What turns a pet sitting experience into a return sit?

Hey everyone!

After reading some return sit experiences here on the Forum, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a pet sitting experience one that both the sitter and the pet parent want to do again. Whether you’re the pet owner entrusting your furry friend to someone else’s care or you’re the one doing the sitting, there’s always that hope for a great bond and a positive experience. But what exactly turns a one-time pet-sit into one that you return to?

Along with the basics like feeding and walking. it sounds like it might be about that extra mile, that special touch that makes all the difference. Maybe it’s the way the sitter sends regular updates with cute photos, or how they genuinely seem to bond with your pet. Perhaps it’s the small gestures, like leaving a personal note or going above and beyond to accommodate your pet’s personality and well-being.

I’m curious, what do you all think? Have you had any particularly outstanding pet-sitting experiences that made you come back for more when you found the pet parent had listed another sit opportunity? What specific qualities or actions do you think contribute to a successful sit? And for those on the other side of the equation, what approach have you found most effective in building trust and rapport with a sitter?

I’d love to hear everyone’s insights and experiences!

Hope to hear from you soon.

Jenny :slight_smile:


For us it’s the combination of well-behaved pets, a comfortable home, feeling appreciated by the pet parents and an interesting area that offers enough to see/do for a second visit.


Very similar to @Els . Mutual appreciation of the exchange, well behaved animals and a comfy, clean home. A place that pulls us in for a return visit usually includes the sea for us! :swimming_woman:


I rarely accept repeat sits, for variety’s sake. All else equal, the defining element is, do I love the location enough to repeat it? That’s because, from my POV, there are nice hosts, lovely pets and comfortable homes in various sits.

My upcoming sit is a repeat, because I found the location idyllic, the pet is the loveliest dog I’ve ever encountered, and the hosts are easygoing and trusting.


We love doing return sits, and even though we do go ‘above and beyond’, I don’t think it’s about that at all, I think it’s all about the instant connection you have right at the start. When we turn up, it only re-affirms that the connection we both had was true.


Reminds me of something I’ve encountered: I have two sits booked for later this year for separate hosts I’ve not sat for previously. In the months since we agreed on our sits, they’ve repeatedly run additional sit dates by me, asking whether I can do them. A few are trips they might take and a couple are for additional trips they’ve already booked.

I think they’re simply excited that they found a sitter who fits the profile they prefer — solo, telecommuter, older woman with strong reviews. As affluent retirees, they can afford to travel quite a bit.


I would do repeat sits only in areas where I want to go back, for instance visiting my children who live in two different towns, or family.


I live in a different part of the US then my grandaughter, so I look at pet sits in her area so I’m able to see her more often. All the pet sits I’ve done in her area I would sit at again just for that reason. They have all had great pets and nice homes, etc. There have been a couple sits I’ve done, one in Santa Monica that I would do again as I loved that area and the home owner and her pet were great to sit for/work with. I would do a local pet sit more often if someone had trouble finding a pet sitter as well or was in a pinch.


I’m at the stage in life where I buy homes outside of cities, because I enjoy lush landscapes and can spread out. Just moved cross country to another such home. That’s versus when I was younger and enjoyed full-time city life. I might start doing local sits in the city, for a change of pace. If I find ones I especially like, I might do repeats of those. But we’ll see, because short sits aren’t necessarily worth it, with cleaning and all.

1 Like

Edited to better reply to original question: What turns a pet sitting experience into a return sit?

For me, pets and home as described, an uncomplicated owner, mutual appreciation for the exchange.

I’ve probably had as many return sits as first time sits, and although we met through THS, we usually just reach out directly via text or email to schedule future sits and don’t book through THS.

The majority of my return sits have been close to where my family is, so this exchange has allowed the owners to have the care and attention they know I give their home and pets, while allowing me to have a place to stay while visiting family. A win-win for us both.

There are a few sits where I enjoy returning to because of the location, the home and pets, owners who are friends, etc.


I do return sits if the house and pets are lovely and the home is in a good location with lots to do. I have some people who write to me first and say they want to book a holiday and when am I free, hence some bookings are a year ahead. People have become friends, I am more like a family member. During lockdown several peole kept in touch, telling me their news and sending pet photos. Often if I am travelling I call in for coffee or even stay the night if its convenient and they have suggested it. I never get treated as ‘staff’ and if that happened I would not go back.


I love return sits when they are in the cities where my children are located. It allows me to visit with them, but not be under foot (they don’t have a big enough place for me, anyway), and if the pets are nice and the homeowners are appreciative, I enjoy returning many times.


Pets we fell in love with (ok this usually happens :smiling_face:)

Beautiful home we feel good in

Lovely hosts who’s communication and company we enjoy.

Great location with lots to explore


There was this little town in the Dordogne where I would like to return to. I had a busier social life there than I have at home, was drinking more wine with people in those weeks than ever before. The home owners became friends, the cat was easy, the home was central and the balcony had a beautiful view of the valley.

So it is mostly because of the people that I met there, and the open and welcoming atmosphere. Maybe this autumn!


We just did a return local sit and I love this particular sit. It’s the combination of the affectionate pets who feel very comfortable with us. Also, welcoming and appreciative homeowners and a terrific location and views from every room in the home! I’m a city person so I love being in the heart of a city where there’s lots of shops and restaurants within walking distance. This is a big factor in doing a return sit.


When I first started I informed everyone I would not do repeat sits because I was embarking on the journey for new muses; aka places and scenery to photograph, paint, write songs about and to simply add to my previous 49 cities and 9 countries I’ve already experienced.

Well my second sit was a darling little dog and perfect homeowners and neighborhood . Each one was a muse for everything I do practically. The homeowner even said I was welcomed to use his tools on my car and whatever else I might use them for. They had a garden full of fresh veggies and the location was central to many different exciting places.
Needless to say I did 3 tours there!
I have a coming up sit in the same neighborhood with a dog whose portrait I painted.
And starting the end of this month I’m in a farm with a repeat sit with two spunky fun cats. Both of the above mentioned places also have the best amenities. Tennis courts, swimming, museums, hiking parks, beaches…

I’ve done several repeats.
Having so many talents and likes makes it easy for me to enjoy the same place -differently each time. Going forward (if i may); I will try harder to say no to repeat sits! Wish me luck!


That’s a really good point sledgejoyce! We’ve done a couple of those. We’ve just become first time grandparents and our family live three hours drive away so it’s a perfect combination of house sitting and enjoying pets with visiting family at the same time :slight_smile:


For us its a case of nice (and appreciative) HO, nice pets, nice house and a nice area.
Quite simple really, and that’s nice :grinning:


Yep, as others have stated, we do repeat sits in the town where our grandkids are.

Also, the repeat sit must have these qualities: clean house, pets as described in listing, and homeowners who embrace the ethos of an equal exchange between sitters and HOs.


I would happily go back to most of the places if I had the opportunity. The problem is I’m not always going that way. The timing doesn’t work. I’ve been asked, but it’s never when I’m actually available or when air fares aren’t outrageously high. In my case I do this for fun and there are definitely places I would return to if things worked out. But so far I’ve only had one return date to the same home where the stars aligned. I also host. . I’ve had two local sitters make it back for return stays. One is no longer sitting and is now far away. I always have some back and forth before posting a listing to see if people can do dates. It’s fun to catch up but it often just doesn’t work.