Sitters more interested in a place to stay than your pets

From our experience recently there seems to be more of an influx of people more interested in a place to stay rather than our actual pets. We recently had a video call with somebody who asked no questions about our cats!
Are other homeowners finding this too? And if so, how do you tackle it when you speak to potential sitters?

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I think if you read the applicants’ reviews it will give you a good idea if they are animal lovers.

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I don’t know if there are more sitters with that intent now compared to before, but being full-time sitters ourselves, we had a few owners who seemed to have had similar candidates to you.

One owner asked us during a videocall: “we know we live in a great city/house, why did you specifically choose our ad?”, which I thought was a great way to weed out the bad apples.

Maybe a good idea to put that question in your ad straight away?

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Yes we normally ask a similar question to that. Hope you are enjoying life as full time sitters :grinning:

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Travel has become so expensive recently. I think there is a certain element who sees this site us cheap accommodation and nothing much else. Yes, they will feed your pets and probably walk the dog but not much else.
I have been known to rant on this subject on occasions. It is very frustrating to hear observations like yours and it is probably damaging the sitters and sites reputation. Please persist in your quest for your perfect sitter. We aren’t all about luxurious homes, swimming pools and fantastic places to be.

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This give me hope thank you @ ElsieDownie

I don’t think it helps seeing the recent Facebook ads, advertising travel using this site over looking after pets.

:rofl: @ ranting over the subject in the past. We love it when we get a good fit and our sitters enjoy our cats antics as much as we do, whilst also being able to enjoy our home and explore the area that we live in.

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In fairness, only animal lovers tend to become housesitters. None of my friends do it because they don’t want to look after animals. We love cats and love to travel so we choose a housesit based on location first. We know we will love most of the cats that we will be looking after, with their different personalities and medical needs. We are currently taking care of one of the sweetest cats and we will be very sad to leave him behind when we leave.

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Yes @Petermac I think this is dreadful advertising of this site, and sets entirely a wrong precedent for sitters. I hope the article was tacked.
I saw an advert on FB from THS that was very similar. I firmly believe THS should shop this type of marketing it is damaging to the THS brand and the type of people it attracts are not the types of sitters that we need.

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That is actually objectionable and false advertising. I hope someone from management has pulled the paper up and extracted an apology

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And that’s why standards are slipping.

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To be perfectly honest, I started house sitting as a way of travelling cheaply. However, I never think of myself as being on holiday and I’m definitely not in tourist mode, it’s more a lifestyle choice.
I enjoy living like a local, I love being in new surroundings, especially if it’s a quirky house and even more so if there is a garden to care for. Pets are a real bonus, they are great company for a solo traveller and give a purpose to my day.
I think I do an excellent job looking after the pets and, because I like to have something to do, I often look for things to do around the house, like cleaning the windows, dusting the plants(yes, that’s a thing that needs doing), cleaning filters in washing machines, vacuum cleaners etc, and my speciality is fixing lose toilet seats. :rofl:

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Wobbly toilet seats are a nuisance. I’m glad someone is doing their bit to make the world a much safer place.

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We did something like that for our local newspaper a few years ago but the emphasis was a different life style not cheap holidays. In fact most of the article was about us sailing and being live aboard. I think THS was mentioned at the very end. I was bemoaning the lack of sits in Scotland.
Advertising like this is the short step on the slippery slope of ruining the sites reputation as a good fair exchange which is what it was all about when we joined five years ago. Now it’s about what the house has and hasn’t got, where it is situated, car loan, help with travel costs and the one that is really frustrating me at the moment, the number of pets we are asked to look after. It’s not unusual to see a sit with 5 cats, 4 dogs and chickens anymore. What happened to the fair exchange? With that menagerie there’s no time to grocery shop, forget about doing some exploring!
Yes, I take my own advice and jog along when I see sits with numerous pets.

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Hum.
And why travelling cheaply, discovering a new lifestyle, being interested in a community who loves animals couldn’t all blend together ?
I discovered THS by doing researches on the web about ways to travel cheaply. I was already into home exchanges and travelling with points ( Hotels, flights, etc). So THS came as a wonderful way to complete my bank of possibilities as I also love pets. . It became my project after retirement.
I am not a full time sitter and do not depend on a sit on a specific region. And up to now, I am happy with the ones I was chosen for. Sometimes in the first five, sometimes as the only applicant. Did I miss some wonderful offers because they disapeared too fast ? Probably.
Others will come. Carpe Diem.

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@Petermac & @ElsieDownie I think you might do well to read the whole article and not just focus on the headline, which is positioned purposely to get engagement as often happens in news, how many times have you read a headline expecting one story only to find the headline courted you, made you look further and it just wasn’t what you expected?

Nothing has changed with the way pet and housesitting has been reported over the years, journalists will always use the headlines to grab attention … Referred to as “Clickbait”

Excerpts from the article …

"As I write this there’s a bank-holiday weekend on the Upper West Side going begging in New York, or six weeks in New Zealand’s Waitakere Ranges over Christmas and New Year. **The catch, for some, may be that they pretty much all involve pet-sitting — an asthmatic cat in Brooklyn; a menagerie of goats, chickens and horses in New South Wales — but for animal-lovers, getting to borrow someone’s dog for a few weeks is part of the charm, if not the whole point"

“Of course with great reward comes great responsibility”

“Ii’s not just about saving money, it’s about a different experience, slow travel getting to live like a local for example single sitters choose house sits with dogs to get companionship plus when you take them out for a walk everybody stops to talk to you”

One important point to remember is an article read in the press is not the end but the beginning of a new sitter joining our community, the website, email messaging, Membership Services, the Forum and other channels come into play before a membership is confirmed and everywhere on the site pets, their care and the sitters responsibility is the strongest messaging …

There will always be individuals who may be motivated to join for perhaps different reasons however they are left in no doubt as to what their priorities are.

It’s because of press & PR coverage over the years that pet and housesitting has become mainstream opening up opportunities which would simply not have existed otherwise and which you and other members, enjoy around the world, on a daily basis.

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I completely agree with the off putting headline and have read the whole article

Hi Sand,

actually we don’t apply for sits where we don’t feel good with the pets or we don’t feel that we are right people to care for them.

I guess it is mostly vacation sitters who are more looking for free accommodation but not people who are doing it as kind of a lifestyle.

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Had to give this some thought before responding. As a sitter and from my personal experiences, there will always be different reasons that drive people, attract people, to choose to embark on something solely for personal gain, be that financial outcomes or emotional ones. Most of us if we take a moment to reflect will realize that and there is nothing wrong with that, we all do it. The ideal situation is to find someone that is passionate for both animals and travel, not one over the other.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
We see this across all fields in business and professional careers. People who go into a career because of the potential income without any real passion to providing the work and service required.
One must get really good at deciphering and finding the right fit for the need in each situation. In a community of international home and pet sitting, it’s travel and pets or pets and travel :infinity: It’s not one or the other it’s one plus one.

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Personally I dont think many sitters will be looking just for any old place to stay but many will be looking for a nice place in a nice area that they want to visit- and there is no shame in that.

I doubt there are many sitters that don’t love animals, if there were, why would they be giving up so much of there time to care for them? Time is a very expensive commodity.

We love travel and we love animals equally but if a gun was put to my head then I would have to say travel is number one and the pets number 2. Why? - We choose our sits in places that we want to visit, the pets, that get exemplary care during our stay, are a very welcome bonus.

We are not travelling often hundereds of miles at our own expense because we are desperate to come meet a particular pet that we do not have any connection to.

If I was desperate to care for a dog and the travel was not important then I would look after the next door neighbours dog.

Our next door neighbour would be getting a great service and saving a fortune on kennel fees - but what would we be getting out of the deal?

We will happily travel to care for a house in an area we want to visit even if it has no pets but we would not apply to look after the dog next door, no matter how adorable it is -

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@Sand I’m sorry you are finding that! I love spending time with new fury friends (mainly cats for me). And of course this site in the short time I’ve been a sitter has allowed me to visit some great places, my priority is always the animals. I’ve been known to be walking around in the rain shaking the biscuit tin for a cat to try and get them in at night as per HO request…much to the amusement of the neighbours and the cat!
I care deeply for all the animals I look after.

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