What emergency plans do you make?

Hi, we recently set off by car to a sit. En route, we had an accident meaning that we had to be towed off the motorway. Fortunately, no one was hurt and the car was repairable that evening. We were delayed by 3 hours and informed the HO of the delay. We had planned on meeting them in the evening before spending the night in a hotel. This meant that whilst the delay was inconvenient it was not a big problem for us or them.
However, it did make me aware of the problem that could have arisen in a worse case - had we been injured, or worse, and unable to do the sit; or, had we been arriving after the HO had left for their holiday?
When I sit by myself, other half has contact details of HO to inform if there is a problem, but when we are both travelling I would not feel happy sharing HO details with other people. How do others view/deal with this?

1 Like

Hi @ELNF , this is one of the reasons we always request that sitters comes to use the day before we leave, I would not be happy leaving the dogs before the Sierras arrived just in case anything like this happened… Glad you were ok.

Hi Foldor13. Yes I always prefer to arrive the day before it makes sense. I just wonder what a HO would do if we didn’t arrive and they couldn’t get hold of the sitter. I’m trying to think of a possible solution that doesn’t involve sharing details with other people

Hi again @ELNF, from my personal point of view, we would just not leave, if necessary we’d cancel our holiday……we generally only travel within the UK for relatively short periods, so it’s not the end of the world if we have to alter or plans, I realise it wouldn’t be as easy for everyone though…:smirk:

@ELNF I have never had that sort of problem luckily as a sitter. I think if I was a HO I would definitely want to have a back-up plan. I’m not sure and @Angela-CommunityManager might want to comment here but does THS keep a list of sitters who are flexible enough to pick up a sit at very short notice where the sitter cannot get there?

I am always amazed at how laidback most HOs are. As sitters we always make contact about a week before. We remind them when we are due to arrive. They never check up on us the day before or during our journey. I text them during the journey if there are any traffic problems. When we arrive, they ask about the journey and have usually forgotten that we may have been travelling for anything up to 7 hours.
I am sure none have a Plan B.

Hi @carpediem in the event of a last minute cancellation or other situations which may compromise a sitting arrangement, our Membership Services Team will support and do everything possible to find a solution.

To answer your question, no we don’t have a list of available sitters.

This is something we have discussed and we are looking at and is something I believe would provide a practical solution and could benefit both sitters and owners and not just in an emergency situation, also helping with last minute sits etc.

As with every added layer to our Trustedhousesitters proposition this would need to be thoroughly tried and tested to make certain it provided a manageable solution and didn’t add to the problem.


@Angela-CommunityManager yes thanks for that Angela…its a tricky one but I think if some sort of system was in place to get back-up sitters to HOs in the event of emergencies it would be very reassuirng to both HOs who might otherwise have no option than cancel their holiday and also to sitters who might feel they have let somebody down at the last minute. Thanks

1 Like

My real concern is that had the worst happened and that we had been killed or seriously injured in an accident en route, there would be no way of informing the HO. To them, we just didn’t turn up. As it was, the HO actually called me around the time of our accident (a case of second sight?) but my bag was in the car whilst we were behind the safety barrier awaiting the motorway security vehicle.

I always.(not just with sits) keep my phone in a secure spot within arm’s length when I’m in my vehicle. Although my phone is connected to bluetooth, I rarely use my phone when driving. However, if there’s an emergency of any kind, I want it accessible. Thankfully I’ve never had cause to use it that way.

Hi. I approach a similar question, but almost in reverse. I sit solo, which brings an added need for backup. I explain that although I would do my utmost to always give care, I use the example of if I had a heart attack. In that extreme scenario, is there ANYONE I can turn to to cover for an interim short term until arrangements can be made. The homeowner then realizes that of course I can’t be blamed, and can’t care for the pet, and we then together work out a backup plan.

1 Like

@Snowbird every HO should have a back up plan and as sitters we should not have to point out the obvious. Where a HO does not have a back-up plan and the sitter does not show for genuine reasons in my opinion,they should take responsibility for their lack of foresight.

@Snowbird sorry but just to add to that I dont think its the sitters job or responsibilty to help the HO to work out a back-up plan. At the end of the day surely these are adults we are working with and if they cant make a plan where a family member…a friend…a neighbour…a dog walker…a kennel or cattery (God forbid!) can step in then thats a sorry state of affairs! This is not the sitters problem…that might sound harsh but at the end of the day we are not paid workers and things do go wrong in our lives that mean we cant get to a sit. No sitter wants that to happen but I cant see any point blaming ourselves for that as long as we contact the HO asap and let THS know thats about all we can do.


Hi. My scenario is that if a solo sitter is at this sit but cannot complete it, because of drastic health reasons, for example - unavoidable and unpredictable. What then? The sitter has no local support system, so the homeowner needs to think who the sitter should turn to in such a situation. A little different to a sitter not being able to arrive. Although I do appreciate that scenario too, that wasn’t the point I was addressing.

@Snowbird understood but in that situation, the HO still needs to have a back-up plan dont you think? How much responsibilty do you want to take on for sorting the problem? Things happen but at the end of the day the HO has responsibility to their animals and need to plan for that.

Yes, I agree that they need to take responsibility in being involved in the planning. However, when a horrible event happens to a sitter while on the sit, the homeowner may not be available to deal with it - let’s say they’re on a flight. In that case, us having discussed it and made plans for a backup person is one less thing to worry about. Problem solved - person B will step in, and we’d all know who that would be. My theory is that if I plan for the worse-case scenario, hopefully it won’t happen. It’s worked so far :grin: :crossed_fingers:


We always have a backup plan if anything goes wrong, be it that the sitter doesn’t arrive on time or doesn’t arrive at all (no matter what the reason may be), or if there’s any kind of emergency from the sitter’s side as well as from our side.
Most important is that the pets are cared for and not left alone for a longer period. Our neighbor knows the cats and would step in for food and medication. She wouldn’t spend much time here but make sure that they won’t go hungry. Of course this wouldn’t cover for a long period but would work for a couple of days.
Should we go on a longer trip and the sitter wouldn’t be able to show up I would try to get a last minute sit from THS who could take over from my neighbor even if we’re not there.
For this I wrote a complete welcome guide, which also is available in print at the house so taking over should work.
I also have my mother and brother as emergency contacts to help if there were any questions concerning the house.


In my initial interview with the HO I include the question, in the event you are delayed and I have to leave, who should I leave the pet with? This ensures that there is someone who can take over if need be. I haven’t pursued an emergency backup plan further than that.


@Düsenzofe @Snowbird this is what i mean and here’s a HO on the ball and thinking and planning ahead. I had a message from @Angela-CommunityManager on this topic and she confirmed that THS would do everything they could to help in this situation and if a HO could not be reached in the event of an emergency the next step for me as a sitter would be to contact THS and see if they can find another sitter at short notice (provided the HO had not given me a contact person who could step in as @mars had flagged up). Eitherway THS needs to be informed of whats going on. No sitter wants to let a HO down but our responsibility should have limits and any HO entering into this type of arrangement surely understands the possible pitfalls? There is a flip side to this topic of course and thats where a HO cancels on a sit at short notice or comes back earlier than agreed, and as sitters we need a back-up plan also.

1 Like

@Snowbird Exactly my thoughts!
@carpediem that’s experience talking :wink:
Our very first time we asked someone (not with THS) to sit it was clear from the start that she would arrive three days later than we had to leave, because she was on holiday in the US so for these three days we asked the neighbors to step in.
So far no problem but the lady wasn’t much into communication with us and had her mobile turned off. We were driving through the Caprivi in Namibia the day she was supposed to arrive and were worried sick because we didn’t know if she was there. The neighbors would have done the feeding twice a day for longer but this clearly wasn’t what we wanted. We finally sent my brother to check if she had arrived and as he was about to leave at 8.30 PM, telling us the house was dark and nobody there, she finally arrived and was completely surprised that we were worried.
This is never going to happen again even if it worked out fine at the end.
We now would like to know the approximate time the sitter will arrive and expect a message as soon as possible. Actually we want to avoid a situation like this altogether by asking the sitter to come a day early.