Fur-veillance: Play I Spy On Your Pet
Ever wonder what your dog does when you’re out of the house?
It’s a question every dog owner asks themselves; I wonder what my dog does all day at home when I’m out?
Even the signs of destruction and chaos in the form of chewed shoes and a hole in the couch can only have you guessing about the timeframe during which this demolition derby took place. But what if everything looks normal and Fido actually has a secret life and is tunneling out under the fence and spending the day with the neighbours pooch, relying on his canine radar to alerts him to when you’re on the way home so that he’s standing at the front door wagging his tail as key turns in the lock?
Well ponder no more. These days, the latest furveillance equipment allows us to play I Spy on our pets.
Simple home surveillance technology teamed up with the internet means that silent roving electronic eyes give you access to your living room, Fido’s doggy day care facility, his spaw, the pet resort and even the vet’s office to keep track. No matter where you are in the world all it takes is a password and a couple of clicks of technology and you can be rubbing noses with your pooch on a computer screen, PDA or mobile phone.
Actually all that’s happened is that enterprising electronic companies have taken existing surveillance technology and re-packaged it to give besotted pet parents peace of mind and take the guesswork out of how Fido is spending his day. Whether silent wireless eyes are scanning property, watching how the babysitter is treating her charges or tracking Fido’s game plan, the technology is the same. If you Google “pet cam”, around 211 000 options will pop up in under 23 seconds telling you how to go about buying and installing this latest fad. It can cost you anything from $100 to $1500 – and more to snoop.
“Some of these home surveillance systems so simple you can install them yourself in a couple of hours, ”says Steve McNeal, vice president of Sales for AMA Security, an American based company with well-stocked internet store serving customers worldwide from their website.
“One camera, even though it pans a room can be a bit limiting. Most people opt for between two and four cameras. And if you want to record the camera activity you can hook it up to a DVR.”
Another advantage of this wonderful remote control technology is that if you are working late you can switch on the lights to ensure that your pets are home alone in the dark.
“I travel a lot and even though my husband is there to look after our West Highland Terrier named Jake, I miss him and like to be able to check in on him,” says Roberta Baleson of Toronto. “Also I’ve always wondered what he does when I phone home and leave a message on the answering machine. And if he’s sleeping he will perk up at the sound of my voice but he’s clever enough to know that I am not actually there.”
“When people book accommodation for their pets when they go on holiday, many actually request one of our themed suites that have a webcam so that they check in on their pets from wherever they are,” says Iain McIver of the Santana Kennels Pet Resort and More in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “People check in on their pets from around the world. We had an incident there two pets were fighting over the food bowl and one of our employees and to referee the situation. Moment later the dogs’ owner called in from California to thank us for sorting it out. We also get calls asking us to adjust the cameras range a bit so they can see their doing snoozing in a particular corner. Our web cams are equipped with night vision too.”
The themed suites such as the fire station and the barn with their magnificent murals lead out into private dog runs. Some have a view of an adjacent field and their occupants can watch deer and rabbit that inhabit the area. They are so popular that often some regular customers make their travel plans around when a particular suite is available for their pet.
“Our system also has voice recognition,” says McIver “which means that owners can call in and speak to their pets too. Of course if their people have a webcam on their side they can watch their owners too.”
From pet resorts to spaws and day care facilities, silent eyes are being installed everywhere to give besotted pet parents peace of mind.
“I like to check in my dogs at day care and see what they are doing. It’s fun to see them form friendships with other dogs and play together.”
Ridge Veterinary Services in Medicine Hat has had pet cams in place for a number of years.
Our doctors and nursing staff use them to keep check from remote access points,” explains veterinarian Dr. Kent Fruson. “Also it gives our clients the opportunity to view their pets undergoing various treatments including surgery and to keep an eye on them to see how they are during in post operative care. We give each client a username and a password applicable for each visit. We also have webcams set up in our pet suites allowing owners to once again check when while they are on vacation.”
Checking in your pet at home or at the vet is one thing, but if you really want to see what goes on from the true canine perspective, then you’re going to have to go one step beyond basic furveillance and install a pet cam on your dog’s collar. This invention from German inventor Jurgen Perthold consists of a very lightweight camera that takes a photograph every minute for up to 48 hours and weights on 2.5 oz includes batteries and is now available for sale via the Internet and costs around $60 US.
Initially Perthold designed his invention to keep track of his cat Mr. Lee only to discover that not only does his feline have a secret life outside the home but he has a girlfriend that he meets up with every day!
All this technology which also includes pet cell phones and GPS locators that fit onto the collar is fine until your dog learns to remove his own collar for a little privacy and some peace and quiet …
Recently Panasonic took a simple web cam and labeled it a pet cam and launched a website where people can share candid videos of their pets. Check outwww.MyPetCam.com. Of course there’s always U-tube.
This article is from Dogs in Canada