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Why should turn down your neighbor when they ask for help

A good person is always kind and helpful to their neighbors but sometimes it can go too far. Recently a man agreed to look after a neighbor’s house and pets while they were away. While this may sound like a simple task he was left with a lot more issues than he bargained for.

It is common courtesy to look after a neighbor’s house while they are away for a long period of time. Simply turning on some lights every now and then stops the place from looking abandoned and feeding the pets to ensure they survive. This is something I have done for neighbors countless times and even ones who I don’t know that well, it is just the right thing to do. However, we always assume the best-case scenario. We assume that you will feed the pets and they will be happy, that you will look after the house and nothing will go missing. However what if something goes wrong?

What if one of the pets died under your care? How would you explain it to the owners when they returned, would you be legally at fault? What if the house was robbed while you were supposed to be minding it, would you be their number one suspect? What if they never came back from that vacation? That last one may sound particularly ridiculous but it is exactly what happened one man recently. He shared his story on Reddit and it is incredible.

His opening post explained the situation mentioned above and how the family told him that they had to return to their home country of Taiwan for three weeks as one of their parents was dying. After three weeks past, he heard from the neighbor who said they would need to stay a little longer to arrange things and they would be back in one more week. That week also passed and this time no contact was made. The house sitter tried to make contact with them but got no reply. Soon weeks turned into months and still, no contact had been made.

The house sitter had pets of his own and felt sorry for the two German Shepards that his neighbors owned so he took them into his home. He continued to check on the house occasionally but largely didn’t worry about it. After almost a year since the family left though he checked on the house and noticed the basement had flooded, what was he supposed to do now? He paid to sort out the flooded basement so that no more damage would be caused and took to Reddit to seek advice. The majority of people told him to report a missing person (after a year that did seem obvious).

He reported the missing person and soon the neighbor made contact with him. He explained that they had simply decided to stay in their home country a little longer with friends and family and seemed pretty annoyed that he had been reported missing. He provided a new email address so that they could make contact in the future and apologized for the misunderstanding. It turned out that the neighbor’s wife had asked her brother to pick up the dog, take the keys of the house from the neighbor, and take over, but he had never done it.

While we can blame the missing brother for the misunderstanding the original couple should have really followed up to ensure it had been taken care of. In the end, they asked the house-sitter if he would like to keep the dogs as they had been with him so long and agreed to pay for any expenses he had incurred over the last year. A strange tale with a strange ending. While we can’t call it a happy ending it is good to see that no one was hurt and that it isn’t going to be the next true-crime documentary on Netflix. Although who knows, maybe if you help your neighbor something even worse could happen and you could be?

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