Trusted House Sitters - not PET!

Hey everybody… pleased this forum is here… - a little niggle not a rant but its my side of the fence I am talking about here…

As an owner and someone who looks for fairly lengthy coverage for our house and the dogs we are often sent applications that harp on about the dogs and the fur babies and all the cringe worthy descriptions for pets! Our dogs are about as far from Fur babies as you can get… that’s a little tongue in cheek but for those applying for sits maybe don’t go overboard on the mushy bit!

Anyway one of the main reasons I was writing this is to remind people that although houses quite often come with pets (or fur babies!!) the giveaway as to what a house owner wants is actually a - Trusted House Sitter! Who will look after your house and your belongings and treat it with respect and care. If there are also pets then make sure they are fed, watered, exercised and given some love and TLC. BUT first and foremost the sitter is being given the keys to houses and belongings that could be / are worth several hundred thousand Dollars/Euros/pounds or even a lot more and as an owner the house is the result of a life’s work! Sorry to say that dogs and cats and fish come and go but the house is a constant, until you buy a new one!!
Anyway when you apply for a sit my advice would be to read the information and try to apply for sits that most suit you and your experience and ensure you don’t just apply for a sit because you like the look of the house or the dog but look to apply for a sit where the experience will be positive from both sides. If the sit says couples only, only apply if you are a couple. If it says no car and it’s a rural location and you don’t have a car then don’t apply… it’s horrible for owners to keep saying no and having to write dozens of nice replies to people who should have read the description a little better…
Good luck with your sits as owners or sitters but sitters please place the house at the top of your importance list. Well that’s my opinions anyway…


Welcome to the Forum @BuzzingS.
I’m not sure what there is to say about your first ever post. The theory is sound certainly; sitters have a tremendous responsibility to care for the HO’s property and treat it with respect, that is what you should get from any of the house-sitting groups and businesses available. So, if that is a given under any circumstances then maybe THS wasn’t the ideal fit for you because pets (including livestock. All animals really) and their care is at the core of what we do and why we are here. There are members who will sit homes without pets (I might give it a try myself if the circumstances were right) but most of us are here because we want the company of your pets, it’s part (sometimes all) of the pleasure for us.
The “fur baby” thing grates on some, washes over others and some enjoy that terminology. However, we all have pets as our focal point and I very much doubt you will find applicants here who primarily address the importance of your bricks and mortar without referencing your animals with enthusiasm and affection.


I concur with @saltrams. I appreciate when my home is well looked after but sheesh, it’s just bricks and mortar and stuff. The health, happiness, and overall well-being of my living, breathing, animals are what matters to me. Houses come and go, pets are family and I want them treated as such. I couldn’t care less what a sitter calls them as long as they care for and about them. So, while I can relate to some of your frustration about applications that don’t fit, I kindly suggest that you may want to consider a reframe. Despite the name, THS really is primarily about the pets.


Different strokes for different folks! While I do privately loathe the term “fur babies,” I do love my pet so much more than my house and love it when an applicant talks about her in their messages. I have encountered the opposite issue where people talk about my location/home enthusiastically and don’t say anything about my dog. For me, houses come and go but my pets have been constant-- in the 10 years we’ve been together, we’ve lived in about 15 different homes!

I can see the core of your frustration though: sitters are applying to your sit even though they aren’t a great fit, and/or they are not reading your listing carefully enough and tailoring their messages to your concerns. I can’t see your listing but I can imagine you talk about your home more than your pets because it’s of greater importance to you. An applicant should be able to pick up on vibe that and message you in the same vein. My listing has quite a bit of info about my dog and I even ask specific questions for applicants to answer in their initial message, but even then I still get people who ignore my pet! Perhaps the 5-application limit is somewhat to blame for the rush, but there are ways around it. I do find it frustrating as well and I can commiserate with that.


I :100: agree with @Shafofo

I am a homeowner myself. I understand the hard work of owning a place and the importance of looking after it, but my dog comes first. His little life is way more precious and meaningful to me than materials. That’s not to say that I don’t expect some decent level of respect for my home (cleanliness, caring for the plants, respect the neighbors and not causing significant damage to my property).


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You’re free to believe and feel what you want about your pet(s) and home, but you don’t speak for all HOs.

You’re better off rejecting folks who care about pets more, because there’s probably a mismatch. And that’s perfectly fine.

Personally, I value my dog much more than my homes. He’s a living creature. Houses are much more easily replaceable to me.


Welcome @BuzzingS
I too have to disagree and while the HO’s property should always be respected, the pet should be the top priority.
I’ve sat in 3 million pound plus properties recently and all owners had the most concern that their pets would be cared for and I could help in an emergency. In fact one HO joked that they didn’t care what happened to their property as long as the 2 cats were looked after.
You’ve also got to remember most of us sitters do this because we love animals (of various types) and that’s the enjoyment we get from sits. If it’s a nice property and/or a great location that’s the bonus.


The thing is we come into this life with nothing we leave with nothing.the important things are the people we love and the animals we share our life with. I appreciate staying in someone’s nice home and spending time with their pets. But if my home burned down tomorrow I wouldn’t be bothered as long as everyone was safe that I loved.


@BuzzingS , welcome to the forum. You have posted this to a group of pet lovers so the replies so far are to be expected.

I also understand your concern for your house. Every so often we’ve seen the distress of HO/PO who has posted here about a sitter who did not take good care of their home. This would be extremely upsetting to me were I an owner-member. In my applications I always address this so HO/PO are assured that I will treat their home with care and respect. You’re right, sitters are entrusted with someone’s home and valuables.

And like you, I don’t like those twee/cloying terms for pets — fur baby, fur kids, pet parents, etc.

If I’m sitting solo I will not apply for a listing that specifies a couple only, but will occasionally apply for a listing that does not include a car and inquire whether one might be available. This has been discussed on the forum before. Sometimes owners cut off the conversation right there, other times they offer a car. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.


Equally @BuzzingS there are a lot of frustrated sitters who have to send lots of questions to owners who don’t complete an in depth list with all the information a sitter needs to know about the home and pets (I can’t stand the term fur babies but got told off when I brought that up on the forum!).
I think you’re preaching to the converted here as likely the people you want to preach to aren’t on the forum, there’s only a small minority of members who use the forum. But, as everyone else has said, a sitter’s and most home owner’s priority are the pets, although we do (or should) respect an owner’s home and treat it as our own.
You’ve obviously had a bad experience. Care to share it?

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Please read between the lines here - I love our boys but sometimes the focus on the pet is too great and reading the listing and making sure it suits you is an important part of taking a sit … I understand the negative responses and maybe I didn’t write the original words in more of a balanced way… but there are also people who just want their house looked after … the clue is there right… anyway I will not answer all the negatives as I think my post has been taken somewhat in the wrong way… we are all entitled to our opinion… happy house sitting folks :+1:t3:


Any good THS sitter will see the need to take care of the pets and the home.

It’s a privilege to be entrusted with what many people would consider near and dear to them.

For sitters who don’t think that way, they’re not going to be talked into acting responsibly, unfortunately.

As for applying for mismatched sits, yes, some folks will do it consciously and others by overlooking elements. I’d say you’re tilting at windmills on that, because even in the professional world, people apply for all sorts of jobs that they’re not qualified for. I think that’s just par for the course of humans.

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Nice balanced reply. It’s actually interesting to hear from an HO @BuzzingS that isn’t pet obsessed. We love animals and grew up with labs, retrievers, spaniels, cats, chooks & all sorts. We love a household with extra heart beats in it. However, fur babies they are not, pet parents makes us duly squirm and independent, walk loving, non bed sleeping animals get our vote every time. Especially in a fab location for nice people with a beautiful home. As you say, we’re all entitled to our opinions and wouldn’t it be dull if they were all the same. You sound like nice people to sit for IMHO :raised_hands:t3:


Wow … try reading what I wrote in a more balanced way… of course the dogs come first and of course we want them well looked after - but we came back from a long stint away recently and spent a month sorting out the issues with the house and uncovering broken items hidden in cupboards - and the dogs had put on weight and were unfit because (our gardener said) they were left at home for long periods at a time and only walked once a week… so we were very upset about the whole affair. The photos cuddling the boys were a mask for the fact that they could not be bothered to do anything. It was almost like a squat more than a sit. Maybe you can understand a little more about my issues with recent problems in the frame. I wasn’t for a second saying don’t look after the animals was I. Having had several dogs in my life all living to a decent age thankfully, but i have also learnt to be more philosophical about when they die… but while they are here they get the best of everything - I want that from a sitter but also one who is respectful of the total picture not just focussing on one element… - we are very generous with our sitters leaving them all sorts of extras to use and enjoy and pay for everything for the VOLUNTEERS - however to expect a little extra care for the property is not unreasonable… If you knew me you would know that we are very generous and reasonable people… but i guess that’s the problem with writing on a forum - words can be read in different ways. Anyway as I said I wish you all well with your sits and sitters… bye


ITA with this part, and as many have posted all over the board, suspect that the 5-application limit is partly to blame for the rush of applications from folks who haven’t really read the listing.

I do want sitters to treat my home respectfully - but also, if I didn’t have a pet, I would not need a sitter to come at all. So yes, the pet care is the main focus, and I expect a little ‘wear and tear’, however that may manifest itself (this could be as simple as misplacing something that a sitter can’t be expected to memorize where it goes).

The line between acceptable wear and tear and egregious negligence or destructive in a home is as subjective as the level of tolerable cleanliness on arrival for sitters :wink: but without examples of something really blatant, it’s hard to see where you’re coming from.

I hear what you’re saying. We haven’t had the experience of someone damaging our property (knock on wood), but I did come home once to what I thought was a broken espresso machine and it was kind of annoying that the sitter didn’t seem to be bothered to read my welcome guide, which is very thorough. I have had applicants who won’t even read our listing and they quickly apply (as others mention, blame the 5-app limit rule).
I’ve had my dog left alone overnight, and sometimes left alone almost all day on with people coming in and out as if my place was a free airbnb - felt more like I was hosting them by providing everything they needed, but rarely took my dog out for walks or spent time with him. So, I understand your frustrations and apologies if I misjudged the tone of your original post. Hopefully you have better experiences from here on.

If your house is your number one priority, make that clear to potential sitters. Then they can decide if it suits them
You can ask applicants questions about it too. How they feel about the responsibility of guarding a valuable property or something like that. If they gey put off by that, they are probably not the people you want.


Hi @BuzzingS.

I just wanted to say thank you for posting for the first time to the forums. It takes a lot of courage and initiative to be honest and speak your mind. I also am a big fan of a diversity of opinions. I’d rather agree to disagree than pretend we all agree.

And, yes, you’re spot-on that it’s soooo easy to misinterpret the written word. It makes me wonder if the future of Internet forums is some combo of audio/video with writing: e.g., someone might just say what they think aloud, then AI will transcribe it, but you can always listen to the audio or watch the video.

I also agree that “TrustedHousesitters” can be a bit misleading. It’s clear from experience in the forums that pets are #1. But the name of TH, and a lot of media publicity lean the other way. Even when pet-primary members give interviews about loving the pets first, it’s easy for an editor to say, “Ooh, 40-manor house! I’ll make that the headline!” Maybe TH should rebrand, lol.

Personally, I agree with you that pets come and go—as do people. But houses also come and go. Everyone has a different preference, and I want to respect that as much as possible. For example, I think some people would pick saving their pet vs their house, but they would also pick saving their pet vs another human being. And I would choose any human being vs my pet.

Also, I know sometimes I let frustration with A leak into complaining about B. In this case, your A sounds like sitters who apply with tone-deaf applications. I think that’s been happening more often lately; the cause has been speculated in other topics. Regardless, you really don’t have to write “dozens of nice replies.” If someone didn’t take the time to read your description, just send them a quick generic rejection letter. It can be like, “I feel like you didn’t read my listing well, so I’m sorry but I’m going to pass.” If they really care to sit, they’ll correct themselves and re-apply.

And if you want sitters to “please place the house at the top of your importance list,” please mention that in your listing. I think it goes against the grain of what most expect (at least among veteran sitters). Regardless, it helps to clarify close to the source (e.g., your listing).

Thanks again for writing! –Geoff

edit: Re-reading what you wrote, I’m wondering how many TH sitters you’ve had? If this was the first one and it was bad (sounds bad), please don’t just lump all TH sitters that way (anchoring bias). If anything, I’d say the bad experience was an exception. I’d guess that all the sitters who replied to your post as pet-primary sitters also take exceptional care of the homes they sit in. For most, taking good care of a home is a given (adulting), so we just don’t mention it as much as loving the pets.