What makes a sit Special?

As a HO, I’m wondering what are the things that we can do to make a sit special? The pets and the house are basically out of our control at this point so I’m wondering what kinds if things we can do to make a sit more enjoyable. It is so wonderful knowing that our pets are being so well cared for while we are away so curious how we can make it a great experience for our sitters.


What a lovely question @Pgeiger and thank you for asking.
For me there are a number of things that can make a sit special and all to do with treating the sitter with respect and how you would wish to be treated. There are a minority of owners who treat us like their unpaid help but usually can be spotted in the application process.
Anyway, I’d say a warm welcome initially and treating the sitter as you would a friend coming to stay, with space for clothes and room in the fridge and freezer. It’s lovely when a bottle of wine, or chocolates are left and some food staples, especially if a longer sit, such as milk, bread, butter, eggs although they’re not expected. If owners leave early in the morning it’s lovely to be invited the day before and to share a meal. Also, lots of information of what to do in the area - walks, places of interest, nice dog friendly cafes etc. I keep in contact with many home owners and visit when in their area.


Simple things.
Opening a wardrobe and seeing space AND empty hangers
Having an empty drawer in the bedroom
The fresh clean smell of laundered bed linen
Lots of empty space in the refrigerator
A good walk round of the whole property


I’ll never forget arriving, jet lagged, to a sit in Europe, and being greeted by the cat parent/person and being taken on a lengthy walking tour of the city which included meeting various of her friends along the way. She subsequently made sure I was invited to dinners/meet ups and connected me with people to visit.


So thoughtful of you to ask @Pgeiger …that shows you’re more than likely already the type of HO that’ll make a sitter feel welcome and appreciated. A few of the hospitable touches I’ve experienced on my favorite sits:

  • A short handwritten thank you card and a couple of local treats waiting for me on the dining room table
  • Upon arrival the evening before, a lovely home-cooked meal with the HOs and their neighbor, who was also the emergency contact (great way to make the introduction)
  • A 20-minute driving tour around their small town before they left, where they showed me various sights/shops/restaurants I might like to visit
  • A slim binder with a printed version of their welcome guide, neatly organized in categories (so nice to have a hard copy to easily refer to!), with an extensive section in the back containing restaurant recommendations
  • Post-its on the kitchen cabinets labeling what’s inside, so I didn’t have to open every door and drawer looking for utensils or a skillet
  • New mini toiletries set out for me in the bathroom (hotel style)—even though I bring my own, it’s a nice gesture and has come in handy when I run out of something
  • A phone charging cable in all the main rooms—it’s so nice to not have to unplug the one charger I brought when I move around to different parts of the house
  • Related to the above, easily accessible outlets in every room (sometimes every plug is occupied by the HOs electronics and there’s nowhere to plug in my phone charger or laptop without figuring out what I can safely unplug)
  • Crisp, clean, comfortable bed linens, plush pillows, and soft fluffy towels; often the sitter gets the “hand me down” version of these things (threadbare sheets, flattened pillows, and worn towels)—that’s fine as long as they’re simply past their prime and haven’t crossed into “ew” territory—but it stands out in a great way when the HO provides nice linens and towels

From my POV: I’ve stayed in some nicer homes, but the HOs weren’t as kind as some people with shabbier homes and fewer resources. It’s more about how they interact, rather than about stuff.


If a home owner can stand in shoes of a sitter, who has no car to get out and about, what would they need? One of the best sits we have done is where the owner loaned us her car plus organised a dog walker for a couple of hours Monday to Friday for her 3 big beautiful dogs so we could get out sight seeing. She was so thoughtful of our comfort and happiness. That made the sit VERY special.


Answer: a bicycle with pumped tires! And in a hilly and hot environment: an electric bicycle would be really great.


@pietkuip or get a taxi??? :joy::joy::joy::joy:

1 Like

I would always offer some means of getting around because we have no public transport. My car has a gear box and a recent sitter only had a licence to drive automatic cars so I drove her to do her shopping before I left home.


Yes, a great question, although we have so far been very lucky with extremely welcoming HO’s and thoughtfulness in our comfort. Most important for us is a comfortable bed with bedside table on each side with a lamp. Also, as others mentioned a hard copy of the household/pet guide and places of interest with dining, grocery suggestions. We also prefer to arrive the night before, but don’t expect a meal as it just seems like a lot to ask of someone preparing for a trip. Most HO’s we have sat for are extremely welcoming and gracious and yes you can probably figure that out in the pre acceptance stage.

1 Like

I have had someone asking me what kind of bread I need or milk.also a home cooked meal.or if possible a drive to supermarket so I can get supplies.on the downside nothing to eat after hours of taxi plane and taxi again. House owners maybe have to put themselves in sitters shoes.


@Pgeiger As a sitter, thank you for asking this! I’m sure you’ll get a bunch of great ideas here.

Personally: T
Tidy, clean and fresh is a Love Language! So when the guest room/bathroom/linens are obviously freshly cleaned and laundered, that means alot. But the home too - even if it’s a family home, it means a lot that it’s been tidied, kitchen especially is freshly cleaned, counters are clean, and fridge is decently clean with a shelf or so for my food items. Laundry room is also not piled high with family laundry, but cleared out and available. Just that you treat the Sitter as a true Guest in your home, which for me personally means you are preparing, making space, making it ready for a warm welcome. Many of us consider the services we offer as very important and take them seriously (aka: you are entrusting your beloved pets and actual home to us!) - so we appreciate when the gravity of those responsibilities are seen by virtue of preparing nicely for us to live there. :slight_smile:

I’ve only had 3 sits so far and all 3 HOs have completed their Home Guidebook, as well as been communicative prior and leading up to the sit. One woman who lived in a gated condo made sure her mail room, and the Management knew my name, # and that I’d be there for 3 weeks. She asked me if I use a Keurig or a drop coffee maker, etc. Details like that go a long way to make us feel welcome and safe!

I don’t expect “treats” in the way of food or meals, but of course that is such a welcome surprise. Two HOs have generously offered for me to come the day before/stay until the next day due to their flight schedules, etc, so have been flexible & generous with the bookends of their trip and my stay in their home.

So in a nutshell, for me, top of the list are: Cleanliness/Tidy, and good, thorough communication & preparation!


Love and kindness
Mutual respect


For me, all that is useless when the HOs only offer an espresso from the machine and a bottle of water. No glass, not even a cookie, when one was expected to arrive a little bit before noon. That is quite grating, also when they are generous with other things.

House owners maybe have to put themselves in sitters shoes.

Yes, but the HOs may be stressed by work and by travel. An unexpected video call in the morning, an email that needs to be sent. Then one feels that one is lucky to be retired :slight_smile:

Thank you for so many great suggestions! I will definitely be implementing many of


Not sure about the love so early in the relationship @Amparo! :joy:

I dunno @Smiley
Maybe I’m petmiscuous but it works for me. :purple_heart:


:star_struck: BEST PORTMANTEAU EVER :star_struck:


I’m a HO and a Petsitter on TH. I prepare my home the same way I’d like others to prepare for me. Great communication, complete guidebook, clean and tidy house, empty space for clothes and an honest assessment of their pets up front.

What I do to try and make my sitter feel special?

  1. Share a meal with them before the sit; homemade, take-out or dine-out—whatever works for them.
  2. I make a little basket with gift cards from local merchants in my neighborhood. I’m very involved in my community and this is also a way of showing my support for area businesses. There’s usually a gift card for McConnell’s Ice Cream shoppe (walking distance), our Botanical Garden—6 min. Drive (my dog’s favorite place to go and fresh fruit from either my yard or the Farmer’s Market.