What do professional pet-sitters make of this arrangement?

After having dogs (and other animals) all my life I decided to pet-sit, and I can honestly say however much I love what I am doing, it is not something that I would do myself in future if I ever have pets again.

I absolutely give my animal charges the very best of care/attention…Point taken…

I would like to know what this ‘pet-sitting culture’ has had on professional pet-sitters who are paid for their profession. And I wonder if we, as pet-sitters on TrustedHousesitters (and other such sites), are actually adding negatively to the idea of owning a pet…in that you can have that responsibility but go away whenever without paying for someone who has spent some years qualifying to do so.

It’s quite a moral quandary for me…

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I have had similar thoughts (at least, the first part). I know someone who is a professional dog walker and sitter (in her home). She’s never brought it up, but I think she’s very well-established. AFAIK, many of the overnight sitters who charge (and are bonded and insured) and stay at the home work as vet techs/nurses/assistants. In other words, I don’t think that most rely on it 100% for income.

One of the reasons I checked out this service was because I have paid pet sitters in the past, sometimes with bad results. I have also boarded my pets, with bad results then, too. Lots of money spent, extra hassles, & its usually not in the pets best interest. So I joined this service as a pet sitter to give it a try.

So I just finished my first sit and I felt like I did a great job. I cared for the pets as if they were my own (or even better than my own), cleaned the house at the end, etc.

I was thinking back on how much money I had paid all these pet sitters over the years. Hundreds of dollars I paid, just to hope everything would be okay when I returned home, and often it was not okay. I had animals neglected, people ran up my utility bills, dogs weren’t secured & got out & killed a neighbors cat once. One sitter emptied cat litter into the kitchen garbage all week. Imagine how that smelled when I walked into the house? The child of one our sitters told us that in fact, their family had gone out of state for a week, in the middle of the 3 weeks we were paying them to petsit our pets! So we paid them, and they weren’t even checking on our pets! Imagine if I had known that??? I could go on.

So yes, it kind of bothers me that a free service can get you a heck of a great sitter, when paying someone will not.

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Doing this ‘pet-sitting’ to help myself through missing my pets and not being able to have another pet as yet.

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@dogangel , I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved dogs. I hope the lovely pets you will meet through THS help you to heal. Most of us have been through what you are going through.

And yes, THS is an ingenious concept. If HOs want to continue to attract good sitters they must provide a comfortable living situation, and if sitters want to keep getting good sits, they need to provide a high level of care. Past reviews are so important here. When it works correctly, the exchange is a win-win for both parties. You may not have a vet tech, vet nurse or vet assistant caring for your pets, but you will have a sitter who knows how and when to contact a professional when it’s required. Many sitters have expertly handled all kinds of crises with the animals in their care and with the homes where they are staying. Unlike someone who is just doing the job for money, THS sitters do it for love. You will have an experienced, caring, motivated person, like yourself, staying with your pets.

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How do you know you are caring for the pets better than the owners? This statement comes over very arrogant. No one knows what goes on and you are making a assumption.

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I have had some very heated discussions with “professional pet sitters” Some of them think we are doing them a disservice by not charging for our care of the pets. It devalues the work they are doing. I have tried to explain it’s a mutual exchange but to no avail.
I am not a professional pet sitter in any way shape or form. However, I have been around animals all my life, having been brought up on a farm, and have an instinct with most of them. I always ask a lot of questions and make sure their routine is written down so I can refer to it to make sure I don’t forget anything. They get the care and attention that the owners want them to get.
I would never accept money as it changes the whole dynamics of the exchange. I would be employed then. I would be ordered to do things and personally I would find that very stressful.
It’s a different type of person who does this and I mean both parties. It works for some but not everyone. Some people think they have to pay to get the best service. I think there would be many on this site that disagrees.
Elsie

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We have used professional pet sitters a few times for previous trips. They did care well for our cats but they were at the house for one hour a day. They were not live-in sitters. And just one hour a day was quite expensive with extras for additional pets (at that time we had three cats) and weekends and holidays. We were satisfied anyway but I don’t think our cats appreciated being alone 23 hours a day for a few weeks. For our one month trip to New-Zealand we supplemented with friends staying at the house on the weekends. For our current six weeks trip the cost would have been prohibitive and our remaining cat would have been very lonely after spending the last 20 months at the house with both of us there working. So finding THS was a revelation for us and the sitters that are currently watching over our girl are giving her all the love and attention she deserves. So professional sitters may be ok sometimes but I much prefer having someone in our house with our cat offering quality care.

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My friend just went through this. I’ve encouraged her to use THS but her cat has some special medical needs so she thought a paid sitter would be better as this service they’re all vet techs or in training to become one so they have more formal medical training than the average THS sitter would have.

Totally blew up in her face. First the sitter was pissed off when my friend messaged her at the wrong time because she forgot about the time difference. It was just a “hope everything is going great, let me know if you have any questions” message and the sitter replied back with “don’t ever text me at this time of day again, some people have to sleep”. Which, I get that getting a message at 3 am would be annoying but jeez, put your phone on mute if you don’t want to be disturbed and it was once and an accident.

Then my friend returns back to discover that her cat has lost a ton of weight, is acting like he’s starving, and not enough food is gone. When she questioned the owner of the service, the owner swore the sitter followed the feeding plan and sent my friend a screenshot of a text to the sitter asking her. The sitter never actually said the followed the plan. They said that the plan was wrong and in her experience as a vet tech the plan should be x. To me that indicates she didn’t follow the feeding plan (which was specially designed by a vet and animal nutritionist specializing in this medical condition) but did what the sitter thought was appropriate.

Basically it was just a nightmare. Thankfully after a week back her cat is back on the plan and gaining the weight back and has stopped begging for food constantly, so is no longer being starved.

Just goes to show that bringing someone in who is doing it because they want to cuddle with your pets is potentially better than hiring a pro who thinks they know better than you do what your pet needs.

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What does AFAIK mean pls?

Bartering for services has been around for many thousands of years and in more recent times is making a comeback. -

-I’ll paint your house if you fix my car
-I’ll mow your lawn if you will do my shopping
-I’ll look after your pets if you give me free accommodation

It works really well if and when the exchange is deemed to be similar and fair.

I think this is where THS and paid for sitters differ. TH sitters do long sits and paid for sitters tend to do shorter sits. The reason for this is that paid for sitters are giving their time in exchange only for cash. In this case the exchange feels less equal - and time is an expensive commodity!

There is enough space for both paid for sitters and exchange of services sitters - they should be looked at as similar services fulfilling the needs of a similar but not exactly the same market.

Complimenting each other , not competing with each other.

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The following quote from your comment is not correct and is what causes the confusion.

The sitters on THS are NOT doing this for free -

TH sitters are exchanging their services for accommodation - Paid for sitters are exchanging their services for cash - everybody is dong it for something, just a different method of payment

…times change, THS would not be successful if the service offered is not as good, or better than other, similar services available

Is THS your only moral quandary or do you also worry about Spotify, Google, Youtube, Zoom, and the myriad of other services that have cash paid for alternatives?

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As far as I know

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Payment comes in more forms that cold hard cash. For me, the cornerstone of TH and similar sites is that the premise of the arrangement is a fair exchange of energy between two parties - no one better than the other, or giving more than the other. HO can have a chance to find someone who will be in their property with the animals, and keep to their routine as much as possible, giving them the same amount of attention and care, keeping the animals as stress free as possible. Coming in to put food in a cat’s bowl twice a day and simply checking they are still alive is not the sort of ‘care’ that would suit me. Throw a dog and some outdoor animals into the equation, and loving care becomes even more important. There are surely some wonderful paid sitters/carers out there, but then I would not normally be their only job and they could not be there all of the time, especially if there was an emergency.

In exchange, a sitter can stay in a different place for a while, maybe in a different environment or lifestyle. They can enjoy the company of the sorts of animals they want to spend time with. I have so many people wo say to me “Oh, you have donkeys and alpacas? I would pay to look after them!” In reality, it is not necessarily easy or light work to own or care for animals like that, but I have found sitters we have had have relished the opportunity to do so! We in turn truly appreciate the work that they do when they come here, and value it - that is one reason we would never go away in the winter months because that really is the tough time and we would not want a sitter to have to go through that. We want them to enjoy the experience as much as they can, and it would not be fair on them.

Sitters do not pay to come and stay in someone’s home and be with their animals , in the same way that the HO does not pay a sitter for the work involved. There should be a mutual and reciprocal respect between the two parties that makes it work, which leads to clear communication, and realistic expectations. If it feels like a chore for either side, then some of that is probably missing

I’d also add that many paid sitters that I have looked at in the past, or see advertising now, have not spent “some years qualifying to do so”. They are often individuals who like/love animals and have been able to set up a business that allows them to work with them in some way.

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Yes I see your point. I’m seeing it’s quite a subject to have started a conversation about…

Yes good point…I didn’t mean to sound arrogant. I give my absolute all though. Worded it wrongly…

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It is always interesting to see other peoples perspective on different topics - That is what the forum is all about :grinning:

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Yes indeed…seems to have opened up some very strong feelings on the subject. It was just a question that had occurred to me. Think I’ll keep any further ruminations I may have to myself :slightly_smiling_face:

Well said, Boodie.

And a good question too @dogangel … please don’t feel that this isn’t a space to ask questions that prompt debate from different viewpoints. As @Colin says,

As with any forum of this kind it’s easy to write something that can be misinterpreted, and I’ll own up as a moderator to having to read, and re-read my responses over and over to try and avoid wording something in the “wrong” way :slight_smile: Please keep contributing - I’ve enjoyed and learned from reading this thread. Happy New Year!

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