Looking for some advice. We have had a couple of sits in which we discovered in the welcome guide pet health issues and/or medication requirements that were not disclosed in the listing or interview. These issues greatly impact the sit and had we known about them upfront, we may not have applied for the sits.
Has this happened to other sitters and what suggestions can be provided on how to best handle these situations?
We always specifically ask about pet health issues, medications, expected behaviour when meeting other dogs on a walk etc during the interview process.
If we asked those things and the owner said there were none, and we then found undisclosed issues in the Welcome Guide, I think we’d have every right to cancel the sit.
I’m interested to know what the official THS advice is on this.
Pre-covid I rarely did video interviews so I would have been depending on the home owner being open and transparent about these things in their listing or in their messages.
Even if a video call is undertaken it’s difficult to cover all eventualities. Personally, if I discovered something in the welcome guide that caused me to feel that the responsibilities were beyond my capabilities I would want to cancel. This is why I always request the welcome guide immediately on accepting a sit.
We ask very detailed questions during the video call with the HO. We never accept a house sit without doing a video call first.
Hello @mrepetto and welcome to the community forum. Given these changes are shown in the welcome guide, I’m going to assume that you’re discovering this before the sit starts. I would consider whether I felt able or comfortable with managing the changes. I would also want to know whether this was something that has developed since we confirmed the sit, or whether it was not disclosed for whatever reason.
If I felt I wasn’t comfortable doing these extra duties, or perhaps not capable of doing them, then I would set that out in an email via the TrustedHousesitters inbox and would explain that I was no longer able to do the sit. That is not only looking out for me, but also to assure the pet would have adequate care.
If I went ahead with the sit, I would add in my feedback that I would have preferred knowing all details that were important to the care of the pet and felt that this should have been disclosed in the listing, and before the sit was confirmed. That alerts sitters after you to be particularly thorough with these owners.
I would also, in my follow up email with the owners, suggest that they add these details into their listing for other sitters.
@mrepetto this is a very interesting topic and one that deserves attention. Unfortunately, there are times when topics may have meant to be discussed, asked, etc., but in the heat of the conversation, they can be forgotten. I want to believe no one would deliberately leave out pertinent info in an interview, but this can happen. If or when you run across this situation, and it appears to be something so serious it could change your mind about the sit, you should always contact Member Services to get proper advice on how to handle as TrustedHousesitters is based on trust between both the sitter and the pet parent.
I agree with @Jilly .
I obtain the Welcome Guide asap.
On a couple of occasions there have been material differences from what was discussed. I was not happy with the new information. I suggested that we were probably no longer a good fit and I asked them to release us and relist, which they did.
I recommend that you don’t cancel from your end as THS may not support you if the HO complains.
I am both a homeowner and a sitter. As a homeowner, as soon as I confirm a sitter, I send the welcome guide and I tell the sitter that if they find something in the welcome guide that they’re not comfortable with, to let me know and they are welcome to cancel the sit. I try to disclose everything in my listing as well as the video call, but you never know. Is there something about the location of my house that doesn’t suit the sitter, something about the dog or cat that didn’t come up before? I just don’t know, but I want the sitter to have the chance to read my welcome guide which spells everything out and let them know that if there is anything they are not 100% comfortable with, we can either work it out, or they can cancel. As a sitter, I’ve never had a homeowner say this to me, but I sometimes wish they would.
I m sorry for your negative experience.
From our experience, if you discover the pet’s medical condition after you begin the HS, there is nothing you can do.
Just finish HS ,and never return.
To avoid future issues, we made it clear to the HO that we do not sit or leave a sit if they are false statements in their application.
This is a really tough one. We, as sitters, often don’t receive the Welcome Guide until the start of the sit - many HO’s put this off until the last minute, because they see it as a huge task, in addition to cleaning and preparing for the sitter’s arrival. It then feels like we, as sitters, can’t pull out at the last minute, because how will the HO find a new sitter last minute? So the burden is unfairly on us, or so it feels.
On the other hand, I had one HO who contacted me recently. We confirmed the sit in June, for December. But now her dog needed injections twice a day. We apologised, but we could not face this. Luckily she found another sitter. It is such a relief when a HO is proactive.
Further to my earlier thread stating that I ask for the Welcome Guide. If it is not forthcoming despite a few gentle reminders, I ask them to cancel and relist.
If they are too busy to write up the guide, will they be too busy for a proper handover, too busy to respond to communication while away, too busy for your review.
I do the same! No need to waste the sitter’s time or yours. I’m very transparent about my pets and their needs, my apt, my neighborhood. I have a detailed listing, but I like to have a thorough discussion with a video chat before confirming the sit and in the welcome guide.
I want to be upfront as if it’s not a good fit, the sitter and I can both move on to what works for us.
I have no clue why people mislead/be deceptive (HOs and sitters). That’s extremely counter-productive
If the HO doesn’t divulge issues until your see the Welcome Guide (even if it is an innocent oversight), you have every right to cancel. When we sit, we ask that we receive the welcome guide within a week of the video chat – for this very reason. If there is something really different from what you discussed, then you must reconsider. It’s for the well-being of the pets, really!
If the pet’s med changes after you confirmed the sit – they now need injections, for example, – again, I believe sitters have every right to withdraw, as the pet should have someone taking care of it who is comfortable administering shots. As a pet owner, that’s what I would want for my animals!