Go back

Publié le by NmNomador

When to Contact The Homeowner With a Problem

Whether it’s a stubborn blueberry stain or a minor dog fight with the neighbor’s pooch, it’s not uncommon to have minor moments of panic while petsitting. But how do we know whether it’s worth interrupting the homeowner’s holiday?

Whenever an issue arises for me, my fingers hesitate over the keys.  I think of the homeowners on a faraway beach, maybe sipping a mojito and thinking about how peaceful and carefree their lives are. I then imagine them getting a frantic text from me, the petsitter, the person who is supposed to be making sure that everything is absolutely perfect with the home and animals.

With a little forethought, though, I’ve learned that petsitting doesn’t have to be this stressful.

Problems Around the House

If it’s a house related issue, first refer to the notes the homeowner left. If the solution isn’t there, ask yourself if this is something you can fix. If not, consider sending a message if it’s not something that can wait until the homeowners return, but stress that it isn’t urgent (assuming it isn’t). Try to keep in mind that homeowners want you to enjoy your stay just as much as they want to enjoy their vacation.  

Tip: If internet is essential for your work, ask ahead of time about the reliability.  Homeowners will usually give you a troubleshooting demo of what to do if it goes out.

About a year ago, I was petsitting 5 chickens and an elderly cat in a quiet English village, while the homeowners were half a world away in sunny Florida.  One day, while grabbing a glass out of the cupboard, my hand knocked into the sugar dish, which fell onto the counter and promptly broke into a thousand pieces.  

A few expletives escaped my mouth, as I imagined the couple returning with new bronze tans and collapsing into instant grief when they found out that I had carelessly broken a family heirloom.  

Once I calmed down and examined the remnants of the shattered dish, I realized it was from a major supermarket chain.  I replaced it for a few pounds and informed the homeowners when they got back.  They simply smiled and said, “No problem”.

Minor Problem with Animals

I petsat for a homeowner, now a good friend, who has 5 cats and 3 dogs. While she told me all the necessary information about their day to day routines, it would have been impossible for her to tell me each animal’s quirks and day-to-day habits.

One day a cat didn’t turn up for breakfast. When it got to midday and I still hadn’t seen her, I texted the homeowner, who told me that I could find her hiding on the porch of the neighbor’s house. And that’s exactly where she was. Keep in mind that owners know their animals better than anyone and can usually put your mind at ease.

Major Problems with Animals

Remember that apart from feeding and giving the animals attention, your main job is to get them help as quickly as possible in emergency situations. The homeowner should always provide you with the veterinarian's information. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should bring the animal to the vet, call the office and tell them the situation.

On one occasion, I was watching a cat in London who woke up with her eye swollen. Rather than immediately alert the homeowners, who sparingly checked their email, I called the vet. She told me to bring her in immediately.

It turned out that the cat had conjunctivitis and the vet said that getting it checked as early as possible was vital. After getting home with the eyedrops (and a most displeased kitty), I sent a calm and detailed account to the homeowners. In the end, they told me how happy they were with how the situation was handled.

To sum it up...

Use your instincts! If it’s a minor problem that can easily be fixed, fix it and then tell them when they get home. If it the problem is a bit bigger or you won’t be able to sleep until the case of the leaky faucet is solved, contact them. They will be glad to have someone who is on top of things. I’ve never had a homeowner say, “How dare you interrupt my Thai massage?”  If anything, they’ll be happy to know that you’re taking the job seriously.  

Have you ever had a problem arise during a sit? How did you solve it?


Author Bio

Laurel Steele

Before becoming a freelance writer, Laurel Steele worked as an English language teacher in South Korea, Nepal, and Turkey. She then lived in Istanbul for three years, writing about the city professionally. Since October 2016, she’s been living the digital nomad lifestyle, house sitting around the world, and overstaying her welcome on friends’ couches in between. She chronicles these adventures on her blog and Instagram account @laurel3d.

comments powered by Disqus