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Using pet sitting and dog walking services done by professionals or simply asking friends to take your pet for a few days is a good way to allow yourself some time off for travel and whatnot. However, these things don’t always go as planned, as you’ll see in the below dog walking horror stories I’ve compiled in the list.

Looking at this from a different angle, dog walking can also be a good side job to earn extra cash and spend time with pets. Unfortunately, not all owners using dog walker’s services are a pleasure to deal with, and this can go wrong very quickly. Read some of these pet sitting horror stories below, both from the perspective of the owners and sitters/walkers, to get a better idea how to be a responsible dog walker or user of these services, and things you should and shouldn’t do.

RELATED: Ask an Expert – How to Become a Dog Walker?

The Lost Service Dog

The Lost Service Dog horror story
Jamie Halper / Barkpost

Jamie Halper couldn’t even dream of the nightmare that occurred when she decided to sign up for DogVacay.com, a website and service kind of like the Airbnb for dogs. Even though Ellie Lou is actually Jamie’s service dog that goes almost everywhere with her, Jamie wanted to give her some time off and leave her for two weeks with a couple living close to her with their own dogs and great DogVacay reviews.

The updates on Ellie were frequent in the beginning but become scarce as time went on. Excuses were suspicious, and one day before Jamie came home she received a message that her dog was lost! After an extensive Facebook campaign, Ellie was found, but not without consequences since it turned out that she was missing longer than the couple admitted.

In the story published on Barkpost, Jamie Halper tells everything in greater details.

A House of Horrors

A story by one Reddit user, /u/sarahbobomb, sounds like a regular creepypasta. The user, a 16-year-old girl who watched dogs for others, had an offer from one of her recurring clients to spend nights at his house for a week while he is away and take care of his two Afghan hound puppies.

Other than discovering a bunch of guns and ammo in one of his closets, the first night went without a problem. The second night, when sarahbobomb went out with the dogs for their potty break, she turned on the motion detector alarms. Not long after, the alarm started blaring and she saw light on the upper floor. When she saw someone looking out of the window, she picked up the puppies, got into her car and off the property. After calling 911, she waited for cops to search the house, but they found no one there and no signs of forced entry. The frightened teen kept the dogs in her house for the rest of the week, never again accepting offers to watch the dogs from that client.

You can read the full story on reddit here.

Dishonest Sitter

Dishonest SitterIn one of the pet sitting horror stories published on ThatMutt.com, Gretchen Crawford left her dog Westie with a neighbor, explicitly saying that dog is not supposed to be let off the leash on walks. When she came back from her trip, she picked up her dog from the neighbor, not suspecting that anything happened. However, her answering machine was full of messages informing her that they found her dog. Of course, despite the happy ending, Gretchen did not take her dog to that sitter again.

The Missing Car Keys

When Reddit user /u/prustage took his friend’s dog on a trip to Stonehenge, the dog picked up his car keys when he dropped them and ran away. After chasing the dog for an hour, he found him without the keys. He looked for them until it was dark and had to hitchhike home since he didn’t find them. After being picked up by a nice couple, the dog went number two and threw up on the back seat, right before they arrived home, making them walk the last 5 miles.

You can read the full story on reddit here.

Raising Money to Sue

The news of one Sydney resident who wanted to sue his dog sitter spread quickly online. Jackson Millan left his two dogs, a pug and a boxer, with a man he found on Mad Paws, a website dedicated to finding dog sitters. He visited the sitter’s home and felt it is safe to go for his 6-week vacation to Brazil.

The things went wrong even before he got back. The request for updates on his dogs was always met with excuses, until Millan received a photo of his pug Otis with a harness on. Millan noticed stains around it that suggested that the harness hasn’t been taken off. He pushed the sitter to take Otis to the vet, which led to a diagnosis of a 6-inch gash all across Otis’ neck. The sitter didn’t take the harness off for three weeks, prompting Millan to create a GoFundMe page so he can sue the dog sitter.

Stalked by Coyotes

Another reddit user /u/Baileylikethebooze took his parents’ mini schnauzer to a school with a fence around it, to let him run around for a while. However, he heard something in the bushes at one point and realized that they were being followed by coyotes, at least 5 of them! He grabbed the dog and went home, luckily without any interference by the coyotes.

You can read the full story on reddit here.

The Diabetic Dog Incident

Leeann Madsen hired a pet sitter, giving her clear instructions about the diet of her diabetic dog and about insulin shots. Even though the pet sitter said that she knows how to deal with diabetic dogs, on the first day she forgot to give the dog insulin and fed him pizza! The sitter had to take Dex to the vet and then refused to pick him up, leaving Leeann with a stressed dog and an enormous vet bill.

More details on this story were told on PawCulture.com site here.

The Never-Ending Fight

The Never-Ending FightSome dogs just don’t get along, which is something that R.B. experienced by himself when he accepted to watch his dad’s dog. Even though his dog and his dad’s dog got along fine before, this time the situation was much different – the dad’s dog would constantly attack his dog, growling and barking after him, bullying him all the time anyway he can. R.B was also unable to leave the dad’s dog alone for a while since he would start tearing things. Even the gates between the dogs aren’t effective because they lead to barking. Truly a dog sitting nightmare.

You can read the full story on Mamapedia.com here.

Not a Great Friend

Yet another reddit user /u/theonewiththetits had a very unpleasant experience when she left her 8-month-old puppy Annabel with her friend for a week. After only two days of vacation, she received a phone call from another friend, who went out to check them out and saw the dog being left in the crate all day and fed only once. The dog was also beaten for any mess in the crate, which was not cleaned. The other friend took the dog with her, but the consequences of the ordeal were evident on Annabel who expressed fear of crates and large men after that.

You can read the full story on reddit here.

The Poop Story

One of the staffers at One Leg Up Canine Company tells a story of Penny, a notorious poop eater. Knowing about this habit of hers, the entire staff keeps her away from any “tasty treats”. However, Penny managed to sneak in a few nice bites on one occasion, after finding a pile of frozen poo on one winter walk. During the ride home, Penny vomited all over the backseat, spreading the indestructible and vile smell along the way. Penny was fine, luckily, but the staffer was left with a car full of poop to clean.

Two Irritating Pooches

One The Knot forum user by the name of MrsWeiner accepted to take care of two dogs for their friends for 12 days after their sitter canceled. One lab and one Jack Russel Terrier were delivered to her and since the very first night, it was evident that the dogs are not big fans of sleeping. They whined, barked and scratched everything they found the entire night. In addition to this, MrsWeiner’s allergies started acting up from the constant shedding all around the house. And the lab was always jumping in the pool!

You can read the full story on TheKnot.com forum here.

Grandmother’s Babies

Grandmother’s BabiesThe next story comes from Dog Community forum, from user astaracheetah, who had to take care of her grandmother’s dogs. And it’s been hellish two weeks, even though the first week went smoothly. The problem with the Pekinese dog started when he began chasing the house cat. The Doberman, on the other hand, decided to mark his territory, non-stop. Our story-teller tried to put him in a crate, which led to a night of constant barking. The worst part – you can’t just refuse to help your grandmother, so astaracheetah had to suck it up.

You can read the full story on Dog.com forum here.

Close Encounters of Another Kind

One Reddit user, /u/Cygnuswomyn, had an unexpected visitor while she was dog sitting in a country. The two dogs, Dixie and Chester, were not a problem for her, but a moose that turned out in the backyard sure was. And not just any moose, a momma moose. After a brief moment of shock, Cygnuswomyn reacted quickly and got the dogs inside.

You can read the full story on reddit here.

Dogs Left Alone

Another Reddit user /u/designgoddess tells a story of two friends who stayed at her place to look after a couple of dogs. After no updates on them, she became worried and asked other friends to check on them. They found out that the two friends spent just one night at her house and then took off with all the food, leaving the dogs in their crate without food or water, not telling anybody about it.

You can read the full story on reddit here.

The Mower Attack

The Mower AttackAnother interesting story comes from /u/MissMorality, a Reddit user whose father accepted to take care of his friend’s bulldog. He already had a couple of bulldogs himself, and while the dogs were out in the yard, the dad started to mow the grass. Completely out of the blue, the friend’s bulldog attacked the mower, slicing his tongue on it. Thankfully, the dad reacted fast and took the dog to the vet straight away, saving the dog’s life.

You can read the full story on reddit here.

The Disappearing Dogs

More stories from Reddit! A user by the name of /u/nug-pups was dog sitting for one couple with 3 Jack Russel Terriers. The house has a doggy door so they can get out whenever they want to a fenced backyard with an additional invisible fence around it. This time, instead of the usual barking, nug-pups was greeted by silence. When she got in the yard, only one dog, Pickle, was there. After a brief search, the other two dogs showed up on the other side of the gate, which was strange since there is also the invisible fence

The same thing happened the next morning, with even Pickle missing. That’s when nug-pups saw a hole in the fence and saw the dogs nearby. She lured them in and it turned out that the invisible fence has been cut somehow, leading to these stressful situations.

You can read the full story on reddit here.

Dogs of New York

Cecelia Taylor, a dog sitter from New York, thought that small dogs were not as difficult to handle as bigger ones, even in New York. Then she met Nala, a small Chipoodle. Nala was a big nuisance who barked non-stop, went to the bathroom on the carpet every day and even bit Cecilia in the end. She also got Cecilia in trouble with her landlord.

Read her full story on HerCampus.com here.

An Irresponsible Friend

An Irresponsible FriendSome of these horror stories don’t have a happy ending. For example, a Reddit user /u/A-punk tells a story of his friend who was dog sitting for his friends for a month. When one of the dogs died on the second day after eating something from the cleaning cabinet, his friend just left his dog there because he didn’t want to touch it.

You can read the full story on reddit here.

A Dog in a Ditch

Another sad short story comes from Reddit user /u/mrcavity15, whose dog has been hit by a car while he was on vacation. To make matters worse, the man that was supposed to watch him found the dog and just dragged him off the road to a ditch, not letting anyone know that the dog was dead until the owner came home.

You can read the full story on reddit here.

The Invisible Fence Fail

One unfortunate accident left Reddit user /u/burning5ensation with the dreaded responsibility of letting his friends know that their dog is dead. After he agreed to watch his roommates’ dogs for 10 days while they were on a trip, on the first day he let the dogs out of the house with their invisible fence collars on. After he heard yelping, he went out to check what is going on and saw one of the dogs running through the invisible fence and onto a parkway where she was hit by a car, dying a few moments later in his arms.

You can read the full story on reddit here.

READ NEXT: Comparing the Best Dog Boarding Services – DogVacay / Rover vs Care vs Fetch! vs Petsitters