One of my team who was caring for a senior dog with some health issues, gave me a call on Saturday morning. She had been doing overnight stays for a week and the dog had been doing fine. On Saturday morning, however, the sitter told me that the dog was not doing well. She described to me what was going on and I told her to contact the client and ask her if she wanted the dog taken to the vet. I told her to call me back after she spoke to the client. When she called back she said the client had asked her to just observe the dog for a few hours and see if the concerns resolved themselves. He apparently had thrown up a couple of times and was acting quite anxious, panting somewhat and doing some pacing.
I asked my sitter how she felt the dog was doing. Did she think he was in distress? If she did, then she needed to take the dog to the vet even though the client had not requested that. I told her that I would take responsibility for the decision to override the client's wishes since the client was not there to actually see her dog and access the situation.
The sitter was obviously concerned about the dog's well-being and loaded him in her car and took him to the vet's office, which fortunately was open on Saturday. I had called ahead and told then to expect her. The Vet saw the dog almost immediately on arrival and said he had suffered a minor stroke. He was given an injection and subQ fluids. The Vet spoke to the client and explained what was going on. He advised further investigation when she returned home and said to give the dog some any-nausea medication a little later. My sitter took him home and stayed with him until I relieved her in the late afternoon. I stayed with him until the client returned around midnight on Saturday night.
He was quite improved and actually ate some food, drank some water, and went for a walk.
We left detailed notes for the client as to how he did during the day.
My point here is that when an animal is in the care of a pet sitter, it is crucial for the pet sitter to understand the importance of making a decision in the pet's best interest when the owner is absent. Even though we spoke to the pet parent, she clearly was unable to see what we were observing in her pet and of course, was very pleased we acted as we did, even though we overrided her.