Yesterday, Bill and I enjoyed another rainy Sunday at home. Even if the pandemic weren’t still in full swing, I doubt we would have chosen to go anywhere. It was cold and dismal outside, with traces of ice and snow. There wasn’t nearly enough for it to be pretty.
I decided to do some writing and listen to music. I heard a version of “Til the Season Comes ‘Round Again”, a pretty Christmas song that I originally heard Amy Grant do years ago, but then I heard her (now) husband’s, Vince Gill’s, version. I decided to try it myself, complete with harmony. Here’s the end result. I may try again in a higher key. Or maybe I won’t… it depends on how inspired I am.
The weather is rainy today, too, and although I know the dogs could use a walk, I’m not sure I want to venture out in the slop. At least it’s not freezing cold, though, so that’s a vote toward taking a quick jaunt so Arran can take a dump. He prefers to poop when he’s taking walks.
I’m also still working on reading my latest book. It’s a good book, but my progress is slow. My attention span and eyesight aren’t what they used to be. In fact, my attention span has never been particularly good… especially when I am distracted by petty dramas on Facebook. And that brings me to today’s topic. All names in the following tale are pseudonyms, in the unlikely event that someone local is reading this. I simply want to air my own opinion on this situation.
Yesterday, I happened to run across a thread in the local pet group on Facebook. A woman I’ll call Mary was frustrated because, back in October, she had hired a 19 year old woman to look after her pets for a portion of the holiday season. The young woman– I’ll call her Katie– had enthusiastically agreed to take the job. Mary has a dog and a cat, and she was willing to pay $250 for about 8 days worth of work. The stipulations were that Katie was to stay at Mary’s home, since her cat doesn’t do well with other animals and she wasn’t sure how the dog would behave. Katie agreed.
Two months go by, and it’s the day that Mary was supposed to leave on her trip. Katie sends Mary a message, suddenly changing the conditions of their agreement. Katie explained that her sister was flying in, so she wanted to spend time with her. And it would be more convenient for her to watch Mary’s pets at her parents’ home, since Mary lived far away from Katie’s parents’ house.
Mary was upset about this, since it wasn’t what they had agreed to… but she was kind of over a barrel. She had these travel plans, and though she hadn’t mentioned it in the thread, she probably pre-paid for her lodging and, perhaps, air fare. Her choices weren’t so good in this situation. She could: cancel her plans; try to find another pet sitter at the last minute; or let Katie do what she wanted to do.
Mary ended up letting Katie have her way. But then, when she came back to get her dog, she tried to have a discussion with Katie about what had happened. This is where it gets especially weird. Apparently, Mary’s feedback pissed off Katie’s mother. I’ll call her Alice. Mary had asked to speak to Katie privately when they were in person, and this didn’t sit well with Alice, who is evidently a bit of a “mama bear”. For some reason, I’m reminded of this pre-Trump relic…
Drama erupted when Mary picked up her animal, and in the end, Mary left the house with her dog, feeling unsatisfied, and missing her dog’s favorite toy. Katie then blocked Mary on Facebook, so Mary wasn’t able to resolve this dilemma privately. Mary later took to Facebook to air her grievances in our group, which was where she’d found Katie in the first place. In her initial post, she never mentioned Katie’s name. She simply put out what I would call a blanket PSA to all of the pet sitters in the group, asking them to be very clear about what they’re willing to do when they take a pet sitting job. Below is exactly what she wrote:
Ok. If you or your child are going to take on pet sitting jobs can we please have those taking on the jobs to ASK questions. How much are you charging. How long? Where do you live? I just had an experience where the sitter changed plans on us a *few hours before we were supposed to leave. It messed up our plans and made it more complicated and the reason behind it was they didn’t know how far our house was from them. This was something that was set up 2 months in advance. Why were these things not asked? It’s not just about the money. You need to be clear and tell our younger kids to be assertive and responsible. This sitter has now blocked me on FB even though they changed up the plans and did not follow through with what was expected. They also did not pack back up any of my dogs toys and one of them was a plush dog toy that he got when he was a puppy. . I’m so sad and disappointed.
Now… I notice that Mary didn’t “out” the young woman who looked after her dog. She doesn’t curse. She doesn’t write anything rude or nasty. She simply makes a polite request. One person misunderstood and thought the sitter had canceled at the last minute. Mary reiterated that Katie hadn’t canceled, she had simply changed the terms of what they had agreed to, which was to watch the dog and cat in Mary’s home, rather than at a stranger’s (to the pets) home. As it turned out, Katie only watched the dog. I guess the cat fended for itself.
A few people responded to her post, vague as it was. All of a sudden, Alice– the mom– shows up and writes this in response.
My daughter was your dog sitter, she’s also not a child. She’s 19. I don’t know where your dogs toy is but she took very well care of pippin to the point where you messaged her and asked her to keep him longer. She blocked you to avoid the drama that you brought into my home the other day, I have never met a more obnoxious, rude couple in my life. My daughter dog sits for many dogs and has never had a problem, until you. She returned everything she could find. Mind you we actually have a huge yard. Also, she watched him here because it was Christmas time and she wanted to spend it with her family. And lastly you still owe her $
At first, I wondered if maybe Mary had misrepresented herself in the thread. As we all know, sometimes people do act like jerks, but then try to cover it up when they talk about a situation to other people. But then I kept reading, and it became very clear that Alice was making the situation so much worse. First off, she basically outed her daughter. And secondly, she says her daughter is an adult, but yet “Mommy” is in the Facebook group, fighting her battles for her. I was not the only one who thought this was a bit fucked up.
Mary came back with this response. Again, I thought it was fairly even keeled and reasonable.
I have screenshots of the dates we agreed upon. Back in October Is when we talked about what the plan was. I also did not name names in this post. All I’m asking for is the toy back.
you messaged her saying you didn’t know if you were still going with them dates and then asked her to keep him
So Mary wrote:
Because she told us an hour before we were supposed to leave, that she was going to take the pets to your house. That wasn’t the agreed upon plan. Our cat doesn’t do well with other pets. Then we had to wait a few more hours for her to show up to get “Fido”. I was trying to find another sitter to watch the pets and when I couldn’t, I just had to allow her to take just Fido. (not his real name)
she showed up @ 3:30 to pick up “Fido”, that was the agreed upon time.. she was at work and she left work early to get him.
And Mary conceded:
Ok I’ll give you this. Looking back at the messages I did say 3 pm. You are correct. I do still take issue with being told the day of travel that plans were changing.
At this point, other people started to chime in. There were a few who were on Alice’s side. Some had hired Katie to watch their pets and liked her. A few appeared to be friends of Alice’s and Katie’s. But, by and large, most of us were squarely on “Team Mary”, including yours truly. This situation is one major reason why Bill and I use a locally run Hunde Pension, rather than hiring a teen. I used to be a house/dog/horse/cat/turtle sitter myself, so I know how it goes, but although I’m sure our dogs would be happier at home, I prefer them to be somewhere where this is someone’s livelihood and the people involved have insurance.
Anyway, the drama continued. Alice wrote this:
You never have to allow someone to take your dog. There is always other options.
Then, Mary produced a screenshot of the chat she’d had with Katie, dating from mid October, in which she spelled out what she wanted and how much she was willing to pay. It’s there, plain as day, that Katie had agreed. And, as a 19 year old woman, Mary felt inclined to take her at her word. But then Alice basically proved that her daughter was NOT actually an adult, when she wrote this:
her mom ( me) said no to your home.. that’s creepy. And it was Christmas time, she didn’t know her sister was coming in from (across the pond) until last minute
Uh… excuse me? She’s 19 years old, Alice. You, yourself, said she’s an adult. Why do you get to veto Mary’s house as “creepy”? What the fuck? And this is a standard practice here– people who pet sit often go to people’s homes or stay overnight. No one was even at the house, so why would it be “creepy”?
And Mary agreed with me, writing:
creepy? To house sit and watch a cat and dog? There was no one there. How is that creepy? I thought she was an adult. Not a child… If she would have told me this back in October or even maybe not a few hours. Before we were supposed to leave, that would have been fine.
Alice brazenly came back with this:
100% creepy. Let it go, pay for the rest of services rendered and move on.
I’ve gotta say, if I were Mary, I probably would have ripped Alice a new one for that response. In fact, I probably would have considered complaining to the garrison about Katie. I would not have been nice. People who run businesses on the installations are supposed to get approval from the garrison as “home based businesses”. There are tax implications and rules to be followed. I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts, as Bill would say, that Katie isn’t running her business the “legal” way.
But all Mary wants is her dog’s toy:
give me the dog toy back and we will… Even though we paid her the same amount to watch the cat and dog and she only watched the dog
Alice wasn’t moved, though. She wrote:
You asked to speak to her out of any ear shot of her family. Had I know you had asked her that, mama would been right with you both and then to express your displeasure after you got your dog watched and still her money..
At this point, I took a peek at Katie’s FB page. This chick is evidently in the military herself. And yet here she is, blocking her client, and letting Mommy fight her battles for her.
Mary was still being very reasonable, in my opinion, when she wrote:
but I thought she was an adult. And what I told her was that I was disappointed with the services rendered. I told her that going forward she should ask these questions and make sure that everything is clear. I didn’t cuss her out or even yell or anything. I just said, money is important but so are the other details.
All I said was, can I speak to you for a moment. She even stated that she knew I was disappointed and she understood why I would be.
But Alice continued:
16-24 8 days, you paid $139. My daughter charges $20 a day. Total would of been $160
Personally, under the circumstances, I think Mary was perfectly justified in not giving Katie the whole amount. Katie didn’t do the job to her client’s specifications. And she has her MOM arguing on her behalf! Mary shared another screenshot about the payment they had agreed to. I don’t see why Mary should have to honor the payment end of the agreement, when Katie didn’t honor her side of it by staying at Mary’s home and watching two pets. According to the screenshot, Mary had offered $250, which I would have loved to have gotten when I was 19 and house/pet sitting.
Alice very stubbornly persisted, writing this:
adult or not, she lives in MY home.. You don’t see me asking you for carpet cleaning $, your dog peeped and pooped several times on my carpet. Again, let it go. Learn your lessons and move on. Your screen shots mean nothing to me, you let her take your dog, you asked to have him here longer. Don’t try and blast someone for something you let happen.
Um… Alice? My takeaway from this exchange is that I shouldn’t ever consider hiring Katie to watch my pets. Because hiring Katie means that I’ll probably have to deal with you, and you are not a good representative of Katie’s brand! All you’ve done is show everyone that Katie can’t handle her own business; that, in fact, she ISN’T an adult; and that her client’s wishes mean absolutely NOTHING. What’s more, Mary never even outed Katie in our group, which is full of people who occasionally need a pet sitter. YOU DID THAT. It was a very stupid thing to do, and it will cost Katie. Some mama bear you are.
so evidence proving my point means nothing? I literally had this arranged with your daughter. All these details and then last minute is when things changed.
And Alice responded:
you only complained after he was watched and you picked him up. He was very well taken care of. That’s what anyone with a pet wants
I suspect Mary didn’t “complain” at the time because she had travel plans that dated from months ago. She needed Katie’s help and was over a barrel. And sure, the dog was taken care of in the sense that he’s still alive and well, apparently. But Katie still didn’t do the job according to her client’s wishes. And contrary to Alice’s opinions, anyone with a pet actually wants that their pets are taken care of in the way that the owner wants the care to be given.
More people opined, including one woman who took on Alice, who responded about how she “loved” that people who weren’t involved had come for the “drama”. At that point, I think I would have told Alice that it was her choice to have people “come for the drama”, as she chose to air this shit in a Facebook group, instead of privately. Her grown ass daughter, Katie, blocked her client, rather than working with her privately to resolve this issue without input from other people. Moreover, Alice doesn’t seem to understand that when pets are stressed out in unfamiliar places, sometimes they have accidents. If Katie had watched the dog in Mary’s home, as was agreed, any accidents the dog had would have been on Mary’s floor, not Alice’s. I think the accidents were entirely Katie’s fault, in that case.
I finally had to comment myself. I wrote this:
You could have stayed out of this. Your daughter is an adult. You said so yourself. And Mary has clearly proven what was agreed. I don’t blame her one bit for being pissed. I would be too.
At that point, more people chimed in, including a few who were on Alice’s and Katie’s side. One person took Mary to task for putting a “kid” on blast. Another person commended Alice for having Katie’s back. I see nothing wrong with a mother having her child’s back, but she should have done it offline, and insisted that her 19 year old adult daughter speak up for herself. At this point, I’m left with the impression that Katie is very immature, irresponsible, and not equipped to handle taking care of pets. What would have happened if the dog had gotten sick? Would Katie have been able to get him to a vet? Could she pry herself away from the holiday festivities with her “sister” to look after the dog she was being paid to take care of? After reading this exchange, and seeing how her mother puts the blame on the paying client, I think not.
One guy wrote this, with which I completely agreed:
I like how you don’t name the sitter and her own mother dimes her out in this post and tries to justify the unprofessional behavior. Then the mom doubles down after your screen shots show everything was agreed upon in advance and calls services the adult sitter agreed on “creepy.” You’re completely justified in being pissed off. I would be pissed too. It doesn’t matter that her sister came in town or it’s Christmas, you were clear in what you expected well in advance and the sitter agreed to it as well.
Alice responded thusly:
I didn’t “dime” her out, I spoke up for my daughter. Big difference, what you read is only half the story, there’s always 3 sides and at the end of the day a service she actually agreed upon was complete and she then she still wasn’t happy. Period.
No, Mama Bear… you totally fucked this up and stuck your nose where it doesn’t belong. You and Katie are wrong, in this instance. Grow up and accept responsibility. Of course, they clearly didn’t, since Alice left the group.
The guy responded:
your daughter wasn’t named, therefore you DID dime her out. Literally no one reading this post other than the OP/you/your daughter knew who the sitter was until your comment. Take the L, you’re wrong, your daughter’s actions were wrong, period. But to clarify the point, once you make a commitment, you follow through. You don’t alter the agreement the day of travel ffs.
There were more comments, but most of them weren’t as juicy, and I think we get the point, anyway. I probably shouldn’t be writing about this, and I don’t know why I feel compelled to, other than to show some of my faithful followers some of the DRAMA that can erupt on military installations. Bill and I once lived on Fort Belvoir, pre-Facebook, and there was enough drama that went on before social media was a thing. I can only shudder to think what it’s like now.
I’m not in very many local American Facebook groups, though, because of situations like these that arise. I made the mistake of being in a lot of them when we lived in Stuttgart, and it caused me a lot of angst. Usually, the pet group is pretty placid, but every once in awhile, I’m reminded as to why I think it’s better not to join a lot of Facebook groups, especially when the US military is involved. Things can get really hairy and fucked up in a hurry. There are people from all walks of life involved with military service, with varying levels of maturity and sophistication. Some people are folks who just can’t understand normal thinking. I think this exchange is a prime example of that phenomenon at work.
Well… I think after I practice guitar and have some lunch, I’ll try to get back to my book so I can have another book review ready by New Year’s Eve. Wish me luck. Have a nice Monday.
9 thoughts on “The wrong way of takin’ care of business…”
Wow! Many people here have the sitter come to their homes for all the obvious reasons. The animals are used to routines and surroundings. Heck, most of them leave some available food, too. I had a friend who would farm sit when the ex and I would go away for 5 days. He had to watch about 7 horses, 2 dogs, 10 cats, a dozen chickens and several aquariums. He usually brought his own food, but I told him to help himself to ours and any beer he wanted. I gave him $100 a day and he was totally worth it.
The lady who had hired the young woman said she would leave food. When I have house sat or animal sat for people, I’ve always stayed at their place or come over.
I know some people do the sitting in their homes…. My dogs would probably not like it. I just can’t believe the tone of the mom, though. She was really offensive.
I personally think it IS wrong for a parent to have his or her child’s back when the [adult] child was so clearly in the wrong except to the extent of helping the [adult] kid to make amends, helping the offspring to learn from the mistakes made, and, if necessary, helping the adult kid to understand that it’s not the end of the world and that he or she can either find a more suitable line of work or can clean up his/her act and do a better job of it next time.
This response from Alice is very likely not a first-time behavior. She probably was in some poor teacher’s face each time her daughter wasn’t named “Student of the Month” by the third month of the school year. She probably bad-mouthed every coach who didn’t give Katie what she perceived to be adequate playing time in one of the more coveted positions. If Katie wasn’t cast as “Mary” in the Christmas pageant, the director and everyone else in the church probably still haven’t heard the end of it. This mother has almost certainly honed her skill through years of having hovered and fought her daughter’s battles even when they were battles in her eyes only.
Yeah…. In this situation, they were both clearly wrong. There are better ways she could have had her daughter’s back than fighting her battles for her.
Back in the 2000s, I had a nice gig taking care of one of my former neighbors’ cats. He was a former child actor/theatre director who late in life worked as a cruise director/shipboard sales rep. Naturally, he was out of town for extended periods, and so was his life partner. I owned a dog (a beautiful yellow Lab named Mary Joe), and because I took care of her well and the neighbors knew it, I was offered a $1-a-day to simply go check on the cat(s), put down food, and clean the litter box.
I also was supposed to make it look as though someone lived in the house while the owner was away, so I was tasked with turning on the front light, making sure that the timers on certain lamps worked properly, and watching TV on occasion to let it run for a while every so often.
Did I do what “Katie” did to “Mary”? No. For starters, I was in my late 30s/early forties and had a decent work ethic. Being older does not make one necessarily wiser, of course, but compared to Katie, I showed my client (which then multiplied to “clients”) more professionalism than Katie did. I followed my client’s instructions to a tee….and I was his cat-sitter/house-sitter for several years until he sold his townhouse and moved to the Homestead area in 2011.
House/pet sitting can be a really sweet gig, especially if you’re proven to be trustworthy. It’s a shame that the people in this story didn’t recognize that. They treated a paying client like she was an inconvenience to them. Imagine how they treated the dog, given how they handled his owner.
I can attest to that.
At one point before my mom got sick in early 2010, I had the keys to three of my neighbors’ houses so I could go pet sit (mostly cats, although I did take care of a gorgeous, friendly lab/Husky mix named Laika once). That’s how good my rep was in our condominium.
Of course, “Alice” and “Katie” really shot themselves in the foot with that client. I would not trust them with our schnauzer!
I fail to see how pets in a strange home making messes on carpet and furniture is the pet owner’s fault. Also… I call BS on that until Mama produces photos and receipts that she would not have hesitated to send the owner if that really did happen.
My guess is that the last minute change was Mama’s idea too
Yeah, she even said so…. She said staying in the pet owner’s house is “creepy”. How offensive can one be? I think if her daughter wants to stay in business, she should cut her mom’s interests out.
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