Exchanging services with a friend can get awkward when it comes time to exchange payment, no matter how thoughtful you all think you're being.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for calling out her dog sitter for doubling her rate days before a trip. She wrote:
My husband (33M) and I (35F) have two small dogs Pip (5M) and Skip (17M). We both work and live below our means and this allowed us to purchase a home and have some savings. We enjoy travel with the strategic use of use of miles, promos, and reciprocal travel friendships. I budget carefully and pre-plan everything so we have enough to live, enough to save, and enough to enjoy our lives.
Aside from our regular jobs, we also watch dogs on the side. We usually do so below market rate because we understand how inflated dog-sitting fees have become. We usually pet sit for about $30/dog/day. Sometimes we even dog-sit for free if they are a friend or family members or if it is financially tight for some of our regular clients. We love animals and we are very understanding of other people’s means.
This has built us a small network of people we could rely on to watch our pets until recently. A couple of our friends moved away and some have become too busy. We started using a friend of my SIL named Betty. She had been charging us $30/day for Pip and $35/day for Skip. She stays at our house and sat for us with no issue at that rate 2 times prior.
In Sept, I informed her we were taking a longer trip to visit my husband’s aunt for Thanksgiving as she has cancer. We told her it would just be Skip. After doing the math, it made sense to pay the fees & fly with Pip. She agreed. A few weeks before our trip, the sitter says she cannot watch Skip on Thanksgiving and Black Friday because her mom booked a cabin for them that didn’t allow pets.
So we scrambled to find someone to take Skip for those days. Although he does not have major medical issues and takes no meds; he is deaf, blind, has doggy dementia, and is incontinent. The incontinent part is usually puts people off taking him so we were very anxious. But after some time, we found a sitter willing to take him those days and Betty agreed to pick him up for the remainder of the days.
Then 4 days before we leave for our trip, Betty says she will keep her rate at $65/day because she will be traveling from the cabin then picking up Skip. I called her out on this because we only needed to get an additional sitter because of the change in HER plans. For reference the other dog sitter was going to charge us $50/day.
I would have booked her for the whole thing but Betty said she would charge us just an additional day for the pickup. My husband and I both assumed it would still be at our regular rate because she had not informed us otherwise over the 3 months we had planned this. I told her it was not cool that she is doubling our rate right before we are about to fly. I didn’t tell her I wasn’t going to pay the extra rate.
I asked for a compromise and for her to be more upfront of any extra charges in the future. Betty then grew very “uncomfortable with our interaction” and basically backed out of watching him entirely. Thankfully the second sitter was free to watch him the days she bailed on. AITA?
StAlvis had a key question:
"Although he does not have major medical issues and takes no meds; he is deaf, blind, has doggy dementia, and is incontinent."
FFS, what WOULD count as a major medical issue?
And Redditor Charlybell answered:
Vet here, Those aren’t major medical issues. They’re typical issues with a 17-year-old dog. You clean up after them and make sure they don’t wander into the street— untreatable and manageable pending size of dog.
NTA. I don't get the folks focused on your dog's medical challenges and the rate you've been paying. It's not like these are new/ a surprise for Betty. She was fine with that rate for previous visits, and she didn't raise an issue about the fee when you initially asked her. All that changed is Betty's Thanksgiving plans. I think she upped her price because she wants extra money to go shopping next Friday.
Whatever her reasons, the flip in schedule AND the price hike are just not reasonable or fair. The good thing is you found a new dog sitter. I hope you never feel the need for Betty's services again.
YTA. The pet sitter has to take the same amount of time out of their day to come to your house and care for pet(s) whether it's 1 or 2 pet(s). And it's over a holiday. I think it's lovely that you budget carefully and use your miles and promos so you can travel, and lovelier still that you sometimes pet sit for friends or family for free.
None of that has anything to do with how much someone else chooses to charge for their service. Fortunately, you found a sitter at a lower rate, as is your right. I'm sorry that your ire is piqued. Please don't let it ruin your holiday.
NTA. Betty was trying to take advantage of your situation and urgent need for a dog sitter. In future, GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. DO NOT MAKE ANY ASSUMPTIONS. As the situation has been resolved, just take note for any future situations that may crop up. If it ain't in writing, it as good as didn't happen.
Also: While I appreciate your concerns about Skip’s impending demise, he is actually still doing ok. He has no tumors, no cancer, etc. Sometimes we take him on small walks where he drools at all the scents. He has a very healthy appetite and loves his favorite foods. He likes to snuggle when we watch TV and always love to be in his special spot in the middle of the bed at night. Most of the time he is asleep.
And when he wakes, we carry him gently to the backyard to relieve himself. We have talked at length with our vet about when it’s time for him to go and they said while he’s still enjoying his favorite things, no need to preemptively euthanize.
Clearly, no one can agree on this situation.