I am a pet sitter, and I believe the majority of professional pet sitters are a caring, hardworking bunch who can absolutely be trusted with people’s pets.
That being said, there are some bad pet sitters out there. Usually these “pet sitters” are just looking for some extra money. They don’t take pet sitting seriously as a career.
The following are a couple examples of really bad pet sitters as well as examples of caring, responsible pet sitters. These examples are shared from the client’s point of view.
I hope you’ll share your best pet sitting stories (good or bad) in the comments.
You may also appreciate these awkward, embarrassing pet sitting moments. Just know that not all pet sitters are bad!
The bad: The pet sitter who blocked off the litter boxes
The sitter never noticed the cats were blocked and kept cleaning up the urine and feces in front of the door, Kosanke said. The sitter also fed treats meant for small mammals to Kosanke’s parrots without asking.
And it gets worse.
“We came home a day early, after the morning visit, and she never showed up in the evening to take the dogs out or feed the animals,” Kosanke said. “I still have nightmares about this woman.”
This was a professional pet sitter who had a great web site, according to Kosanke.
The good: The pet sitter who helped a shy dog feel comfortable
Lenore Hirsch said her dog Foxy is very timid around strangers, especially men.
“So finding a pet sitter was a challenge,” she said. “How would the sitter get close enough to the dog to put the leash on and take him for a walk?”
She said this problem was solved by a pet sitter named “Mark” (pictured) who came to the house several times before the actual pet sitting assignment. He would get down on the floor with treats all over his body to get Foxy to come to him.
“After a few times, Foxy let him put the leash on and now they are good buddies.”
This story is part of Foxy’s memoir, My Leash on Life (aff link).
The bad: The pet sitter who never showed up
Jennifer Dombrowski and Tim Davis shared this story about hiring a pet sitter to watch their dog (pictured) and cat over Thanksgiving. This was not a professional company but an individual recommended by friends.
“Thankfully, we always let our neighbors know when we will be gone so they can keep an eye out,” Dombrowski said. “We were pretty upset to receive a phone call from them that our sliding door on our patio was wide open and they had gone over to check what was going on.”
The neighbors told Dombrowski they hadn’t seen the pet sitter in the two days she’d been gone.
“We called our pet sitter and at first she lied, saying she was at our house before finally confessing she had not been staying there. We fired her over the phone and our neighbors took care of our pets until we returned at the end of the weekend.”
The good: The pet sitters who go above and beyond
“One of our dogs is shy, from what we imagine is a bad previous owner,” she said. “And our pet sitters have transformed her!”
While Hattaway expected great service from Paws on the Run, she said she wasn’t expecting “fabulous overnight care,” two daily stop-ins and the pet sitter loving the animals as if they were their own.
“They send text messages several times a day with photos, and we love them!”
The bad: The pet sitter who lost a dog
“The one rule was to never let the dog out without the leash,” Crawford said. “He’s a terrier and prone to chase squirrels and birds.”
Two weeks later, she returned from her trip and picked her dog up from the “smiling” pet sitter.
Then, when she got home, her answering machine was “full of messages from people that found a lost dog and were calling the number on his collar, our home phone.”
Needless to say, Crawford did not go back to that sitter.
If you are hiring a pet sitter, it’s usually best to use a professional pet sitting company unless it’s someone you personally know and trust. Here is my post on how to choose a pet sitter.