Getting Gouged by the Dog Sitter

The post is in reference to Heather Smalley, the owner of the pet sitting service For the Love of Dog… and her mother Heidi.






We had a poor experience with Heather July 27, 2013 – Aug 3, 2013. The words below were also posted to Yelp. If you think she deserves more than 2 stars, please let me know.

If you like a measure of inconsistent responses to queries about your trip and your pets, combined with a little dishonesty, Heather is for you!

Last year we were charged $80/day. In April we we contacted Heather for this year, and she quoted $90/day. Heather opted to send us a new invoice for $120/day 3 days before we left for our trip. We had no choice other than to bite the bullet as there wasn’t time to line up someone else.  During our trip she  sent us yet another invoice, including an additional $30/day. (Now $150/day!)

It’s not all doom and gloom. Heather and Heidi did a very nice job with our dogs and our garden, both last year and this year. We thought we had found a real diamond in the rough (last year) as our garden requires up to 30 minutes/day of watering and attention, and many dog sitters don’t carefully attend to it.  We had surmised it wasn’t a big deal as Heidi was supposed in the house most of the day.

The first alarming data point was when I attempted to confirm the trip, several weeks before we left. It took several days to get a response, and that was simply “I’ll set something up with Heidi”. After hearing nothing for another week we attempted to contact her multiples time via phone, email, facebook, text and got no response. We were panicking as we didn’t know if we should start looking for alternatives. She finally go back to us, via email, the Wednesday before our Sat departure.

We met with Heidi a couple of days before we left, for an overview of garden care. We mentioned that a friend of ours be would dropping by a few times over the course of the week to say hello to the dogs, and asked if there was a best time. Heidi told us she was working full time, and wouldn’t be at the house from 9:30AM -6:30PM  every day! She said not to worry as Heather would drop by mid day.

I emailed Heather telling her we were surprised by this information, and told her we needed to understand that our dogs would not be left unattended for more than 4 hours at a time. They are very large (Great Danes), and can do some real damage when they get upset. Heather didn’t respond to this email until she sent us her new (higher) invoice, well into our trip.

We left Heidi a note with details about house incidentals with a sentence right at the top saying “please email us when you arrive at the house”. We received nothing from Heidi, even after she promised to send us pictures.

Lastly, if being charged $150/day to NOT have someone there most of the time is isn’t galling enough, our dogs don’t require any walking! They are perfectly happy running up the big hill behind our house to investigate the neighbor’s dog. As the water in our hot tub was warmer than when we left, and the Bougainvillea behind the tub was half dead, I can only speculate that quite a lot of hot tubbing was going on while we were away.

Needless to say, we will not be using Heather again.