Do we pay dog sitter? Our dog was put down before he was supposed to stay with her.

(99 Posts)
BubblesBuddy Thu 25-Jul-19 07:28:44

I haven’t posted here before but I have a real dilemma.

Our dog was elderly (14): blind, deaf, suffering from dementia which affected his urinating habits and made him walk round in circles amongst other things. He wasn’t eating on some days and was wobbly and struggled to stand a few times. He was often disoriented and had become quite a lot worse in the last few weeks. We found him sleeping in his own urine one morning. We went to the vet about his medication and to ask the vet for advice because we were so worried about his enjoyment of life. After a lengthy discussion about what a dog should enjoy on a daily basis, we decided to consult with our family about ending his life, which we did 7 days ago. This was hard for everyone as you can imagine.

I texted our dog sitter who had had him regularly over 14 years telling her about the vet consultation and our dogs difficulties. I knew she would be upset. I also had to cancel him staying with her. He was due to go today. This would have been around £500 in fees. We felt we didn’t want to go on holiday with the decision hanging over us and our dog.

We now have a letter from our dog sitter basically asking for money to compensate for our dog not coming to stay. Over the last 13 plus years I have paid her thousands of £. I know she thought her insurance would pay but as he didn’t die with her, it won’t. What do we do? Should we pay something? Nothing?

Our DD who is a lawyer says the contract for her to look after our dog has been “frustrated” because our dog died. Also that as a self employed dog sitter, who only took cash, she has to accept cancellation due to ill health and death. I feel that I should have kept him alive for her benefit. So what do we do? Any advice on this difficult situation gratefully received.

OP’s posts: |
Stevienickssleeves Thu 25-Jul-19 07:31:44

Did you sign a contract or does she have any terms you agreed when booking

Bourbonbiccy Thu 25-Jul-19 07:37:42

Yes as you have said you had a contract but legally don't have to pay her. I would probably just give her a token £100 to say thank you for your services, but sadly his death was unavoidable due to his suffering and the contract is frustrated.

Sorry for your loss, but it sounds like you did the kindest thing for you dog.

Phillipa12 Thu 25-Jul-19 07:42:16

Can she fill the space and what do her ts and cs say? Dog sitters have a limit on how many pets they can home board, so she could well have lost out on other dogs boarding because she had yours booked in. Personally and dependant on her ts and cs, i would offer half of what you would of had to pay, but if she fills the space then i would expect to pay nothing. Sorry about your dog.

WillLokireturn Thu 25-Jul-19 07:42:57

Your DD is a lawyer, you can show her your contact /booking terms.
A sentence in your last paragraph is ridiculous, of course no one expected you to keep DDog alive in pain and poor QOL just for the dog sitter.

I can see how a week before he was due, she'd have been relying on that payment/income. If you don't have to pay her anything contractually, maybe 1/5-1/10th as a thankyou? She will hopefully (for her) be able to fill the slot she has vacant now, but it is what it is. People and animals die. It's not anyone's fault that he started deteriorating rapidly and that it was kinder to put him to sleep.

Sorry for your loss.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Thu 25-Jul-19 07:44:15

It feels crass to ask this question at this stage - but are you hoping to get another dog at some point in the future? If so presumably you'll want to use the same dog sitter again, and one you can trust is worth their weight in gold

BiteyShark Thu 25-Jul-19 07:50:05

So sorry OP thanks. They mean so much to us and it's hard to lose them.

I would simply pay the amount because it's still her business and I would have expected to pay it anyway. We have lost hundreds over the past couple of years because our dog has been severely ill right before a holiday. In addition I have also paid an amount to keep our place at daycare even though he has been unable to attend for weeks due to injuries and illnesses.

What are the cancellation terms of the contract?


LolaSmiles Thu 25-Jul-19 07:50:59

With such short notice the sitter will struggle to fill the space so I think a nominal amount as goodwill would be morally the right thing to do, but not the whole amount.

I'm not sure where that would stand legally but it's what I would say the right thing to do is.

Sorry for your loss

DirtyNell Thu 25-Jul-19 07:52:36

If you are planning on getting a new dog in the future, and seem sensible to compensate her at this point. £500 seems like a lot of money for some dog sitting, were you planning on being away for long?

At this time of year, a bit of social networking on the part of your dog sitter should surely find her some new clients. As an act of goodwill, I would offer her a payment of £200, as you certainly have left her out of pocket at short notice.

It’s quite a strange idea to think that you should of kept your beloved dog alive just to keep her employed. Does she depend entirely on her income from dog sitting for her likelihood?
I think you’ll feel better if you compensate her. Yes, you’ve paid her thousands over the years, but she’s also worked for you for years.
Very sorry about losing your dog x

pilates Thu 25-Jul-19 07:54:22

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but is she running a proper legitimate business? The fact that she only accepts cash makes me wonder. Did you sign a contract/terms of business? How much is she expecting you to pay her? I know it sucks for the dog sitter but this is an unexpected event and I don’t feel you are inclined to pay anything. If you have signed something to cover this then obviously you should.

DirtyNell Thu 25-Jul-19 07:55:26

Should have! First time using dictation!!

ByeByeMissAmericanPie Thu 25-Jul-19 07:55:43

This happened to me a few years ago, but I had two dogs and so still had one left to look after. I did warn the couple who were house sitting that he was very elderly and might not make it... and in the end, I felt it was wrong to go away and leave them with a dog who was really struggling.

They were house sitting for free (so to speak) and only charged per dog, so they got half the money they were expecting. But it was a hobby for them, and I had done a bit of expectation management in advance.

I would probably pay the dog sitter half the money to compensate their financial loss, especially if you were looking to use them again if you got another dog.

NoSquirrels Thu 25-Jul-19 07:56:42

£500! How long are you away for - seems loads?

I would pay 50%. You were expecting to pay and she was expecting to be paid. But she’s not having to do anything for the money, so that would seem fair to me.

newmomof1 Thu 25-Jul-19 07:58:02

I think you should pay her something. It's a sad set of circumstances but she still has bills to pay.

Does she normally take a deposit? What are her cancellation terms?

labazsisgoingmad Thu 25-Jul-19 07:58:19

i know it sounds horrible but my partner and i run a dog walking and home sitting service so perhaps i could put another point of view. i am so sorry about your dog we are always upset when owners lose animals especially ones we have been looking after for years. the trouble is often work is turned down if there is only one or two of you and to turn down work for such a big amount of money then find it cancelled no matter what the circumstances can be a terrible blow. to us that amount of money being lost would put us in a terrible position to pay our rent. its happened to us and we have had to borrow money from family or risk losing our home. i must admit we would not ask for money we would just have to cope and hope more work came in but i suppose you can understand how important that amount of money is to her

CircleofWillis Thu 25-Jul-19 07:59:38

I would pay them. You were expecting to pay the money anyway so are not out financially. On the other hand the sitter will probably not be able to fill the space in such a short space of time and will suffer as a result. It is a very sad time for you but the sitter has to put practicalities over sentiment if it is her business and she relies on the money.

saraclara Thu 25-Jul-19 08:02:25

In pretty much any business, canceling with a week to go would result in full payment.

This is someone's livelihood. How would you feel if your employer decided not to pay you one week, and you had £500 less to live on?

WhatTheAbsoluteFuck Thu 25-Jul-19 08:05:15

Pay her. Assuming you already have the money put aside to pay her fees anyway, may as well pay her.

666onmyhead Thu 25-Jul-19 08:07:06

How long before the start date of his intended stay did you sign the contract ? As you may still be in the cooling off period. ( although I would have thought your DD may have looked into this ?)
Is there no mention in the contract what happens in this circumstance?
You have a right to cancel.

saraclara Thu 25-Jul-19 08:10:34

Agree that what you've paid her in the past had absolutely no bearing on this present situation. That was fairly earned money. You weren't doing her a favour.

Again, think of this in employer and employee terms. 'I've paid you £x000 over past years, so you can put up with me not paying you this week' would not fly.

EleanorReally Thu 25-Jul-19 08:10:36

How sad,
can you pay half?
if you have a child minder and your child is ill, i believe you still have to pay half - which is how i relate it to, though of course sad your dog has died but she still has a business. so a cancellation fee sounds reasonable.

666onmyhead Thu 25-Jul-19 08:11:03

And the dog sitter has had 7days to 're sell ' the timeslot.

Namechangeforthiscancershit Thu 25-Jul-19 08:12:11

I know my dog sitter has a nightmare with people just not turning up (not for such very sad reasons). He has clear terms though. Does this lady have t&cs?

So sorry for your loss. It is so hard. They really are part of the family.

666onmyhead Thu 25-Jul-19 08:14:14

I don't think you should be pushed into a guilty feeling of 'I should pay' you haven't received the service - you have more than 7days notice that you no long need the service due to the sad passing of your pet.
Personally I think the fact the sitter asked you to pay is abhorrent.

wowfudge Thu 25-Jul-19 08:15:33

Has the dog sitter stated how much she wants? I'd expect to pay something in these circumstances, maybe not the whole amount, but it would depend on the Ts and Cs.

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