A Piggy Back from Previous Pet Sitter Prob

Updated on May 14, 2013
D.E. asks from Tampa, FL
20 answers

So my husband and I used another older pet sitter we found on a website that we paid for a membership. I clearly made my expectations known so there were no "grey areas" for this sitter.
With that said i told her i'd be leaving at noon on that day, so she'd need to come by for the dogs AT LEAST twice. So that night at a late dinner I get a frantic call from her that she's so sorry to disturb me but she can't in the house.....? i'm confused and ask her to explain. So she goes on to say the outside storm doors are locked so she can't even try the key. Front and back. (we've been locking the storm doors so our two year old doesnt push them open) and we had left through the garage. Im in a group of people, it's loud in there so i quickly think to give her the garage opener code. She gets in, we hang up and I see it's 8:30!!!!!
So needless to say, she was very irresponsible. Thought Id never know, but she got busted because of the door over sight!
Is it THAT hard to find people you can rely on? We paid for a membership to this site. So i thought I cuold feel fairly comfortable. And her references were good. But I guess since a dog can't talk....???
Back to the drawing board!? Where do you find trustworthy people? Or is it trial and error? We will possibly try the neighbor again, but things will be SPECIFICALLY spelled out this time!

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So What Happened?

To Marda P Im not sure how I am over reacting?? While it may have been my fault that the storm door was locked, she did not come to let my dogs out for nearly 8 hours after me telling her she'd need to come at least twice. Does 8:30 and past midnight make sense to you?
Wow, now i should I get rid of my pets because I can't find anyone to "suit" me or can't "devote" my time to them? LOL Really ladies........

Featured Answers



answers from Washington DC on

If you paid for membership, can you provide feedback on this sitter when you get home?

I might ask my vet if any of their techs did dog sitting.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I would not put myself through all that drama over pets. Maybe you should rethink having pets at this time, as Rhoda says.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Portland on

I suggest you're over reacting. This is perhaps an unreliable sitter or perhaps an unusual something delayed her or, unless you specifically told her to come at a certain time, she may have not understood how important this was to you. Did you ask her why she was so late? If she didn't have a plausible, reason, then do go back to the site, report what happened, and ask for another referral.

I suggest that a totally irresponsible sitter would've forced the door open, breaking it, or even just not made an attempt to get in and not called you.

I usually give a person the benefit of the doubt the first time something goes amiss. I spend a bit to time expressing my dissatisfaction and ask if they are able to be more careful from now on. I expect them to tell me why this happened and why it won't happen again.

A side note: One could say you were irresponsible for not making sure the storm doors were unlocked. Just saying. If I'd done that I would certainly have been more understanding of the sitter being late.

After your SWH: As others have said, I don't see being there at 8:30 one time as being a deal breaker. If she left 8 hours in between visits every day and if I'd said that the dog should be let out/walked every 4 hours then I'd question it but I wouldn't be upset the first time it happened. Nor would I be upset if I had not been specific as to length of time.

It sounds to me that she could've heard (I'm not saying that's what you said) that the dog should be taken care of twice a day and since you were there until noon that the time you left the dog out was once for that day.

I suggest that you're over reacting because you're upset without apparently making any effort to understand this from the pet sitter's perspective or that you stated specific times in writing. Whenever we give directions verbally, they are always open to interpretation. Actually, unless they're specific, saying let him out at 4 and 9, they're open for interpretations. Waiting 8 hours may be stretching it some but I don't think it's worth, on it's own, feelings strong enough to not attempt to work it out with the sitter.

I hear judgment in your post. And.....wonder why you're not also judging yourself for leaving the storm doors locked. "He who is without sin, cast the first stone" sort of thinking. You weren't perfect and neither was she.

I suggest that having a pet sitter is a process of learning how to work together with someone. This is not just a simple finding someone to provide a service because you have an emotional stake in how the sitter cares for your dog. When you "fire" them with their first mistake, you don't have a chance to work out a way of doing it that works for both of you. If this were a simple matter of watering your lawn would you care when they did it? No, and of course you should have higher expectations for a sitter. At the same time the sitter sees it differently than you do.

Since you've had trouble two times, I'm suggesting that perhaps a different way of dealing with a sitter may be helpful.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I'm sure it's an oversight but how many days were you going to be gone? What specific times of day was she supposed to come by? Did she think that she was only supposed to come by twice the whole time you were going to be gone?

Next time I think you need to give a specific schedule of when you expect someone to come to your home to care for the dogs.

Such as:

Around 9am you will need to come to my home to give the dogs fresh water and XXXXXXX (such as give meds or feed them or take them for a walk to a specific place).

Around 6pm you will need to come to my home and give the dogs fresh water and XXXXXXXX (again, give specific instructions as to what is to be done at this time).

You will be expected to come by at the above times on Monday May 13, Tuesday May 14, and Wednesday May 15. I will be returning home around 8pm on Wednesday and will call you if something keeps me from making my return date.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

See if you have a local kennel club in your area that does training, etc and see who they recommend. Those people adore their dogs and would never use anyone horrible.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't think you're overreacting at all, and I think it's crazy to suggest you shouldn't have pets.

I teach high school, and usually hire recent graduates that I've had in my AP classes to pet sit for us. It has always worked out well. We've also hired sons and daughters of our friends, and that has worked out well, too. Perhaps your vet could recommend someone, or look for someone at a local college (get references). If you go to church, you might check there, too, or maybe a local feed store.

I'm sorry you've had such a rough time. It's hard to enjoy a vacation when you are worried about your pet and home. We have a large dog and live on a small farm with a pig, ducks, geese, and sometimes other animals that would be impossible to board. I also have a garden that needs to be tended to. We travel fairly often in the summer months, and we have to hire people to come in and care for our animals, plants, and home. Luckily we've found good help. I hope you find some good help, too.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

A better idea might be call around town where you live to local veterinarians. When I worked at a vet clinic I would often pet sit for our clients. A lot of the employees where I worked did this.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You can't pay someone to love your kids or your dogs. They either do or they don't. The ones that do, will take care of either, although they may mess up sometimes. The ones that don't, you could not pay them enough to make up for love.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

While 8 hours is a long time, it is not past most dogs ability for holding their potty. I would simply ask her to come more often. Fact is, no one is going to take care of your animal the way you would because they don't have the same attachment to it. The one time we needed long term care (for a weekend we would use a kennel) we got dear friends and fellow dog lovers to take them for us in their home so we knew they would get constant care.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Sorry but I feel like you are over reacting unless you give specific times the pet sitter can come 2x's during the day. Honestly 8 hours is not bad at all. Think about people who work full time their pets are left alone for 8+ hours.

Who is to say she wasn't held up at another location, had an emergency, got stuck in traffic, etc. sorry but unless you have specific times set you don't have room to really complain.

Don't forget you did not check to make sure that she would be able to get in to care for your dog. So don't put all the blame on her for the situation.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I've used the same pet sitter over 20 yrs. she has a key to my house and my garage code.

The only issue we've ever had has been me calling her from the plane or airport to set up an extra visit because we're running late due to air delays.

She knows our routine, our house , our dogs and there has never been an issue with her making her planned visits. We discuss the time of the visits when I book her. She also moves in at night when were gone.

I'd be leary if hiring off some web site I had to pay to join.

Try word of mouth references from your friends and neighbors. Be clear from the get go regarding your expectations.

My dogs have never been kenneled but if my sitter were unavailable, I'd put my dogs in the doggie hotel ( there's a posh one here) and know they'd be safe vs giving a stranger access to my house.

Communication is key. Our pet sitter and her family us a part of our family.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

We always use neighbors, or sometimes family/friends.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Did you try your vet's office? If not, ask there if they have any recommendations for pet sitters. I know when our dog's "regular" kennel went out of business, and we had to find someone, one of the tech's their offered her services. She did it as a side job.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I usually get referrals by word of mouth or from my veterinarian and then I check them out--personal tour, check references, interviews, etc. Here's what I've done--I tried a couple of pet sitting companies that are incorporated, licensed, bonded and insured. Even then I found one or two I wasn't happy with. I did find one I really liked and have used them off and on for years. My neighbors will also sometimes report to me such as, "Your dog walker only stayed 10 minutes yesterday."

For the kennel/pet resort I use I got names of local kennels and then took a tour. The kennel I chose and have been very happy with gives free tours and has the dog come in for a free trial run before their first boarding. I always check out the safety and security because I've heard of dogs escaping from poorly run kennels. I've gotten to know the kennel staff and they've gotten to know me and my dogs.

Finally, I've used individuals who work for my vet clinic. Several of them, especially the young women, moonlight as pet sitters. I found someone I really liked that way too.

Was the paid membership for the website or the sitting service? Was it a licensed, bonded and insured pet sitting company?

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Maybe get rid of your pets until you have more time to devote to them since no one can suit you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It is hard! I used to do pet sitting as a side job. I did it for years and actually had to turn people away, b/c I couldn't handle any more clients. Sadly, just about everyone had a horror story even those who boarded at their Vet's office.

I was working at a small mom and pop pet store at the time and we had regulars. We talked to them all the time etc so one day a customer was complaining about finding a decent pet sitter at a decent rate. Anyway I told her if she couldn't find anyone I would do it, never thinking I would actually have to! She called me and I did. Did every summer for four years until the decided to move back to the UK for good. Anyway word got out and I was pet sitting for the majority of our customers.

I don't know if you frequent such a place, but if, so check with them. They may know someone or one of them may do it.

I always created a file for every client, some of the info: vet numbers, their numbers, medications, any quirks the animal had, what they wanted specifically, my rate, length of job etc. I also got agreements authorizing treatment if needed, without assuming personal liability. Now if I caused the injury that was different. I kept feeding, walking, cleaning list.

Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Myers on

This is why I don't use a pet sitter. What good are references when there's no one there to see what they've done or haven't done? And I don't like the idea of a complete stranger having a key to my house. We've always had my mom stay with them or take them with us. This summer however we are going to a resort for our anniversary and can't bring them, so I'll be boarding them at their regular vet. At least the vet knows them and can give them immediate care in case of a medical problem.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We have used 3 pet sitters previously. The first was our best experience: she was recommended by our friend that works in a vet's office. This person also worked in the vet's office. She took excellent care of our animals and even managed to plump up our always-skinny kitty, I don't know how! But when she came over for payment afterward, the animals were excited to see her. Very good sign.

The second sitter we hired (we had moved out of the area of the first), we found on craigslist. She also worked for a vet and had good recommendations. She was supposed to spend the night in our house, but I literally found no trace that she had. Nothing. And when she came over for payment, our dog cowered in the corner and refused to be petted. Hmmm ... I got a really weird vibe off that and we never hired her again.

The last pet sitter we hired we found through sittercity. Great recommendations; one even worked in the local DA's office. She seemed thorough, but would also make her second trip to our house at 9 p.m. (I know because she'd call and update me). Then, upon our return home at noon, we noticed all the night-time lighting was on and the animals hadn't been fed. When I called to question her about it, she said she had forgotten to turn the lights off when she came in the morning. However, I could tell she was lying and she knew that I wasn't buying it. She actually came to my house and returned that day's payment. I'm sure she was concerned that I'd leave a negative review (I didn't, since this was her sole livelihood and my intention wasn't to hurt her business since I wasn't 100% certain that she didn't come ... I was 99% sure :)

So I don't know what to advise you except that yes, it can be really hit and miss. The best bet is asking family, which is what we just did this past weekend. We've also used our vet, which has an awesome boarding on site, lots of potty breaks, etc. ... but our dog came home with a mess of fleas!! So nothing's perfect for sure.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Well, at least there weren't teenage friends in your house this time.
I still say if you are going to have people pet sit at your home you need a hidden nanny cam so you can check up on what really happened.
Otherwise - board them at a kennel and stop people coming and going in your home.



answers from Miami on

Make sure that you let this "membership" know what happened. They should not be allowing that person to be part of their network anymore.

Are there any neighbor adults that you can approach about this? I'd try that...

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