Wedding Woes

Stumped Prudie: Stop pet-sitting, they are taking advantage of you

Dear Prudence,

My partner and I were lucky to find a home in a sleepy neighborhood, with mostly nice and friendly neighbors. We’re not super social people, but we’ve enjoyed getting to know our neighbors, and feel glad to have largely positive friendships with folks close by who can sometimes lend a cup of flour, pick up a piece of mail, or water your plants when you’re out of town for a few days. We are, of course, happy to return these favors and are often asked to house or pet-sit for neighbors who are away.

The problem is one household who we pet-sit for. These are otherwise kind and reasonable people, but it has become clear that they don’t place a lot of value on hygiene in their home or for their animals. Think: bugs in the pet food, dried up feces on the floor, litter pans and food dishes crusted over, open bags of used litter sitting around, stacks of papers falling, and more. We’re asked to pet-sit more than a dozen times a year, and this problem is escalating to the point where it’s upsetting to see and smell their animals living in such conditions. It seems like the health of the animals is declining as well. Sometimes we’re asked to pet-sit for weeks at a time!

What can be done in this situation so we don’t ruin the relationship with these neighbors? We don’t mind the occasional pet-sitting, but this has become uncomfortable and troubling given the frequency with which we’re asked to help out. If it’s rude to comment on other people’s parenting, it’s probably rude to say something about how they keep their home and animals–right? What’s a socially acceptable way to move forward here, knowing we’re going to get another spur of the moment text to pet-sit soon?

— Smelly House, Why Aren’t They Cleaning You?

Wedding Countdown Ticker

Re: Stumped Prudie: Stop pet-sitting, they are taking advantage of you

  • Are they not mentally well?  Is the rest of the home also a major issue?

    You're allowed to say no if you're seriously asked to do this monthly. 
  • I guess Prudie sometimes has letters where he is "stumped" and wants reader feedback.  This is one of those letters.

    Though I don't know what there is to be stumped about.  I understand wanting the "give and take" of helping neighbors out.  But being asked to pet-sit frequently and for "weeks" at a time is way beyond what is appropriate.

    I wouldn't necessarily comment on their pet parenting.  People know they are gross and aren't going to change, because a neighbor said so.  Even if it was said kindly and in support of the animals.

    But, NGL, I would be blunt that I can't pet-sit anymore because it's become way too excessive.  Then send them a coupon code for a website like Rover.com, lol.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    STARMOON44
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Pets are being fed food with bugs in it and their health is obviously declining due to living in filth. On top of that, these people are gone for weeks at a time regularly. 

    If this was a kid, we wouldn't be talking about commenting on parenting choices, we'd be talking about how to make a report to CPS for neglected children. You need to call your local animal welfare services. These people are clearly not willing or able to provide these animals with appropriate care. Letting them suffer because you're afraid of being impolite is not ok. 

    But also, living with dried up cat shit makes me think these people could use some social services intervention as well. 
    Casadenabanana468charlotte989875
  • Can you anonymously call the local ASPCA or similar agency? It doesn't sound like a safe environment for the animals and I understand why you are concerned. 

    That being said, even if the pets were well-cared for and their environment was pristine, being asked to pet-sit a dozen times a year and/or for such long periods of time is a lot. If you don't want to do this for them anymore, I would focus on that aspect of it rather than commenting on their pet parenting (or lack thereof). Tell them it's become too much and you can no longer fit it in with other commitments.
    image
  • Obviously - it's one thing to do a couple weekends here and there, it's another for weeks at a time and this woefully fits into the three weekends a year is free, the rest is paid at the rate of a kennel/pro... 

    That said, if it's them as the pet sitter for weeks at a time, why are they not cleaning the food bowls, throwing the used litter out with the trash each week (otherwise "oops!"), addressing the bug situation/making the owners aware, because I'm presuming there's garbage service that doesn't stop just because they're out of town.  Ignoring the problem won't make it go away...
    short+sassy
  • MesmrEwe said:
    Obviously - it's one thing to do a couple weekends here and there, it's another for weeks at a time and this woefully fits into the three weekends a year is free, the rest is paid at the rate of a kennel/pro... 

    That said, if it's them as the pet sitter for weeks at a time, why are they not cleaning the food bowls, throwing the used litter out with the trash each week (otherwise "oops!"), addressing the bug situation/making the owners aware, because I'm presuming there's garbage service that doesn't stop just because they're out of town.  Ignoring the problem won't make it go away...
    Because of the frequency, I was wondering if the neighbors don't necessarily go out of town, but want help looking after their dogs when they are at work.

    But I wondered the same thing.  When they're pet-sitting, aren't they cleaning out the food bowls and doing at least a little pick up after the pets?  That even could have been a gentle intro to the problem.  Like, "Oh dear, neighbors.  I noticed there were dead bugs in their food bowls!  I went ahead and cleaned it out.  But you need to be careful about that because XYZ potential consequences."  Or, "I noticed there were some cat feces in the kitchen.  I know that must be so annoying for you all also.  Sometimes cats won't use the litter box when it is too full.  Add in an extra day a week to clean out the litterbox and I'm sure you'll see an improvement."

    Guised like "helpful advice".
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    banana468MesmrEwe
  • Just from another perspective - and keep in mind I think this situation sounds more sus - but I've been told I'm a neglectful pet owner.  I spoke with a rescue who doesn't believe that rabbits should be kept outside and doing so will mean I won't notice when they're sick and have disease and that they won't live as long as indoor rabbits.  Which - I hear that and raise you my 14 and 12 year old rabbits.  So it might be that the LW is seeing things from an opinionated lens.  Sometimes you get a bug infestation and you have to treat it and move on.  My Bryn had ear mites once, they were awful!

    But this situation seems to be sustained over a longer period of time, so I am thinking LW does have valid concerns.  

  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    kerbohl said:
    Just from another perspective - and keep in mind I think this situation sounds more sus - but I've been told I'm a neglectful pet owner.  I spoke with a rescue who doesn't believe that rabbits should be kept outside and doing so will mean I won't notice when they're sick and have disease and that they won't live as long as indoor rabbits.  Which - I hear that and raise you my 14 and 12 year old rabbits.  So it might be that the LW is seeing things from an opinionated lens.  Sometimes you get a bug infestation and you have to treat it and move on.  My Bryn had ear mites once, they were awful!

    But this situation seems to be sustained over a longer period of time, so I am thinking LW does have valid concerns.  
    Okay but bunny rescues are a special breed of crazy. I used to volunteer for one and some of their “requirements” for adoption were absolutely insane. Like would it be ideal? Sure. But it wasn’t abuse like they acted. I used to joke my bunnies had the “Mc Mansion” of bunny hutches. My grandfather built it from scratch and it had multiple levels and sections and was within an enclosed 12 foot dog run. That’s not abuse just because they weren’t indoors. I would take them in for hot weather and they were perfectly happy and healthy. But the bunny rescue people would have instantly kicked me out if they had heard or seen it. 


    image
    MesmrEwekerbohl
  • levioosa said:
    kerbohl said:
    Just from another perspective - and keep in mind I think this situation sounds more sus - but I've been told I'm a neglectful pet owner.  I spoke with a rescue who doesn't believe that rabbits should be kept outside and doing so will mean I won't notice when they're sick and have disease and that they won't live as long as indoor rabbits.  Which - I hear that and raise you my 14 and 12 year old rabbits.  So it might be that the LW is seeing things from an opinionated lens.  Sometimes you get a bug infestation and you have to treat it and move on.  My Bryn had ear mites once, they were awful!

    But this situation seems to be sustained over a longer period of time, so I am thinking LW does have valid concerns.  
    Okay but bunny rescues are a special breed of crazy. I used to volunteer for one and some of their “requirements” for adoption were absolutely insane. Like would it be ideal? Sure. But it wasn’t abuse like they acted. I used to joke my bunnies had the “Mc Mansion” of bunny hutches. My grandfather built it from scratch and it had multiple levels and sections and was within an enclosed 12 foot dog run. That’s not abuse just because they weren’t indoors. I would take them in for hot weather and they were perfectly happy and healthy. But the bunny rescue people would have instantly kicked me out if they had heard or seen it. 
    Yep!  Bunny Rescue is a special one!  Here they won't foster nor place to anyone who has children in the house even if the family has a long-standing history of raising them! - Really - they're bunnies not (pick your least favorite aggressive breed character personality dog), - then complain about the fact that they're overrun...  
  • @levioosa and @MesmrEwe - Goodness, it means a lot to know I wasn't alone.  I've joined a facebook group and I see a lot of outdoors rabbits that are perfectly happy, but not being able to foster rabbits was a big blow and really made me doubt how happy my rabbits are.  

    levioosaMesmrEwe
Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards