Dog Sitter's Reason for Refusing To Look After Friend's Rescue Pups Backed

Internet users have slammed a woman for expecting her friend to dog sit her three high-maintenance dogs for free, rather than paying for a trained professional who would be better equipped to take care of the rescue dogs.

The poster shared their concerns on the U.K.-based advice forum Mumsnet, under the handle Dogsitterwoes on February 13. The post explained that a distant friend found out that they pet-sit every now and then when it's convenient, but only through a company that employs them as this means they're totally insured.

The U.S. Census estimates that pet boarding services make up 28 percent of pet care services, and pet sitting makes up 11 percent. Pet sitting and dog walking are an expanding market though, averaging around $236,000 per business annually in 2012.

Dog Sitter Supported For Refusing Friend
Stock image shows a dog walker, and an angry woman on the phone. A dog sitter has been supported for their reasons not to look after three dogs for a friend. Primorac91 / Pheelings Media/Getty Images

The growing desire for qualified pet-sitters left this Mumsnet user in a difficult situation. They wrote: "I pick ones with fairly straightforward animals I can leave for a few hours a day. The owners are happy with this, and I take very good care of their pets.

"She seems to be a bit offended I don't want to stay at her house five miles away from home, looking after three high need rescue dogs that are never left alone.

"There is literally nothing in it for me, it would be doing her a massive favor and I don't know her well enough for that."

The dog sitter added that every time they see each other the topic of pet sitting is mentioned, leading to further questions each time. If the poster did this as a favor for a friend rather than through a company, they wouldn't be insured and wouldn't get paid, both of which are necessary caveats for them.

"Would I be the A to stop giving her logical reasons and outright tell her that her dogs sound like hard work, and she needs to pay someone, as no one's going to volunteer? I think she can't grasp that it's not a big honor to spend time with her babies," they wrote.

Former professional dog sitter and walker Ali Smith, CEO of Rebarkable, shared her thoughts on why dog sitting is a big commitment which shouldn't be downplayed, and that it's reasonable for someone to say no.

Smith told Newsweek: "If the person isn't a professional then it's definitely an unreasonable ask to take up days of someone's time because you're going away.

"Normally a rescue parent knows and understands that they have high demand dogs, and you should be flattered they asked you. But if you're not equipped for it, that's okay too. I'm sure they'd rather you just confessed before it became an issue."

Smith's suggestion to acquire a dog sitter formally would allow the pet owner to find the right person for their specific needs, and they can get to know the dog before the owner leaves. However, if people want an adequate service then they have to expect to pay for it.

"High risk dogs or difficult dogs are a pain, and when you expect someone to take that responsibility on, expect to pay for it. Pet sitting is way harder than the average person might expect," Smith said.

Many of the comments on the post were in agreement, as they encouraged Dogsitterwoes to be clear with the friend about their concerns and set the issue straight.

A fellow Mumsnet user commented: "I'd just tell her what you have put in your post. Looking after three high maintenance dogs (for free, WHAT?) is not your idea of fun and you are not interested, so she needs to leave it."

Another supportive person wrote: "If she wants you to do it for free, you're definitely not being unreasonable!"

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