themselves again.


Oh my. Very difficult people. I don’t think I would have agreed to such conditions.


@C_A_walks_talks How long was the Sit? Was it only for one night? I doubt it. How many weeks?

Sounds very strange. You are only responsible for the dog care while the Owners are out of town.

What country is the Sit? Where did you come from to do the Sit? Just curious to understand the picture more fully.

@C_A_walks_talks I suggest contacting member services - as from what you have said - the owners are not planning to abide by the code of conduct .

Coming back early is curtailing the sit & breaking the 3rd party policy .

Homeowners cannot be made to keep to the code of conduct but you also are not obliged to continue with a sit where the owners are breaking the code of conduct and making you feel uncomfortable before you’ve even started.

I feel that this may be an indication of how the whole sit may go - unreasonable demands - and once there it will be difficult to extract yourself from the sit .

I can see that you are in an awkward situation with your flights already booked -?

Are you a premium member -if so and member services agree that the HO is unreasonable demands ( that we’re not mentioned before the sit was confirmed) mean that the sit has been curtailed by the HO then you will be covered by insurance - but you need to get it in writing from them that you are covered .


I could see spending one day before the actual departure with the pet, although it usually doesn’t take that long to learn the routine. But the extra day on the return is excessive. If they are concerned about having cancelled flights or delays, maybe. But once they are back, I would leave. This is something you definitely need to communicate with them in advance though.

The response given was that pet sitters are asked to stay an additional day Incase something goes wrong with the flight. (I was not told that they would be arriving a day earlier just that the sit was ending on X day :see_no_evil:) But that’s different to asking someone to please wait until they arrive if something does go wrong with the flight. Also I now have made plans to leave the next day so I would need to pay for accommodation and organise that if I wanted to leave the night they arrive which I can do it’s just not ideal :confused:

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It’s been a 2 week sit and yes I did need to fly here - iv never experienced anything like this and have done around 8 sits now so I’m also really confused. I was asked to arrived essentially 2 days before the sit started and now stay on a full day after with the request of walking the dog etc in the morning.

My only issue is they are coming back in the evening and I was told the sit was ending the next day so I only have accommodation booked for the next day which means if I want to leave when they get back I’ll need to pay for another place to stay

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If I were surprised by something a HO didn’t declare upfront, generally my pushback would be straightforward. Something like: Unfortunately, that’s not what we discussed upfront and I can’t make that work. What I can do is X.

The key elements of such conversations:

• Call out the difference in what was agreed on.

• Set your boundaries and uphold them.

• Keep the tone neutral. No need to apologize or feel cornered. Deal with people as if they’re rational adults (even when they aren’t acting like it).

It sounds like you’re feeling trapped because it might feel awkward for you to do the above. You’re not trapped. You have agency. Just because people demand things doesn’t mean you have to do them. That’s true in sitting and in life in general. YMMV.


Yes, I can see why this is a conundrum. Would you feel comfortable sleeping there on the last night and then leaving first thing in the morning, and tell them that you are unable to help with the dog once they get home?

I think that would be perfectly reasonable. I suppose they could “kick you out” on the day they arrive home.

Weird situation. Hard to make a win-win out of this one.

If you worded a response in the right way, I suppose there is a chance that they might pay for your hotel room for the last night as you had counted on staying at their house.

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I’ve had something similar happen before where I arrived a day before departure for an international sit (with a long flight) assuming that the early arrival was going to be used for an induction to the property and animal care and maybe even the area instead ended up waiting for the HO all day and walking the dog twice while the HO was out until very late - had maybe 20 min actual conversation with them about things which didn’t feel like enough guidance at the time as they were going to be off grid while away. One of HOs then also returned a day earlier (I was literally told the day off although it was clearly prebooked that way) and could I be there that afternoon so they can be let in - ended up pretty much just sitting around that day waiting too. I skidadled before the sun rose the next morning. At the time I was pretty frustrated by the whole thing but now it’s just a vague memory of my trip. Suggest just try getting through it with as little drama as possible as long as you have somewhere to sleep and retreat to when things get to much.


Hey there

Definitely a good learning experience here. It may prompt you to ask more specific questions for future sits about the dates they want and what their plans are.

Wanting the confirmation of travel plans before offering the sit would have been a red flag for me. There was one sit I was interested in applying to a few months that requested the same thing and I took a pass. She said in the listing she had been burned with cancellations before so I understood where she was coming from, but still, it just didn’t sit right. Maybe they had a similar experience in the past.

As for how to handle the issue, it really comes down to a matter of perspective. Saying something could be good or not saying something could be just as good.

Personally I would probably just leave things as they are. Part of that would probably stem from not wanting to create an awkward situation, but a bigger part of it would stem from looking at the bigger picture, going with the flow, giving people the benefit of the doubt (they weren’t deliberately trying to take advantage), chalking it up to experience,etc.

Big picture is that it is this one day of doing stuff you may not want to do, a day you planned on being there anyway. To me, this would be different than them introducing some element of the sit after confirming that would totally alter the expected experience and responsibilities, something you would have to deal with daily the whole time there.

But wanting to leave earlier because you aren’t actually needed wouldn’t be an unreasonable request. But if you feel really uncomfortable doing that, and worried it will create an awkward situation or you’ll stress about whether it will affect your review, I would say it might be better to just keep things as they are. And if you own that you are doing that because you are too uncomfortable to say anything, you won’t feel as aggrieved or annoyed.

Keep us posted


The last day of the agreed sit is the day the HO are supposed to return home. If they changed it they are breaking the agreement. If you don’t want to stay the day they return then tell them you will be leaving. Contact support if they try to insist that you stay. If you want to stay you can.

If I read it right then I think they’ve cleverly booked you until the Thursday, are now returning a day early but still want your help for an extra day of dog care. Is that right @C_A_walks_talks? If so I think you can 1. Suck it up and watch out for future sits like this 2. Go to membership support, explain and see what they recommend (don’t hold your breath) 3. Say to the HOs (cheerfully). No problem if you’re back a day early, I’ve been offered another sit that I refused as I was committed to you but will now accept as you’ll be back. (This one could be complicated) 4. Say to the HOs. No problem to come back early but once you’re home then the animals become your responsibility as per THS Ts & Cs so I’ll disappear Thursday morning and leave you to it. None are perfect scenarios, probably depends on how you feel. Make sure you write a factual, non personal review on the changes later to warn future sitters whatever you decide. Best of luck :raised_hands:t3:


I strongly advise against sucking it up.
It has now happened to me three times that HOs made unreasonable requests, and I tried to be nice and not rock the boat. None of these sits ended in a positive review for me. Two gave no review at all and one wrote a bad one. Some demanding people will always find a way to complain, no matter how much you do for them.
In my opinion, @Maggie8K has offered the most suitable solution.
Sitters need to set boundaries. It’s OK to say no to things that weren’t discussed. We are not slaves.


Something to consider about sucking it up:

People who do that sort of thing tend to do it over and over in various scenarios, because they don’t develop the skills to stand up for themselves even in polite ways.

I notice for instance that the OP commented on another thread about feeling put upon by various HOs leaving homes requiring hours of cleaning at the outset of sits. Numbers wise, given the number of sits vs. significant cleanings, there might be a problem with how the OP is screening sits/HOs. Like being asked to show airfare before confirmation seems like a form of being ordered around. It’s something many sitters wouldn’t put up with.

Usually, people who suck things up end up doing it across multiple areas of their lives. By contrast, people who don’t let others take advantage of them usually don’t deal with that much — boundary-crossers, exploiters, bullies and such can usually smell it on you when someone is an easier target vs. folks who aren’t.

And to underscore: You don’t need to create drama or aggression to stand up for yourself. You can do it neutrally, politely and such.

For folks who are uncomfortable with such, sitting is actually a low-stakes way to learn such skills. None of us needs to sit and our livelihoods aren’t attached to it. And if you develop such skills (if you happen to be weak at them), you’ll be pleasantly surprised how they can pay off in other areas of life, such as careers and personal relationships.

Take a look at people in the world and the ones who suck things up rarely are rewarded. They often get taken advantage of. That’s because there are people in the world who will have no hesitation about doing that. They’re looking for victims and passivity.


Sure, but one should choose one’s battles.

Because of the reviews, it is a bit risky to make a stand while one is on the sit. It may be prudent to suck a thing up when it is for a short period of time. Then don’t write the review before HO have written theirs.

That is a trade-off that one must decide on. The good thing is that the stakes are low and that one does not need to deal with these same people again.


I can see your point. Thing is, it’s also easy to get into a pattern of such and have things build up. In this thread and the other about cleaning, the OP seems to have built up a lot of frustration or angst about sitting. Like look at the title of this thread. Lots of feelings. Sometimes, letting one’s self down over and over can be costly.

It might be worth taking a stand and seeing that life goes on despite say a bad review (because you can always write a rational review and response to the HO review as well).

Of course, the OP has to decide for themselves. Generally, though, it’s not possible to grow without discomfort.

And you don’t deal with the same HO over and over, yes. But if you let people take advantage, you’ll tend to be dealing with the same types of people over and over, because they know how to read people who are passive.