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Ask Amy: Ungrateful neighbor's days of free dog sitting may be coming to an end – OregonLive

Neighbor may not realize what hiring a competent dog sitter normally costs. It may be time to enlighten them. Oregonian file photo. Rosemarie Stein/staff
Dear Amy: Friends ask us regularly to watch their dog, but never offer us any compensation. We are not asking for cash, but a gift card would be nice.
They ask us to do this every year for one week in the summer, and then other periods throughout the year, usually lasting for a few days, and sometimes for several days at Christmastime. We live very nearby.
As former dog owners, we understand the work and time involved in managing dogs for a week.
We also understand the related costs with dog boarding, house sitting, etc. For pet owners, we know these costs can add up.
Reciprocity has been minimal at best (a 12-pack beer, for example). (This neighbor is a minimalist who also borrows lots of things from us.)
While we don’t mind dog-watching, it really bothers us that they don’t realize our time is valuable and that a cursory thank you is not enough.
We are friendly with four families on this adjacent street and attend a regular Friday gathering.
We have other neighbors in this same group who gave us a $100 restaurant gift certificate for doing this. We feel that they “get it.”
We’re looking for the best way to approach the conversation, as we are long-time friends and do not want to affect the relationship.
Any ideas?
– Dog Tired
Dear Dog Tired: What you call “minimalist,” I call “cheap.”
The way to deal with this and also preserve the relationship is to be enthusiastic about your willingness to do this for them, and very straightforward about your terms.
Given that you also pet sit for other friends (you’re obviously skilled, trustworthy and responsible), why don’t you go into business for yourself?
You can register as a pet sitter/walker on a site like Rover.com, set your rate and be compensated consistently.
As you know from your time as a pet owner, reliable sitters are worth their weight in kibble. Having a friend and neighbor provide this service is added value.
Before the next time they come to you to schedule this “favor,” put the word out with your Friday friend group that you’ve registered with a pet care site as a way to continue to do this thing that you enjoy – and to make some extra income.
Offer to send them a link to your page on the site. You can offer them a “Friend and Fido” discount if you’re inclined. If they decline to book you – no problem!
You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.
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