Looking for Advice About a Recent Experience with a New Pet Sitter

Updated on September 05, 2013
R.R. asks from Shakopee, MN
17 answers

We recently went out of town and had an in home pet sitter for my 3 dogs that we DID meet with prior. Long story short multiple different neighbors were very concerned because they never seen anybody or any cars at my house. We came home to no mess in my house and dogs exactly as we left them. After having 3 different neighbors come to me with extreme concern I did contact the pet sitting company and yes I already paid the bill. The company gave me reasonable times that the sitter was at my house but it doesn't match up with what my neighbors are sure they seen. My concern was that we should get what we pay for and not just quick in and out visits. Do I continue to pursue this issue or just let it be? Since it is my neighbors word against the sitters word I am not sure how to proceed if at all. The sitter was suppose to be house sitting and staying overnight. Thank you in advance for your advice. Also the sitter did not live locally and did not have anyone drop her off nor did she park anywhere else. I confirmed this info already with the company. Please no negative comments only advice...

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answers from San Francisco on

You came home to a clean home and happy, healthy pets, exactly what you paid for.
Sounds to me like you have a bunch of nosy, busybody neighbors.
Why not use one of them next time, if you're unhappy with the pet sitting service?

7 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Portland on

This whole thing is weird to me, start to finish.

I use a pet sitter and would NEVER leave my housekeys and pets with someone I hadn't met previously. Our cat's caregiver is a pro-- she had me do tour of the house with her, to find all the places the cat likes to go, where his food is/litterbox, etc.

If you continue to use a service, it should be their practice to send the sitter out to meet with the client. The whole thing sounds odd. Since your neighbors are home all the time to watch your house 24/7, how about hiring one of them?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The pet sitter was obviously there or you would have known it when you walked in the door with the mess that would have been created by the unkept dogs and your house.

It is great that you have neighbors to watch out for you but maybe they weren't watching your house 24/7 and they didn't see someone show up. As others said, maybe the sitter walked, parked in your garage, etc.

If your house and pets were left in a way that is clear that someone was there, then you should pay the bill.

In the future, make sure you have agreed upon times BEFORE you leave so you know when they will be there. When we go out of town we do let our next door neighbors know so they won't be concerned if our sitter parks in the driveway or our garage.

If my dogs and my house were ok and in order, I would let it go. Next time, hire someone you trust.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Since your neighbors seems to be so concerned and up in your business, I would ask them to do it next time. Otherwise I don't' see what the problem is? The house is safe, the dogs are safe so all is well in my opinion. Good luck.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

If you trust your neighbors enough to spy on your pet sitters, why didn't you just ask your neighbors to take care of the dogs for you? If they had enough time to sit around and watch who comes and goes and how long they're there, they clearly should have had enough time to spend with your dogs. If they didn't have enough time, then they probably weren't around enough to know whether or not the pet sitters came and went as contracted. How do you know the sitters didn't come by bus or by bike? Or were dropped off? I think this is a little ridiculous - if there was poop on the floor and the dogs were starved, that'd be one thing. But they did their job and the dogs were fine.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on


If you came home to no mess and everything fine, obviously the pet sitter came. As I understand it, your neighbors were concerned simply because they didn't see the sitter come and go. That's nice that they were looking out for you - but, as I understand what you wrote, obviously, the pet-sitter DID come. Maybe on foot. Maybe by bus. So what is the problem?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

You let it be. You have no verifiable proof that she was *not* there. In fact, the condition of your animals and home say that she was. I would not use this company in the future, however, if you are not comfortable. I also ask for several referrals from new pet sitters and yes, I do call and chat with them.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

Something similar a happened to a friend of mine w/ one huge difference.
There was so much urine and feces on the floor she had to have all of her carpet and tile proffessionally cleaned. And her neighbors were correct in saying they rarely saw a car there.
Sometimes neighbors are just too nosy, and make things seem worse then they are. Sometimes not. But in your case I'd think about these particular neighbors and their personalitites. You found no messes, and your dogs were fine. They did their job.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

ADDED: I'm seeing a lot of "you have nosy neighbors" criticism of the poster's neighbors. Geez, folks, I would be glad to have neighbors who paid attention to who was or wasn't coming and going while I was away! It IS positive to have neighbors who actually care enough to alert you that they were worried about your pets. Why all the hate for the neighbors, who were just telling the poster what they observed? Wouldn't any of us want to hear if someone observed that something seemed "off" at our homes? They weren't training cameras on her house, or butting into her personal business -- just telling her that the pet sitter (whom she obviously had told the neighbors would be going in and out) had not been seen. I say good for the neighbors, even if it ends up they just didn't happen to see the sitter.

Original reply:
I would say that it's fine since the dogs were OK and the house was OK; however, if these are neighbors you trust (and it sounds like they are), then consider asking to speak to the sitter and not just someone at the company. Did the sitter really stay every single night as agreed? Where did he or she park? I'd let the person know that the neighbors reported that they saw no one come or go, and that these neighbors are pretty alert and you trust them. The sitter is going to realize that you are saying you question what he or she was doing, but it's your money and you're suspicious so I'd go ahead and question it.

Does it seem that the sitter actually spent the night as agreed? I would be more concerned that what happened was the sitter came, fed the dogs, maybe walked them (or maybe didn't and just cleaned up messes in the house instead) and did not actually spend the night at any point. If you paid for someone to house-sit as well as pet-sit, you might have gotten someone who just did the minimum for the dogs but never actually stayed--?? Was this person supposed to do other things around your house (such as water plants, pick up mail etc.) and were those things done?

Next time, frankly, board the dogs at a good and reputable kennel. That seems preferable to having a total stranger staying in your house, or wondering if your house-sitter actually house-sat.....And meeting with someone before your trip doesn't count -- this person was still a stranger to you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If the dogs were OK & the house was OK & you came home to no mess, I say let it go.

Not sure what else you are wanting?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Maybe the sitter got dropped off and picked up? Maybe she lived very local and walked? Maybe she just picked your dogs up and took them to the dog park? Who knows?
Anyway, I would all is well that ends well.
Use a different service next time if you are very concerned.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lansing on

If your dogs are ok, I'd let it go. But I'd probably never use that service again. I'd like to say your neighbors wouldn't be able to watch your house 24/7 but they'd have to have seen a car for a certain amount of time at some point. Especially if they were to take your dogs out of the house and let them run for awhile.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

What do your neighbors think actually happened?

I mean, I guess someone MUST have come to your house to feed and walk your dogs, right? Otherwise your dogs would be hungry and your house would be messy now.

Is your concern that the sitter was just not there for as much time as you expected?

ETA: Ok, you added information to your question. Well if you paid for "24/7 care", I guess one way to find out what happened is to talk to the sitter. And don't just ask about your dogs - ask about the bed she slept in, whether she put food in your refrigerator, etc. It does seem weird that you don't see any signs of someone having slept in your home.

In the future though, use a neighbor or board your dogs at a kennel. Seems better than having a stranger sleep in your home!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Can you ask the company to talk with the sitter? Tell them you want to talk about her interaction with your pets and how they behaved with her. You can frame it as if you are wondering how well your pets reacted with her and that you are weighing options for next vacation. I always talk with my sitter about how my dog ate, how much he walked, slept, etc. if they have nothing to hide, they should let you talk directly with her.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I agree with LeeLee.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Danville on

Is it possible the pet sitter either lives IN your neighborhood...and walked?

Or had other 'clients' in the area and parked there?

If dogs (and house) were all OK upon your return, someone was taking care of them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Leave it alone now but don't hire them again. There's nothing you can do at this point. The sitter didn't think that you'd know that she/he would be "noted" by the neighbors.

Your animals were fed, watered and didn't poop and pee up the house. At this point, this is all you will get.

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