Monday, November 2, 2009
What Was Happening While We Were Away...
And then there's the matter of the alcohol. Not that we ever took inventory, but you generally have a rough idea of how much you have on hand. We would return home and I'd have a nagging feeling that there was less wine and/or liquor than when we left. Not that it mattered, or that I worried about it, but I distinctly remember thinking something seemed missing.
Then there were the other odd comments we'd hear from folks we knew who used our old pet sitter. Comments that stopped short of saying there was "a problem" but just enough to leave us wondering.
And then, last year while we were on a Mediterranean cruise we still had that pet sitter watch the kids. At the time we had Koshimi (who was old), Sheldon who was still a new puppy, and Owen the kitty. We decided to pay extra to have the pet sitter come to our house, leaving the pets in their our house within their familiar surroundings. It would be cheaper to leave them at someone else's house but we always feel its worth the extra expense to pay to have the pet sitter come to our house several times per day. Well last year, while on the cruise I sent an e-mail to our (ex) pet sitter to let her know our cousin might be dropping by periodically and not to be surprised if she saw a strange person in the house. She immediately responded (via e-mail) to let me know the dogs were not in the house! It felt like only because I sent her a note saying someone may be at the house, she decided to admit the dogs were not at our home, where they were supposed to be. If I had not sent that note, she might have never mentioned it, assuming I'd never know. Apparently she decided to take my dogs to her home, with the explanation that she was having car trouble. What struck me as odd at the time was that she hadn't informed us of this sooner. An honest pet sitter would not have waited to share that information until she felt the risk that our cousin would stop by and not find the dogs at home, where they were supposed to be. This alarmed us- we were immediately suspicious and felt very betrayed. But, being away, with our beloved pets in her care, it was not the time to engage in accusations or anger. When we returned we vowed not to use her again.
Fast forward to this most recent cruise. We found a wonderful new pet sitter, and made all the arrangements. While on vacation they would send a daily e-mail update with comments on the kids. One day we received an e-mail from the new pet sitter that she had been approached by our neighbor that he had seen the OLD pet sitter at our house and asked her about it. As it turns out, our neighbor saw the old pet sitter at our house at least twice, having gone inside the house with her own dog. On one occasion he spoke with her. A long story short- I sent her an e-mail from Europe and told her she had been seen at our house, unauthorized. She replied that there must be some mistake.
When we returned home to Palm Springs we spoke with our neighbors. In fact they had seen her at our house, and even spoke with her on one occasion. Why would our neighbor bring her up, out of the blue? They would have no reason to mention her if she had not been here. After getting the full story, I called the old pet sitter and confronted her with this, and again she denied it. After telling her of the possibility of having photos and/or video surveillance taken of her on site, she had all sorts of excuses- her old car had been repossessed. etc. Then she wanted to see the video of her.
I told her we had heard that she had a drinking problem. (In fact, although I didn't share this with her, one former client of hers said they returned home and she was drunk at their home). While speaking on the phone, she denied accusations of having an alcohol problem, and without prompting, rather suspiciously stated that she had never consumed any of our alcohol. I had not accused her of such- it was she who brought that up about not drinking our liquor (the old expression "he doth protest too much" came to mind). Our conversation came to and end with her insisting that she hadn't been to our house, but I knew better. The question is what do I do with such information?
Then Iater last night she sent me an e-mail, trying to find out what photos or video surveillance we had of her. She "couldn't believe we fired her after just one incident". I responded by sharing that this wasn't just one incident, it started a year ago with my suspicions back then, which was why we decided not to ever use her again at that time (hence the reason she had not been hired for this trip). In the end I decided to do nothing---for now. I shall retain the right to press charges for trespassing. Our new pet sitter had to deal with this stress but was very professional, we couldn't be more happy. I'm just glad we've moved on and never need to deal with the old pet sitter again. It was quite the happenings at our house while away on holiday. Most important, all three of the kids were fine and all is well.
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