Things have changed

Hi @Cyn Yes as @Kelownagurl and @Vanessa-ForumCMgr mention, if the dates haven’t been confirmed or cancelled by the owner, then in your message inbox, there is a button for your to decline the dates. If the owner has agreed and confirmed you, you would simply press the Accept button in your inbox. I hope this helps.

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We have had a similar experience after taking a break for a year due to Covid. It isn’t due to 40+ applications at all (as admin states), we have had this happen with only 4-7. I think many people are wanting ‘local’ sitters, but for some reason are not stating this on sit advertised. Perhaps they are hedging their bets in case the perfect sitter doesn’t come along? It is understandable with the current travel climate that people feel more secure with local sitters. THS should really spend more time with HO’s and check their listings.
One example we had was a sit in Boston recently which denied our application without any reason but kept the sit open. I’m sure it was because we were not local, but as experienced sitters with 5 star reviews it felt terrible to be dismissed without a ‘thanks but no thanks’.

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Yes, things have definitely changed, some for the better, some for the worst.
Gone are the days when a sitter applied, had a conversation or video call, was accepted, turned up on the correct day, took great care of the pets, house and garden, left, was thanked.
Now, we all stress about everything. Our application, is it detailed enough, the supplementary question list, have I answered the questions in the way the pet companion will understand, is there enough pictures of the pets and home, is there too many pictures of the pets and home, do I speak the language well enough, do I have enough knowledge about the pet types, insurance (don’t start me on that one), is the house clean/tidy enough, can I cope with the pets habits, what parts of the house am I allowed in, is there enough space for food storage, is there enough space for personal belongings storage, what happens …if…, where’s the nearest bus stop, will someone collect me from the station/airport. Hen we get onto the reviews….to do or not do that is the question, tell the truth or fluff it, stamp your little foot if you don’t get one, stamp your big foot if you don’t like the one you do get.
And all the time we expect THS to solve everything we don’t like.

Ah, bring back the days independent travellers were independent travellers and THS was a site we used to get a pet fix and all the problems were solved between sitter and pet companion.

But……that was only three years ago………

PS. This is a tongue in cheek post and not meant to be taken serious. I was bored while eating my breakfast.

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I agree with you. We started pet-sitting early 2010 and hadn’t a clue what we were doing but learned as we went along. Nothing seemed to go wrong or if it did it will make good reading for when we write our book, Bill Bryson style.
Having joined the Forum this April I don’t know whether it is a good thing and I have seriously felt like leaving.
I am being swept along with all of the worrying issues that you mention which I never used to worry too much about.
Many members do ask questions that are already on the Website and, yes, seem to want THS to resolve.

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I think that forums like this inevitably are used by sitters venting when things go wrong and/or by new sitters that are over-cautious asking for help and advice - The end result of this is that the forum can quickly become one negative sounding post after another …which in turn gives a very false impression of pet sitting in general. The truth, as we all know is that in reality it is a fantastic lifestyle and the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Maybe we need a ‘feel good Friday’ when, for one day a week, only positive posts & comments are allowed?

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Hi @Rob and welcome to the community forum - we hope you enjoy your time here connecting with members and contributing to the conversations. I think you are right, that when the borders were closed or with restrictions, people were preferring to take local sitters to guard against as much disruption as possible. I know we’ve been contacted over and over for sits in France where the owners have wanted someone in the country. As things open up I think confidence will be regained in using international sitters. See this recent post… Are homeowners happy to accept foreign sitters yet?

You’ll see as you explore the forum that encouraging the best communication possible between members is something TrustedHousesitters are focusing on with messaging, blogs and emails, but with all the will in the world, it would be impossible to “mentor” every new member whether owner or sitter given the many thousands who have joined.

As long term full time sitters, (sitter hat on now) one thing we’ve learned is not to take anything personally and just work on the positive exchanges that have the uplifting outcomes that make our lifestyle so fulfilling. We don’t see a lack of response as a reflection of our experience, just human nature :slight_smile: And sometimes owners need some help to understand best practices when the process is working in action, despite reading guidelines, especially if they are new or only use the service occasionally.

The good thing about the forum is that it raises awareness of these issues for both owners and sitters so hopefully we all better understand how we can help and improve these situations.

Thanks for sharing your feedback and we look forward to following your journey!

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Thank you thank you thank you @ElsieDownie for your uplifting and amusing tongue in cheek commentary.
I agree @Colin. It’s akin to having just one grain of sand in your pants.
And like @Itchyfeet points out this is really such a wonderfully rewarding lifestyle if we could just ease up a bit and just enjoy life.

I have also had moments when I have felt that maybe I should step away and keep enjoying this life as I have been.
But then I realize that serves no one. I have learned a lot from a lot of you and there are people here and yet to come who need to know the joys there are in this “work” and that there are amazing incredible experiences ahead.
There will always be rain and sun. It’s life.

So what’s good in your day today?
Let’s feel good every day!
I’m going to feed the cats and go for a walk in the dark with my new headlamp.
Oooh scary :laughing:

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Fantastic idea, starting this Friday

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Sorry if you found my comment negative, I simply agreed with the original post to, as you say, ‘encourage the best communication’.

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Hi @ElsieDownie @Amparo @Itchyfeet & @Colin … interesting perspectives on the forum, our house sitting lifestyle and how things have changed for some.

The forum is evolving and now that Membership Services are returning to “Normal Service” members will be able to find the help they need with any issues and not bring them to the forum, we are signposting those back through Therese and actively moving them away to where those members will get the assistance they need.

Those experienced members, many who have been with us for years, will have the best of experiences to share including great stories which bring into play so many different aspects of this amazing lifestyle, travel tips, pet care tips, application tips, communication tips … all the positives around being part of this unique and authentic community. Sharing those is how we create positivity, how we help one another, how we build community .

This is your forum and each member can help create the tone they want, positive or negative, it is a choice and one we hope you will continue to make in a positive way.

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Hi Angela
As you may (or not) know I stepped away from the forum for almost a month. It was doing my neb in (good old Scottish phrase). Yes, I loved the interaction and communication but it was all the moans and groans, endless discussion on stuff that could be resolved with a good discussion between the pet companion and sitter. Certain people will never review anything, we have to live with it. Others can’t do negative reviews. It just got me down.
Like others have said I missed the forum. There is definitely more positivity here now. There is a brilliant band of travellers here now and I’m loving it. Please don’t take my post too serious.

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Don’t you dare go away :slightly_frowning_face:

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I’m going no where. Someone has to keep an eye on you all……make sure everyone is behaving and hearing about all the travels, animals and tips is fantastic. Loving it.

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Behave? :upside_down_face:
Good let’s rattle some cages!

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Vanessa, I echo your comment about this forum raising awareness, at least for me. I also can relate to some negative aspects of the interactions, but I selectively absorb (or not) what I read here. I must admit that I skim through many of the posts, and at other times read some in depth.

Even though I have been with THS for seven years, I have picked up tips from the forum that have been useful. I have modified my profile at times to incorporate some ideas I’ve read here. I’ve learned about baking dog cookies as a present and they were well received (and the recipe was requested by the host).

Most recently, for a sit I was selected for this week with first-time homeowners, I was able to better guide them on what came next - for example, how to respond to those who were not selected, and the value of a Welcome Guide. I could not have done this as well if I had not been a member of the forum, given I am not able to view the website from the owner’s perspective.

Thank you, Vanessa and @Angela-HeadOfCommunity , for continuing to listen to the forum feedback and for doing your best. I appreciate you both. :clap: :clap: :clap:

And @Colin , I look forward to your first ‘feel Good Friday’ post. :grinning:

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I truly laughed out loud all the way through that!

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Well we are glad you are back @ElsieDownie … when something is negative we have two choices join in and feed it or help change the narrative.

When we choose the latter we have a good chance to influence the whole, with the caveat that in spite of our best efforts it doesn’t always work but we believe our forum is working and working well.

We are a young community learning more about what works and what doesn’t every day.

Thank you for being part of it … and that goes for everyone here.

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I love this line. Very good point. Thanks Angela.

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Absolutely agree. What we nourish grows!
Feed what is desired in the garden 🪴

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Negativity is not always bad. It’s pointless censoring comments or posts just because they are not ‘good news- happy clappy’ - but it is about balance, making sure that new members are not led to believe that all the negative comments and/or experiences mentioned on the forum are the norm.

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