Sitter's angry response after a "decline"

I have just recently registered with THS and am absolutely thrilled with the whole concept. I posted an ad last week and very quickly received 5 good applications. We decided to select two candidates for a video call and the final choice was difficult as we liked both profiles and conversation. We chose a candidate working from home over the other who would be coming from overseas to holiday in Europe (which I have absolutely no problem with). Our thinking was that for a first experience it might be better to have someone who will be staying at home more (we have a rescue with a bit of a separation anxiety issue). I sent a long message of thanks explaining why we had chosen the other candidate and mentioning that it might be stressful to deal with our dog’s anxieties and enjoy exploring (i really don’t think that they was a hint of judgment). In return, I received a very rude and mean-spirited reply which was without a doubt meant to hurt my feelings (it worked). I was wondering if this has happened to any other pet owners and how the situation was handled. Is it expected from sitters that they will be interviewed along with other candidates? Is it better not to give a reason when declining an application? Thank you in advance and I am very happy to join the community.


Wow!! That’s totally unacceptable @Alexandra and not the norm. We’re full time sitters and would never do that. To get a personalised response is great, especially a kind one. Lots of HOs just click “no” and that’s their prerogative. Try not to take it to heart, you behaved impeccably and if it’s rude, then please report them to THS. There’s just no need. #bekind :raised_hands:


That is indeed unacceptable. I too as a sitter would never be that reactive, yet I don’t feel you should take it personally. Some people are projecting their angst at others when ultimately it really isn’t about you. I definitely think that sitter should be reported or spoken too. I always appreciate a response from an HO that is thoughtful about a decline ratner than just hitting the "decline button " . For me I like to look at the higher perspective that it’s not the right sit for me and better things will come along… I hope you have a great day.


That’s so rude! Sounds like you dodged a bullet with that sitter.

As a sitter we’d be happy to have a personalised reply from a HO if we weren’t successful when applying for a sit. I personally think your reasoning on which sitter to go with was totally valid and right for you and your pets.

Hopefully this is a one off and future interactions with sitters is positive.


I agree that the sitter should be reported to Membership Services as that attitude isn’t acceptable at all.


That’s totally unacceptable. We’ve all been rejected for sits we thought we were perfect for. It happens. It sounds like you made the right choice by not choosing that sitter.


Hi Alexandra
I am so sorry that happened, and while on a conscious level, your reasoning for choosing the other applicant was about their schedule and the belief they would be better to meet your dog’s needs, on another level, there may have been a more intuitive sense they were the better fit over this person.

Their response certainly validates that, and can help you gain confidence in choosing sitters for future listings based on your ‘gut feelings.’

As for your question about whether sitters expect other people to be interviewed as well, I think most sitters are aware this is a possibility.

But if you didn’t mention it to them, they may have assumed they were your first choice, and you were going to interview them first to see how that went, and if it didn’t work out, move onto to other applicants.

There have been times I found out at the end of an interview they were also speaking to other people, and I was surprised as their previous communication made it seem like we were the only people they were considering. But it didn’t bother me–it’s not something I really feel the need to know, so that I made an incorrect assumption about it didn’t really matter.

Many sitters–who were not interviewed but simply applied-- get annoyed when their applications are declined without any explanation from the owner or at least an acknowledgment of their message. I guess it is considered good manners by some but personally this doesn’t bother me, as I don’t think anyone is trying to deliberately be rude or dismissive.

As for declining sitters who you chose to interview, I imagine most owners would feel compelled to give a response, and yours sounded very thoughtful and not like any ‘rejection’ of them, but just that the other applicant was a better fit. Technically though, you wouldn’t have to give any explanation at all. But again, most would probably feel compelled to say something to people they actually interviewed.

Some sitters get quite wound up about this process from what I have seen written here by both sitters and HO’s who note their interactions with some of them. Some take rejections very personally. They get very attached to particular locations and opportunities. And like any ‘community’ it is made up of very different people, and you might encounter some jerks, like elsewhere in life.

I know it stings to get a response like that, but know you didn’t do anything wrong at all.


Yes although I could not be more surprised when I received the angry message as the person was very nice on the call, a real Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde situation here. If someone has some hints on how to detect red flags, i am also interested…


Thanks KC good point, i might not have been clear enough about the fact that I was interviewing more people and will bear that in mind for next time. Expectation management is very important. In this particular case, I don’t think it was an issue as I was not his only option, but rather a Back-up plan (as he was very eager to let me know).


@Alexandra To me, it isn’t a piece of information that a HO is obligated to tell an applicant so you didn’t ‘breach’ any standard protocol by not mentioning it. But based on this experience, letting them know this was the case in any future listing would probably make you feel better.

I personally don’t ask about this. The only time I would consider doing so is if i the HO wasn’t planning to set up interview calls for at least several days. If I knew there was a chance I may not be picked because they are also considering someone else, I would not hesitate to apply to other sits with similar dates if any came up. But in my experience, most owners I have worked with are pretty quick to connect and decide.

Again, you didn’t do anything wrong, and your failure to mention this to him in no way warranted the response he gave you.


You don’t owe anyone an explanation. I’m a sitter and people rarely tell me why they went with someone else, and that’s fine. You’re not here to stroke someone’s ego, you’re here to get the best possible care for your pet. The person who responded rudely doesn’t sound like the kind and caring minder you want for your anxious rescue anyway, so I think you’ve chosen well :wink:


I agree with @KC1102 and I have found that the multiple interviews/competition thing has, for me, been a very recent phenomenon.

I’ve been on THS for 5-6 years. Most of the sits I’ve ended up on, I was 1st choice, and the HO and I had a chat just to be sure we were all on the same page. In fact, when I did ask if they had others to speak to, usually the response was one of surprise.

It’s not always easy to schedule and set aside that time (sometimes the chats are long), and I do work full-time. I’m now at the point where I will ask before confirming a video/phone chat where the HO is in the process. If it seems I’m in competition with others, or they’re waiting to hear back from one they’ve offered it to, I may demur.

All that is to say that perhaps this sitter’s feelings were hurt. But of course, lashing out in response is not a good look, and it sounds like it’s for the best.


Ah. Well. NEXT.


@Katie. We have a very similar experience in that we get almost every sit for which we apply, including those where they are interviewing other people-sometimes they mention it right away, sometimes I don’t know until they mention it during our call. Being that you are busy and probably have an easy time landing sits, it seems smart to ask them where they are in the process.

I too feel like in more recent times, the HO is interviewing multiple people, whereas before, we were the only ones being interviewed the vast majority of the time. I don’t really mind this…we are pretty confident in our chances and if we were not to be picked, it’s not meant to be.

When I think back on all our sits, I can only recall two times we didn’t get a sit after interviewing. Perhaps there are others but I don’t think so.

One was probably 4 or 5 years ago and they didn’t say why, but ended up offering the sit awhile after–the other person obviously cancelled for some reason but we were no longer available.

The other was a couple of years back and the other person she was interviewing was looking to be in her city frequently. Being she traveled for work a lot, she wanted to go with her in hopes she could become a repeat sitter. So the other applicant was naturally a better fit.

It is interesting to see some of the thing owners report here about things sitters say and do. I can’t imagine responding in that manner to not being selected, whether I knew someone else was in the running or not.


That’s really very sad but think of it this way, you made the right choice in declining them even though they were close to being accepted.


Hi @Alexandra - I feel that I must apologise to you on behalf of the 99.9% of sitters that would think you did all the right things and acted with politeness and kindness. It is most often that declines come with nothing more than an automated message and not a word from the home host so the way you handled the situation reads like a breath of fresh air.
The good news for you, going by the response you received, is that your intuition was spot on and you definitely chose the best sitter on this occasion.


Hi @Alexandra along with everyone here I too eco what they have said that this is not the normal reaction to sending a polite decline. We’ve been HO members for a little over 5 years now and I have never had such a reaction to sending a decline message. Typically we receive a “thanks for letting us know.” Because truly letting the sitter know any reason is better than hearing nothing at all. Maybe the closest was that I had a sitter asking for more specifics about why we declined…and sometimes it’s hard to put into words that “the vibe just felt off and we had a stronger connection to a different applicant.” We still always send some sort of message because we’ve also been on the receiving end of hearing nothing and it’s always so much nicer to receive any kind of message…and Yes sitters do know that HO’s are in the process of interviewing other applicants but I always let the applicants we’re considering know up front “we’re taking the weekend to review applicants and set up any interviews, we will let you know ASAP when we have made a decision.”


I love this topic. Thank you, Alexandra for asking.

Please do always send a note, as it is so comforting.
I am a new Sitter here on TH, and have been declined about 60 times, so far, in 6 weeks.

I love when I get a note, and your considerations are valid and meaningful.
Your dog deserves a person who will be home more, that makes perfect sense. Dogs are pack animals, and are greatly calmed by the presence of a caring person.

When I receive a Decline with a message, I am comforted to know a sitter has been found, even if my assistance dog and I are not chosen. It always feels best to hear something, because applying is a big deal, a long steep in assessing if we can meet the needs of the Hosts, and animals, and it is nice to know something more than DECLINED.

One bad apple, having one bad day, is absolutely not the norm here.
As you see, we care.

Onward into this Mystery,


So sorry to hear about your experience. If we got declined as a sitter and got an honest and thought through message we would be very grateful.

Some people are very uncomfortable with giving other people bad news. Therefore, I think that sending this message was very nice of you and we as sitters would really appreciate it. Explaning a decline is always better in our point if view.

As sitters we don’t take for granted that we are the only ones who get interviewed, unless we are the only applicant or if the owner already sent an invite to sit prior to the interview.


Thank you all for your wonderful messages, it is reassuring to know that what happened to me was an exception and that most sitters behave with maturity and communicate in a cordial manner. It is very interesting to read the sitters’ perspective, especially on the subject of being interviewed with other candidates. With more experience I may be able to identify which sitter fits my home and pet situation more quickly to avoid multiple interviews (which requires time and effort on both sides), but this time I am glad I had a second interview as I would have ended up with the wrong sitter. I looked at other threads on the forum and found one from a sitter who was also very frustrated with the reason given by the HO for rejecting her application after the interview. In my case, it is clear that the angry message was triggered more by the reason I gave than the rejection itself (the person mentioned that he found another sit), which made me wonder if I should be so transparent next time. Anyway, thank you for sharing your experience and reassuring me about the THS community. I don’t know if any of the site developers will read this thread, but if they do, I would love to have a feature in the app in the future to report such behaviour. For now, I’ll try to forget about this unfortunate incident and start preparing my home for my sitter to ensure the best experience for both of us.