What do you do if everything seems fine during the interview and ‘getting to know each other’ process (including video chats and multiple messages), but when the sitter turns up at a HO’s house, there’s something “off”? Either with the sitter, or the homeowner? I think this could pertain to either. Do you go through with the sit? And what happens if you don’t? Has this happened to anyone else? How did you handle it?
@2Globetrotters , I think more specifics are needed to answer this question, as canceling a sit at this point should not happen unless there is a serious situation…
I agree with @mars. What exactly is “off”?
We’ve been sitting full-time for over 3 years and met a few owners of which we thought “they are really weird”, but that is obviously subjective and no reason to not go through with the sit.
So, it depends what you mean by “off”…
An odd post, if you don’t mind my saying and, as others have said, what exactly do you mean by “off”?
When I’ve arrived at a sit I might occasionally have thought the owner or owners aren’t going to be my best friends but I won’t be spending long with them so it’s not an issue.
“Off” seems a bit vague. We take our responsibilities very seriously so unless the place was uninhabitable or a serious problem with the pet we would simply see it through and chock it up to experience.
I was actually speaking from the homeowner’s point of view, but thought it might pertain to sitters, too. I can see from a sitter’s side that they may feel that their time with the homeowner is limited, so, “suck it up and do the sit” would be the same attitude I’d have.
On the other hand, as a homeowner, your sitter is going to be in your house with your pet (if you have one) for the duration of your absence. If you get the feeling that they are not what they represented during the interview process, or that they really don’t show any interest in your fur baby at all, or that they half-listen to what you’re telling them about home/pet care, or you simply don’t get a “good” feeling about them - then what? Do you leave, feeling like this might be a huge mistake and just hope for the best? Or do you stay, knowing that there will be inconvenience (to say the least) and negative consequences on both sides, but at least you know your home and pet will be safe? How would you handle this?
I hope that clarifies what I meant by the initial post.
Ok but you said “either with the sitter or the home owner”
I think that situation is going to be rare, but then I’m a sitter so maybe they’ve thought I’m off As an owner I think you’d just have to go with it at that stage. Best thing is to keep communicating and have a lengthy video call.
@2Globetrotters that sounds like a real nightmare situation, but I can see it might happen.
As sitters, we once arrived to a home (blind handover) only to realise this house is very dirty. It was depressing, but also, there was an air of uneasiness that I couldn’t shake through the whole sit. It was a long sit and it was very uncomfortable. At one point we seriously considered booking into an Airbnb and taking the dogs with us. In the end we stayed but was so relieved when the sit ended, at last. Yikes, never had that ‘off-feeling’ before or after this particular sit, so it was a real shocker.
As a HO, if sitters arrive and you feel they’re not who/what they said they were? That must be really hard too. As @Smiley said, you can’t really do anything at that point, bar keeping the communication channels wide open. Check in with them often and ask for frequent updates if it’s not forthcoming. Ideally you would have vetted the sitters well, and well in advance, but sometimes something can go wrong.
If you’re worried about your pets, hopefully you can find someone to come and pick them up and lodge them elsewhere. But I doubt you can chuck the sitters out without causing some serious upset.
@2Globetrottersas as experienced homeowners , no doubt you’ve done due diligence and chosen sitters with good reviews from previous homeowners . Hopefully that is somewhat reassuring. They may be “quirky” or “odd” but still able to take good care of your pets and home .
If the things that are “off” or they have misrepresented themselves in a way that will directly impact negatively on the care of your pets or home then I can understand your concerns and you should contact member services .
We don’t know the details of your situation and you probably can’t give any more details on the forum without identifying the sitter .
If they appear physically unable to take care of your pets in the way you have outlined in the responsibilities then this could be a serious issue . Or if you feel that the person that has turned up is not actually the THS member and is impersonating them or has come in their place then this would be a very serious issue and I would involve member services immediately.
I understand what you are saying & we have experienced that ‘Not good feeling’ as a HO. For me I think it’s just that we don’t “click” with everyone; however, all our sitters took care of our cat and in the end that is all that really matters to us. Sitter & HO come in all styles /personalities & with time you get better out selecting HO & Sitters that fit your “style”…all about learning the lessons of housesitting.
@2Globetrotters An off feeling is very vague. If you have done due diligence in choosing them to sit already then you shouldn’t cancel. You aren’t going to be besties with everyone but they should take care of everything as expected and you need to have more faith.
You sound like a first time homeowner and with experience of petsitting comes the ability to overlook small things as we have found the majority of people tend to make a poor first impression. People are stressed, packing, busy, tired, straight off long flights, under pressure, worrying and we forgive that and don’t overthink small issues.
Thanks, everyone for your remarks. In the several years we’ve been with THS, this has never happened before, and hopefully will never happen again! We appreciate your input. -
I’d trust my judgment. Depending on what my concern was, I’d probably raise it directly. There’s a direct, polite, non-accusatory way to raise most issues. You can say for instance, “I’m leaving my pets and home and am worried about X.” Or “I’ll be spending X amount sitting here and I’m worried about X.” Then I’d stay silent and leave them to fill the gap. Then I’d take what they say into consideration and use my judgment. That’s because we’re all individually responsible for ourselves as sitters or homeowners. PPs also are responsible for their pets. Of course, acting with judgment and responsibility means you’ll also have to be prepared to deal with potential consequences, whatever they might be.
You can ask for help from THS membership services, but in various instances when it’s your unsubstantiated feelings, they probably can’t help much, if at all.
And FWIW, I think it’s a bad idea idea for any sitter or HO to not have a backup plan. I wouldn’t put myself in a position for instance where I’d have to leave my pet or home with someone I don’t trust. And I wouldn’t sit if I couldn’t afford fallback shelter. That’s because I avoid putting myself into untenable situations.
@2Globetrotters I hear what you are saying. I am only a Sitter, not an Owner, and this would be jarring, to say the least, and especially as you are leaving your beloved pet(s) with this person and trying to enjoy time away. As long as the person had some great reviews, application was well-written, and communication skills were good on the video chat, I would chalk it up to fatigue after traveling. Maybe the Sitter was hungry, thirsty, or had to use the bathroom? lol. You never know.
I always try to meet in person with the Owner and pets before actually arriving to do the Sit. I realize this is not always possible for everyone. During this meeting, I want to meet the pets and listen attentively to the Owner, and sometimes it is a challenge to strike a balance between the two. I usually have a pad of paper and pen, with a list of questions (since the majority have not completed a Welcome Guide), and I am jotting notes during the meeting. It is difficult to be on the floor petting a small dog while I am also taking notes and making eye contact with the Owner. Some people are better listeners than others. Some people prefer to read instructions, so written instructions are very important. I really like to have everything in writing. That way, I can refer back to the instructions. Each Owner has their unique way of doing things, and I want to keep the pets on their routine.
Hi. Mine felt off too( first one!) but proceeded and my gut had been right. Poor pet care damages and dirtiness. Customer services said leave an honest review when I expressed concern that I would then get a retaliatory review. I got a 1* on my first one . Just been seeking advice through a separate post.
Peaches, I am so sorry to hear this, especially on your first one! Our guts were right, too, and we also received the expected retaliatory review, but all our others are great reviews…including the one immediately after the 3* we were given. I sincerely hope you are able to find a solution via THS. They are good about doing their best to solve problems, and they know this is an issue with the review system. Hopefully a change in the way the system works will solve problems like ours going forward. Don’t give up!!
Go with the gut instinct. Always.
Also, always have a “Plan B”.