Wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes

I certainly hope none of our house sitters are currently having to deal with the flooding in Europe or the wildfires in western Canada and the US.

Has anyone ever been on a sit and had to deal with a natural disaster of some sort? Flood, hurricane, earthquake, forest fire, tornado?

I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have to evacuate with pets in tow when you’re in a strange home, and possible a strange country.


Yes, we were looking after 2 service dogs in Fiji when we were hit with the worst Cat 5 cyclone ever in the region. It devastated the islands. Most non Fijians flew out to NZ to ride it out but we had to prepare the beach side mini resort we were looking after as best we could and evacuate with 2 dogs where the local evac hotel wanted nothing to do with our pups. We had no alternative and I had to beg (cry a lot, and I think I might have screamed a bit too in desperation) and do everything in my power to convince the manager to let the pups stay. Eventually after 2 hours of refusing to leave (there was nowhere else to go) he conceded to allow them to stay with the staff in the maintenance shed, but not with us in a room. It was one of the most stressful experiences ever. We had to liaise with the owners in the US who were wonderfully supportive, but leaving those dogs (we were under curfew) was the hardest thing I’ve done on a sit. We all survived the night, and the local staff were brilliant with the 2 bulldogs, Bella and Angus (who they were initially scared of) until we were finally allowed to leave the rooms and reunite with them. We spent the next 10 days clearing the property of debris, and helping the locals with phone charging (we had a big generator) so they could contact family stranded over the islands. It was certainly an experience, many people died and it was a very sad time. But it prepared us for pretty much anything house sitting might throw our way from then on, and to appreciate the power of weather. It’s awful what’s happened in Germany… I feel terribly sad reading the news.


We had a 7.1 earthquake in the middle of the night while pet sitting in a remote area of Alaska in the winter. All the pets woke up before we did. It was a very strong one and it seemed to last forever. Fortunately, the house was very well built on solid ground. We also have experienced many earthquakes in California, but we are used to them.
During the San Diego wildfires, we had to evacuate at 4 AM in the morning, and of course, the pets were our number one priority. As a result, we always ask homeowners what they would like us to save/take, in addition to their pets, in case we have to evacuate.


Wow, Vanessa, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to go thru that even without housesitting stress on top of it. Well done for coping so brilliantly! I hope you never have to go thru anything like that again.


Right! I am starting to realize that we really do need to ask for info on “what if” disaster scenarios as well!


@Vanessa-Admin amazing, well done! @Maryse you as well!

@Kelownagurl we had a number of similar stories come through when we had the Sitter Of The Year, sitters who went above and beyond and acted the way they would if the pets and homes had been their very own and probably more so as they were not, it’s what makes our community unique and very special.

We were in New Zealand “between” sits and had chosen to take time to be tourists and found ourselves in the middle of the Feb 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

We arrived in Christchurch at 12.00 am the quake hit at 12.51 … our accommodation was destroyed in 10 seconds (not structurally fortunately) immediately there were no services and then aftershocks, chaos and shock. I cannot imagine going through that having the responsibility of beloved family pets and someone else’s home.


OMG @Vanessa-Admin I’m nearly having a nervous breakdown just reading this!!! :grinning: