Good morning MissChef and I’m going to give you my “real” answer, not as an employee of TrustedHousesitters but as someone who has benefitted from this community of pet lovers and house sitters over the past decade. Like many others who have lived this as a full-time lifestyle, we’ve learned together, shared together and overcome the occasional difficulties that arise. We’ve seen pet sitting companies come and go. Different models, different platforms, but all with the end result to provide a win-win-win for owners, sitters and most of all the pets.
These companies can’t provide every solution to every scenario (situations as diverse as life itself). But for the small annual membership, as Petermac says, they do a pretty good job of facilitating a connection between two parties where the responsibility then lies with those two parties to create the best outcome they can. I always say it’s a bit like a dating agency. A framework is provided, which may not be viewed as totally perfect because everyone has subtly different requirements. But it’s up to you to make the relationship work within the parameters provided. How well that relationship works depends on how much responsibility you take for your own actions as responsible adults. Of course a service company can provide guidelines but it’s highly unlikely any company that works with the public will provide perfect solutions for every one of their customers.
And let’s maybe reflect on what a forum is… it’s a place for public discussion where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged. It isn’t an extension of the support department where privacy is a key issue, and it isn’t an extension of the product and member experience departments. It’s a place where we can share our house sit experiences, mentor people new to house and pet sitting, explore ideas and give feedback and make suggestions. But at the end of the day if you make a suggestion and it isn’t widely accepted or implemented, that’s a decision that the wider team will make based on extensive research and analysis of statistics and outcomes. For every decision made that some will not favour, there are always a larger proportion who do. I don’t agree with every decision as a sitter but I do appreciate that the decision has been made based on good research and data analysis. The fact that TrustedHousesitters continues to survive and grow given the global travel disruption forced upon it by a pandemic is testament to the experience of the wider team and company leadership.
So yes, sometimes you might not get an instant response from a transient community, or from community managers who have other responsibilities as well as their part-time forum moderation. You might not get the instant results you want from the wider team who interact not only with the small number of members represented here in the forum, but also with other members who give their feedback privately. Yes occasionally, (and it is a minority among the many many thousands of members), there will be a sit with a less than perfect outcome, or challenges that are outside anyone’s control, but if you focus on these always you will only see negativity and you risk missing out on all the amazing positivity that this lifestyle provides so many. The saddening result of this is that a negative environment discourages others from participating in our community. That’s not good for any of us.
In over 125 house sits we’ve had only a couple of sits with less than perfect outcomes. I believe that’s because we’ve learned, questioned, and asked the difficult questions when forming our house sitting relationships. We haven’t relied on others to create our “perfect” outcome. One of our sits (not through THS) was one of the worst most stressful sits and people encounters we have ever experienced. We could focus on that and the shortcomings of the agency involved but that would have overshadowed the 120+ other sits that have provided the joy we’ve experienced ever since.
As responsible adults we have always looked to ourselves to answer the difficult questions, to deal with the less favourable outcomes, as we do with any situation in life.
I am saddened by the negativity that is perpetuated in some of the forum threads for many reasons, but mostly because as Angela says, “there are thousands of happy pets around the world tonight with their loving sitters and with everyone blessing the day they found TrustedHousesitters”