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Guest left her dog unsupervised in my cottage for 15 hours


Oh, I have a doozy of a story. It is fairly complicated in its timeline, so I will try to tell the salient points in an easily digestible form.

The Prelude

  • I am a remote host who lives in NYC and rents her weekend house two hours north in the Catskills. I have been renting for 6 years. I disclosed security cameras on the exterior.

  • In November I was contacted by a woman who said she and her husband were traveling up from Virginia for late holiday celebration with their family in my town, bringing a well-behaved beagle.

  • I told her, on the Air platform, by the way, your area family is welcome to come see you at the house, but normally I do not allow anyone on the property not on the rental agreement.

  • All communications were great and friendly and warm, although as Winter Storm Grayson was forming she started calling me and texting me about moving her arrival date back a day and possibly extending the stay one more night. Sure – not a problem. But I also reminded her to please contact me on Airbnb.

The Wind-Up

  • The day before she was scheduled to arrive she asks “By the way, do you have any recommendations for a pet sitter? I am having a hard time finding one.” To which I said, ‘Um, I am sorry, but you’re not allowed to have a pet sitter come to my property. As I mentioned before you are not allowed to have guests on the property not on the rental agreement. And certainly not without you present.’ She then went on to say that the big holiday festivities with her granddaughter included taking her on her first trip to NYC and go to the American Girl Store. (Gah! But that’s another rant.) But no worries - she would “figure something out.”

  • The next day, I contacted her and said I do have close friends in the area - who I would certainly trust in my home and with a dog, maybe I could contact one of them for her? She was very appreciative - said I had done the “2nd mile.”

  • My close friend, Kim, dog-lover and all-round good egg agreed. I give them each other contacts and Kim gets the impression she is being asked to come by for about two hours from 4-6.

The Day Arrives

  • Saturday was the big day for their “day trip” to New York. At this point I really had no concerns. She seems so nice. She even asked Kim to come and meet the dog on Friday and Kim said they seemed like a great family - all three generations.

  • By 3:30PM I was chatting with Kim on facebook and reminded her she could hop on my WiFi while she was there and she said “Oh, I won’t be there long. I am just walking the dog and feeding her and then leaving. That is all she wants. And then sent me a screen capture of their text exchange.”

  • “Odd,” I think to myself. Well, they must feel they will be back soon. I had a dog for many years. You know what their capacity is to “hold it.”

  • Kim arrives at 4:40PM walks and feeds and is gone before 5:00PM. (It was 5 degrees in the Catskills.)

  • By 8:00 PM I start watching the camera. She’s not home. Not home at 9:00PM, either. I text Kim, Kim texts the dog owner. “I will be there shortly.”

  • I check the camera and confirm that guest left the house at 9AM. It is now 12 hours that the dog has been in the house, unsupervised.

  • At 10:20PM I called the owner. It was a fairly long call but I said “V., I will come right out with it: I am very uncomfortable with the fact that you have left your dog unsupervised for now, over 12 hours.” I was calm, but firm; the guest was talking to me in that very calming voice people use when they are trying to bullshit you. Her basic position was that she was very comfortable with leaving her dog alone because Blossom is so calm and well-behaved. I really did not get the impression that she understand that the issue is MY COMFORT and what is a reasonable expectation for a host. I asked her when she would be back and she said “Shortly.” What is shortly? She claimed she wasn’t sure because she wasn’t sure where they are.

Airbnb Customer Service

I summarized the phone call on the Airbnb message thread with the guest, but decided a call to Airbnb was called for. I really lucked out and got a VERY sympathetic representative. We agreed that the guests behavior was unacceptable and that I had documented it correctly. I had 14 days to report damage and I would decide the next day whether I wanted my guest re-homed. Honestly, I was so livid at this point I could not see straight. Air offered to call the guest and tell them I was uncomfortable, but I said “Oh, I think she is aware I am more than uncomfortable.”

  • Air sent me a link in a new message thread that was a “text” directly to my rep who would be available to help me until she went off her shift."

  • When the guest was still not back at 11:30 I “texted” the rep and said that’s it. Please contact the guest. Her “shortly” answers were bullshit. There is not a misunderstanding - there is a a complete lack of transparency here. I want her gone tomorrow.

  • Air said she wasn’t answering the phone and then called me back. We agreed that it would not be prudent to tell her she had to vacate the next day. Let’s wait until the morning.

  • The renter arrived back at 12:14AM. She had left the dog alone for 15 hours and 14 minutes. The arrival back was still 7 hours after the dog had been walked the one time.

  • At 1:00AM Air texted me and asked if they could call me. They had just gotten off the phone with V. after a 45 minute phone call. V. was very sorry for the “misunderstanding” and hoped that she could not only finish her stay, but return, as she liked the house so much and it is near her family. I agree to sleep on it since there was nothing that could be done tonight.

The Morning After

  • As of this morning, after sleeping on it, I have decided that the “shortly” bullshit answers were the last straw. She is not transparent or trustworthy and I have asked that she be re-homed. The Airbnb rep of this morning was FAR less helpful than the one last night - in fact, I would go so far as to say she was pro-guest on this and hostile towards me, whereas last night’s rep was very supportive. She did, however, agree to tell the guest she had to leave.

I am waiting for confirmation that she is gone.

I will write more later on what I DID WRONG and what can be learned from this experience, but right now I am still too upset over it. I have never asked a guest to leave before.


I’m so sorry this happened to you.

I really hope the dog didn’t do anything destructive while it was abandoned by its owner in a strange place.

Good luck resolving this.


In my conversations with my guest, and Air’s recounting of their conversation, it is clear that V. feels that is there is no damage from the dog, there is no problem. That her comfort with her dog’s behavior is what I should take at face value. That is not my position. It is the callous leaving of a dog for 15 hours unsupervised but for a quick walk - that is the issue - regardless of her expectations of her dog’s behavior.


Mmmmhhh… The dog was unsupervised from 5PM to 12:14AM, so that would be 7h14m. Personally I don’t see any problem either, unless the dog would have caused damage to your property. I don’t think it’s up to us to judge how that lady treats her dog.


This is the problem with some guests. As was posted in another thread, they think since they’ve rented the place it’s theirs to do as they please. It’s a shame that V. has chosen to dismiss your feelings about your beloved home, especially since she wanted to stay again and now won’t be able to.

In the future should something like this happen again it seems the best approach will be to say “you can’t leave your dog unattended.” They can find an in home boarding or daycare on Rover or the internet or leave their dog at home. Honestly I’m not sure I’d allow pets at the Green Cottage at all.


The dog was left alone from 9AM to 12:14AM the next day. 15 hours


Air sided with me. She has shown poor judgement in leaving her dog alone for 15 hours in my house and a total lack of transparency throughout. They found her other accommodations and they are packing the car.


Hi Gut, happy new year.

Did you miss the part about this occurring in Catskill’s house? It’s not about how the woman treated her dog (which I agree might be perfectly fine), it’s about the violation of the clearly communicated expectations. Most properties don’t even permit pets and this woman should be bending over backwards for someone willing to allow them.


But Kim checked in on the dog, so he wasn’t actually left alone for 15 hours. I know people who leave their dogs at home alone for 3 weeks, although they are outside in the garden. One son checks in on the dogs before going to work at 8AM. The other son checks in at 6PM after work. I can’t imagine either of them staying for much longer than 20 minutes.
I am not saying this is a nice way to treat your dogs, just stating that for some people this is considered normal.

I got the part that the dog stayed inside the house. If I understood well Catskill gave full permission to have the dog there.
I must have missed the part of the clearly communicated expectations. I ran over the post again and honestly still can’t find them. (I’ve got a little bit of a headache, could be that.)

Happy New year also to everyone here !


I don’t like any of what’s gone on here and I do not blame you for being upset. First, the idea that the guest just asked about pet sitters when you have a no strangers on property rule. Then, that when you went out of your way to find someone YOU trusted for this job (I’m assuming it was paid) the guest didn’t want to pay for any but the most basic services??

Then her cavalier response to you. Just NO. Clearly the guest did not get it and did not get what was bothering you. Yes maybe Blossom can be left for hours at her own home, but as K9 states, her behavior at the home of a stranger might be entirely different.

If I left my dog that long, I might have wet or poo all over the house and I might hear from neighbors about crying behavior.

You are in the right, you did the right thing and I certainly do feel your frustration in getting reps who are sometimes sympathetic and sometimes not. Remember their Reddit AMA where they said their first job was to get the person who calls calmed down and feeling comfortable. They will say anything to get to that end. Then after that it’s whatever. My experience anyway.

Glad the guest is leaving. She probably forgot about the cameras!


The guest has left. She led me to believe she was hiring my friend as a “pet sitter” and always referred to her as that. No, the dog was merely walked once in 15 hours. Kim’s time on the property was 15 minutes top - that was all the guest was paying for. Again, the dog was left unsupervised for 15 hours - walking a dog for a few minutes is not supervising a dog - and the guest was evasive when asked she would return.

Airbnb sided with me on this and the guest is gone. My cleaner will be over tomorrow to inspect the property.


It is a tough call. I get so many people with pets. In a rural mountain area folks want to come with their pets. They hike and do outdoorsy stuff. My experience hithertofore with pets has been great. I don’t get the sense that any have been left alone on a scale like this. Grocery shopping, maybe dinner and a movie. Sure. 3 hours, 4 hours. I get it. 15 hours? No. No freakin’ way. I will be amending my rules for damn sure.


That sounds like absolute nightmare


So much angst and wasted time. From 9PM on, when I realized she had been gone for 12 hours and did not pay my friend to stay with the dog - as she implied - every minute was agony. Do I call her? Do I call Air? Is it too late to call someone else to come over? Now what do I do? What if she doesn’t come back in an hour? OY! Never again.

  1. No pet sitters or dog walkers. If you expect to be gone from the property and the pet you brought for more than 3 hours you must arrange for an area kennel or pet border.

  2. Pay attention to evasive, manipulative behavior early on. When favors follow do not accommodate.

  3. Document, document, document. Fortunately Airbnb said I did that right, which is why they supported me.

And it is not really over - my cleaner goes in tomorrow and I will find out is there is any damage - and then the dreaded reviews.


Second this! Rover is a great resource for finding local dog sitters and overnight boarding. I plan on recommending this to our guests should something like this come up.

So sorry you had to deal with that. Poor pupper too.


We had this issue with a guest too. I now tell them that the dog must either 1) be with them, or if prior arranged with me 2) be with me so I can take the dog out on a leash to use the yard. No unattended pets. We have a dog and love dogs, so I’d rather be the dogsitter than worry about the carpeting and flooring. This is tricky!


There would not be a single hotel, motel or traditional b&b that would allow a pet to be left in their room alone for any amount of time, let alone while the guest went out for dinner, LET ALONE 15 HOURS! That is completely unacceptable behaviour, she was completely dismissive of your concerns abd for that you have every right to turf them, if they want to continue using the platform they need a dose of what’s what! Roast her!


@Happyfrog Thank you so much for putting this in perspective. I wholeheartedly agree, but your assessment gave me the boost I needed.


As a side note, my first Airbnb case manager contacted me and apologized for the tone and attitude of the second rep. Until this is closed she wants me to deal just with her.


I am on site and had people book to stay with me for 3 nights, with their dog. They were hiking the area.

Not an issue, I go out with my dog and he loves it up there.

They left the dog in the room.

Ohh he will be fine, cried all day.

So one of my few rules, no dogs left behind, I will give a pass if they are going out to dinner.

We all have a tendency to think people will do the right thing.

I have recommend the local kennel, of course their day rate is significant compared to my room rate, have thought operating a kennel would be easier and more lucrative.