Sitters more interested in a place to stay than your pets

Perhaps I’m just a little naive and think sitters are like me and HO are like the wonderful people we’ve sat for. I know you you can find exceptions on both sides but I don’t think it any more fair to say that “sitters are just looking for a free place to stay” any more than saying that “HO are just looking for free pet care”.

Does location enter into the our decisions? Sure! I’m old and have shoveled enough snow in my life so I’ll be sitting on Mallorca or Crete for Christmas instead of Calgary, Canada or Buffalo, New York. My location decisions are also based on what part of the world we are in or heading and how long I can stay in each location. I have a friend in New Zealand so I looked for sits here. I lined up 4 sits covering all but 8 nights of a 3 month stay and we’re currently on the 3rd of the 4.

When we are sitting, the absolute focus is taking care of the pets and the home. The secondary is exploring the immediate area where the sit is within the allowed times with our duties. The extra days before or after are when we explore the region that we couldn’t while carrying for the pets.

We’ve actually had people surprised that we didn’t spend more time away from their homes while sitting to get to see the sights in their area but our focus is on the pets when they are gone.

None of the HO have had any problem with our “traveling the world staying places free” and most are extremely interested in learning of our travels and exchanging travel stories. All have been happy with how we cared for their pets and homes and invited us back whenever we’re in the area-either to sit or visit if we’re just in the area.

What we’re doing seems to be working as we’re booked up through the end of the year.

Dan and Nan


As this service becomes more well-known and more people adopt more ‘nomadic’ lifestyles, I imagine there can be an influx of people drawn to housesitting that may not be the best fit for what it entails.This probably comes across very often in their application messages and profiles, and HO’s can ‘sniff’ them out. But there are no guarantees and I do feel for homeowners who have bad experiences, especially if it is their first time.

But HO’s must remember this is designed to be a mutually beneficial exchange, and I do think most understand this. My husband and I did not become full time housesitters because we had some life long dream of taking care of people’s pets for free while they travel for work or pleasure. If most people were doing it for some pure, altruistic purpose, a sit in a random suburb in the US (which I have done a lot of actually and enjoy) would have as much interest as a luxury apartment in Paris or an oceanfront home in the tropics. And we know that isn’t the case.

We do it because we love to travel, and housesitting allows us to do it in a way we really enjoy–slowly, spending time in a place for an extended period and in comfortable surroundings. We absolutely love animals so it is awesome we get to take care of them–they have brought us so much joy and have contributed to so many of our great memories of our trips.

But we, like most sitters I imagine, absolutely understand the pets are the first priority, and that means we may not be able to experience an area exactly as we would as just tourists. And that is actually fine for us–while we enjoy exploring new areas, we are actually kind of homebodies who don’t feel compelled to do touristy things all day every day. And because of this, the responsibilities that come with pet sitting don’t feel like any sort of hindrance to us.

I do believe that most sits go well and are done by sitters who understand the pets are their priority, and are happy to make them the priority. Of course there are no guarantees and there is risk in everything, but I think in most cases, the experience is good for both parties.

I am very intuitive in choosing the sits we apply for and trusting my gut has seemed to work well, so I would offer that same advice to HO’s in choosing sitters.


We also do that, the house or apartment to the best of our knowledge
and conscience clean and tidy leave,
as we also wanted to have it and also do a lot of extra work, have built up a relationship with the animals, which is really no problem.
We have had three sits now and all 3 animals are close to our hearts,
even after the sit. Wistful leaving the sit, sad.
Somehow indescribable, as if they are our own little animals.
Shortly we will have another sit, where we have been.
We are really looking forward to it and can hardly wait,
to be allowed to look after the so dear and sweet Stafford again.
Of course also to the wonderful walks
and the neatness of the house.
But the most important thing are the animals.
We have this job only because of the animals
and we do it with a lot of compassion and love,
as most of our members do.


There are sitters only looking for free accommodation. There are home owners looking for free labour. Plus, lots of lovely sitters and owners too. There are bad apples everywhere but I think if you’re discerning enough you can always spot them.


I completely agree with you that I have seen an influx of owners who seemed to fully expect you not to leave their house and they have so many responsibilities for their pets and their home that they should be paying you! Or they have so many darn pets or they’ve coddled them during the pandemic and they literally say they’re used to having a person around all the time! It’s getting a bit ridiculous. Hire a pet sitter if you have that many responsibilities. Also I’m not a professional cleaning service. I’ve had expectations of that as well.

But I’ve also had many owners tell me that they’re getting an influx of people who are only interested in saying in their house for free. This is where the five sit limit really bothers me because those people are getting their applications in first those homeowners are being pressured to choose from that five people and then people like me who are full-time sitters and care about the pets get left out


@Tuppence. I completely agree with you. If you’ve left your dog so unsocialized that they can’t be left alone I have no desire to do a sit for you and you should pay someone but I probably wouldn’t even do it even if it was

Yes, some people do expect professional cleaning. And multiple pet care, plus some want you to intuitively know how to do everything without giving you proper instructions or being available for questions.
Most of these happened to me within one bad experience, but most pet owners have actually been wonderful

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I have mostly experienced pet loving sitters over the last few years. We live about 15/20 minutes drive from Newquay in Cornwall. However, our latest applicant has turned us down on the excuse that she wanted to explore Newquay. There are both regular bus and train services into Newquay from our village. We go out of our way to help the sitters get to us if they are on public transport and have sometimes paid for overnight accommodation in a hotel, if we need them from early in the morning, (our house is quite small).
As our sit is only 3 weeks away I will be surprised if anyone else applies but we are keeping fingers crossed.

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How disappointing for you @judif. As your dates are for a weekend, you could well find sitters looking for a last minute “fill the gap” sit or just a lovely weekend away in Cornwall. You could remove your dates for an hour thereby de-listing your sit, then add them again. It will then become a New listing which is what you want to happen. All the best!

@judif -Was this a confirmed sit ?

Can Marley be left at home - if so for how long ?

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It would be really useful for scenarios like this if THS could have a lastminute section/search option. Or perhaps even a thread on the forum.

I’ve filled in last minute for people and they have been some of the best house sits and gone onto be repeats. This was all done word of mouth amongst a network of long time sitters.

It would be great if the same could be done on the THS site!

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@Luise, last minute listings used to appear first but now it’s those with ‘Low Applications’ that do. I’m sure owners would appreciate their last minute sits being prominent like they used to be.


@Luise Great idea. There is a last-minute sit category on the forum where owners can post if they need a sitter within 7 days.

It’s a great idea to have a section on the website as well.

@temba that’s a great idea to have them appear first, they have always had a ‘last minute’ tag on them and often appear first if marked as ‘new’ or relisted. I am not sure that they ever appeared first if they did not have the new tag, but I can pass that on to the product team as a suggestion :grin:

I often find myself not exploring the area much because I love the pets so much and don’t want to be without them for too long. :heart: Anyway it’s often more interesting to explore a neighbourhood and live like a local rather than going sightseeing all over the place.


I think I go back further than you with THS @Carla but @Angela_L will probably remember last minute listings always being first, at least I’m pretty sure they were!


@temba Haha yes apologies if it was pre-2016 then yes most definitely :grin:, I will check with product and see if it is ever something they will consider doing or having a separate section on the site for. I have posted both member’s feedback about this in our internal product channel as it’s a super helpful idea to help last-minute sits.


Hi @temba your memory is much better than mine :wink: and @Carla while asking Product about a separate section the historical one might get an answer too …

The suggestion about a last minute section for sitter’s availability has been suggested on a number of occasions and I think it’s a great idea and could help both sides of our community in so many ways.

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I quite agree @Angela_L it is a great idea and was surprised when it disappeared. Maybe @Itchyfeet can remember; otherwise, I’ll think I dreamed it :laughing:

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HI @CanmoreHO welcome to our community forum you, have a beautiful home, adorable furry family members and enjoy a stunning location in Alta., Canada.

I’m going to put my sitter’s hat on and from my POV unless a home has lots of quirks, we did a sit in a 600 year old home which had a lot of quirks and stood in vast grounds consequently the hand over was all about the home as the furry family member was an elderly lab with very few needs except his food, gentle walks and a lot of love, when he was awake :dog: :wink: and with your home winter weather could play a part in explaining care at hand overs of course.

Otherwise as far as homes are concerned there isn’t much we haven’t experienced, managed or dealt with over the years. Although today home technics can take up much of a hand over, media, smart systems, even coffee machines a little tip for pet parents/owners video instructions can really help sitters.

Pet family members on the other hand can act differently with other carers (a little like some children :wink: also pet parents are so used to their own pet’s characters and behavior and care for them without thinking.

Sitters on the other hand don’t know their quirks and little “foibles” likes and dislikes unless it’s a repeat sit, all of this should be in the Welcome Guide of course, but always good to talk through as the more we know the easier it is for everyone … takes the guessing out of the equation even for the experienced sitter.

That’s my personal preference of course and we each manage handovers in our own way. Pets are the most important part of the sit and as long as everyone has the best experience, every time that’s what matters.


I know what you mean. We just finished a 10 day sit and there were only 2 short times that the dogs were left alone. All the other times there was always at least 1 of our family members who stayed with the dogs. I could barely get my 14 year old son to leave the house because he wanted to be with the dogs 24/7