It’s all about the community

Moe and Mia
Our wonderful community will help these cuties find a new home. Moe and Mia will be available for adoption (via Chicago Canine Rescue) at our Come for the Pets, Stay for the Tech event on Tuesday, July 11, at 1871 Chicago. 

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

First off, thank you for the outpouring of love for my girl Whisper’s passing. Your emails, Facebook notes, texts, calls, cards, flowers, and gifts will be forever remembered by me and my family. I have said it before, and I will say it again. – I love the pet industry and feel gratitude every day I get to work in this community.

Which brings me to my next point: the three things I appreciate and cherish most about the pet industry are: the people, the innovation, and the passion. And it seems that every day I see more and more of all three things, all wrapped in one gorgeous package of community.

To that point, here’s a lovely blog about some of the ways we have created a pet+tech community here in Chicago. And, by the way, out of our 158 current investors, 80% of the investment has come from you, my community.

I want to challenge, remind, and/or inspire you to think about our industry as a community because in a community all the best things happen.

But you already knew that. 🙂

Together,
JM Sig copy

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republic invest info drop shadow
Campaign ends July 14 ! Learn more – and invest – here:  https://republic.co/fetchfind

We’re on a mission from Dog

Republic Fetchfind beagle no shadow

We’re on Day 10 of our equity crowdfunding campaign raising $750K in capital. 

We are building FetchFind for pets and the people who love and care for them, so we want to open up the investment opportunity to more than just traditional, accredited investors. We want to grow our company with AND alongside the people who wholly understand the emotional connection between some 80 million US households and their collective 200 million pets. 

Equity crowdfunding has been made possible only recently under new laws, and it’s exciting to be part of this leap forward in democratizing the startup investment market. Republic, a spinoff out of AngelList, is hosting our campaign where anyone can invest as little as $50 in exchange for a part of our company.

I’m thrilled to say our funding is going strong, and picking up even more steam as our investors tell their friends and colleagues, who then tell THEIR friends and colleagues, and so on. The power of a crowd is truly amazing.

The power of one can be just as amazing. A recent investor, Jason Feldman of Chicago Pet-Friendly Real Estate, asked that the FetchFind Monthly Pro subscription he received as a perk be donated to a new business or animal rescue organization. (Because that’s how Jason rolls; if you don’t know him, you should. He’s a real mensch.)

For investors who are already in the pet space, this is pretty valuable perk (and a great way to onboard and educate your employees.) But if you or your friends/colleagues aren’t in the pet industry or super-interested in the online education, the FetchFind Monthly Pro subscription is a transferrable asset, and a wonderful way to give back to local businesses and the animal rescue community.

If you’d like to become part of the future of quality pet care, join us as an investor.  We’d love to welcome you to the FetchFind family.

If you can’t invest right now, please consider helping us to spread the word by sharing the link: https://republic.co/fetchfind.

With great appreciation and love,

JM Sig copy

Jamie Migdal
CEO, FetchFind

Always be innovating: 8 things we loved at P3

By Lynda Lobo, CPDT-KA

We had an awesome, productive time at the first Progressive Pet Products (P3) show in Chicago this week. This is the short list of the stuff we loved:

mine_food_mat_720The Original Mine Pet Platter  
What we loved about it: This product looks like a cutting board upon first glance… and in some ways it is! Especially awesome for people who feed their pets homemade, canned or raw, the Mine Pet Platter serves as a prep and feeding tool. The crevices and texture keeps food from spilling on the floor and creates a mind game for pets. The material is recyclable, sustainable, super tough and made in the USA. The platter is designed to replicate the way canines and felines would naturally and instinctively eat in the wild. Dogs will slow down and enjoy the puzzle of the meal, and cats love to lick at their food while the flat surface avoids whisker fatigue. We were blown away by the quality and extensive research that went into this brand new product!

surfProject Blue Collar 
What we loved about it: We all have rescue pets, we love rescue stories and everyone loves to share their rescue story. Project Blue Collar gets that. Not only are the collars and leashes super cute, but they donate one for every purchase. After talking to the incredible Carole Feeny and Kristin Waters for mere minutes, it was obvious how deeply they care about animals and their cause. Surf (my dog! pictured right) is loving his new swag! Pretty soon every FetchFind office dog will be sporting an adorable “I AM A RESCUE” collar!

furrfighters_720 Furrfighters LLC 
What we loved about it: Created and developed by firefighters, Furrfighters is highly effective fur remover modeled after the very gloves these heroes use on the job. We thoroughly tested these on carpet, car seats, pillows and – ready for this? – fleece. It passed all the tests! Furrfighters comes as a glove or a pocket-size. They’re biodegradable and contain no plastic or stickiness. We also loved the fact that James Rimoshytus and his crew brought 3 bags of dog fur and their fabulous east coast accents.

TW028-2TTwigo Pet ID Tags 
What we loved about it: Soft, flexible and stylish, Twigo Pet Tags are made of a durable and safe silicone, and they come in a variety of colors and styles. Here’s the best thing: use the special pen included with your tag to customize the information however you like! After you write your information on the tag, simply boil to seal it permanently and you’re good to go! Twigo also makes covers for metal tags so your information stays intact. No more jingling!

3d_box_sdwCheckUp Kit 
What we loved about it: When we saw this in the New Products area, it looked like regular litter with glass beads on top. When we touched the beads we realized it was water! This kit features hydrophobic (aka impenetrable-by-liquid) litter that keeps liquid right on the top so it can easily be collected by the included dropper. The testing strips allow you to monitor your pet’s health at home via easy, non-invasive urine collection. There’s a kit specific to dogs as well. Use as directed by your vet to avoid unnecessary trips to the clinic!

WhiskerWhiskerDocs 
What we loved about it: Has your pet ever eaten something questionable? Have you rushed to the emergency vet only to find out what your pet got into at 4AM wasn’t toxic after all? WhiskerDocs is the first ever 24-hour pet help line available via phone, email or live chat. Log on with the app or computer and you’ll be connected to a vet tech or veterinarian to help you figure out if you need to seek veterinary attention or not. You can also browse their extensive library of pet health information and store your own veterinary information. If you do need to get help for your pet, you’ll be directed to a local facility that can help. We love this necessary and innovative new service!

social_snacks_Social Snacks  
What we loved about it: Video is such an effective and important engagement tool for businesses, and it’s becoming an indispensable part of any successful company. Not sure how to incorporate video into your social media marketing plan? Social Snacks will do all the work for you! By subscribing to Social Snacks, you get 5 snack-sized, pet-related videos to post on your own social network EVERY WEEK. Simply add your logo and/or a call to action at the end, and you’ll get all the credit for the inevitable likes, comments and shares. You’re sure to see a huge social media boost. So easy!

WiPINWomen in the Pet Industry Network
What we loved about it: Women face very different challenges across many industries, and the pet industry is no exception. No one understands that more than Women in the Pet Industry Network and their founder, Shawna Schuh. Membership gets you valuable resources, industry discounts, leadership development, extensive networking and more! Our favorite thing about WIPIN is their commitment to keeping their membership valuable and offering unique benefits to members that evolve right along with the industry. Jamie Migdal (our CEO) has been a member of WIPIN for years and we just adore them!

And last but not least, Candace D’Agnolo of Dogaholics gave FetchFind a shout out as a Recommended Resource during her presentation!

candace 3

Pet tech: apps and gear I’m loving right now

dogBy Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

You all know how I love my tech stuff, and it makes me super-happy to see the increasing intersection between the pet industry and technology. Some of the stuff I’m really digging right now are below:

Be prepared for emergencies with this Red Cross Pet First Aid app. It’s like having a vet tech in your pocket. I recommend this to everyone who works with pets for a living. For Android and iOS.

Make sure your pet gets fed (and even medicated) on schedule with an electronic pet feeder. I think this is a much better solution than free-grazing your pets if you’re gone a lot during the day.

No more toilet water! This isn’t high-tech, but if you have a face-licking dog who loves drinking out of that bowl when you’re not looking, or a cat that only drinks from a running faucet, a water fountain is just the thing!

If you want to adopt a pet, check out Woof App. Mark Wade, CEO and Founder, created this fun and elegant app that allows you to search across multiples shelters and rescues, as well as sort by breed, gender, age, size range, and behavior notes. For Android and iOS.

Learn more about the Woof App here. 

If you’re looking to rehome a pet, you can’t go wrong with Pose-a-Pet. Jennifer Whaley, of Fetch Portraits, started this app as a natural extension of her work photographing rescue pets. Pose-a-Pet also helps bring new revenue streams to rescuers through their 50/50 Shelter Share Program. For Android and iOS.

Bonus: listen to my podcast with Jennifer Whaley on Pets Mean Business.

This falls under the category of “I shouldn’t be laughing so hard, but I am”.  I have friends who swear by the Roomba for keeping pet hair and dander to a minimum, but I can’t resist sharing this article about one of the possible pitfalls of automatic vacuuming. Can you say “Poopocalypse”?

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What pet tech are you loving these days?

 

 

 

 

I lost my dog – twice

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

I lost Sam twice. In 1991 he was stolen from my yard and in 1999 he ran away while my house was burning down. Both times, I got him back.

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After Sam was missing for three weeks in 1991, a woman showed up on my doorstep on a Sunday morning with my little Sam, then only 5 months old, in her arms. As she explained, one of the neighborhood (Lakeview in Chicago for those who know that area) gangbangers broke into our very well-locked six foot wooden privacy fenced backyard. From her I learned they saw Sam on walks and targeted him as a very expensive Doberman Pinscher puppy. They were scoping out our yard nightly and waited until he was outside alone.

She explained that she had horrible guilt from seeing the missing pet signs all over the block and wanted to do the right thing. She also shared “my boyfriend is getting frustrated that the puppy isn’t growing and so maybe he ain’t a Doberman after all” (gee, ya think?) So there she was, assuaging her guilt, breaking bad on her cretin of a boyfriend and giving me a second chance at what turned out to be a wonderful dog for me for the next 16 years.

I’ll save the fire story for another time. Now go check on your dog in the yard please.

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findingrover.comIf I had to make a list of “Top Ten Horrible Things That Can Happen to Pet Owners”, having a pet go missing would be right there at the top (as I obviously know from experience).  It’s an awful, awful feeling – Rover slips his collar during a walk, Fluffy wiggles out through a loose screen, or Polly flies away because you forgot she was out of the cage when you answered the door. Lost pet statistics are pretty grim – one in three pets will go missing in his or her lifetime. (And more pets go missing on the 4th of July than at any other time – no surprise there.)

In those first few frantic hours after a pet goes missing, it can be tough to focus on what needs to be done. However, having a plan of action set up in advance will make things a lot easier.

Get a description and photo out on social media as soon as possible.  Include the pet’s last known location, your contact info, distinguishing characteristics, and behavior notes (friendly, do not approach, fearful, likes peanuts, etc) in the description. Ask your friends to share far and wide; sometimes the sighting report that comes from the friend of a friend of a colleague five times removed is the info that will bring your pet home.

You can find any number of lost pet flyer templates online. Fill one out in advance for all of your pets, so that you don’t have to search for the right picture after they go missing.

Post info on lost pet boards and apps.  There are lots of apps out there for missing pets: ASPCA, Lost Pet USA (and/or your local version of Lost Pet), and various iOS and Android apps. Find one that has good coverage, is easy to use, and that will work on your phone. Stash a photo and important info on your phone (or email it to yourself) so that you can create an alert on the fly.

Apps like PiP and Finding Rover use facial recognition software to help identify lost pets. If your pet is listed with a microchip registration or lost pet service like PetHub*,  PetKey, 24PetWatch, HomeAgain, or Figo, activate an alert there as well.

Paper the neighborhood.  Don’t discount the effectiveness of old-school paper flyers posted or handed out at dog parks, dog runs, shelters, intersections, vet offices, retail outlets, trees, lamp posts, and schools. Ask your friends and family to help you cover as much territory as possible, spreading out in concentric circles from the last known sighting.

Check with animal control or local shelters.  Your pet may picked up as a stray or turned in by someone in the neighborhood. Call or visit all of the shelters or facilities in your area on a daily basis until your pet is found. If there are no shelters or rescues near your home, contact a non-emergency number for your local police.

Ask for help! Pull in all those favors and trot out the emotional blackmail if necessary. You can’t mount a successful search without help; the more people who participate in the search, the more likely it is your pet will make it home.

Gather all of your information in advance and put it in one place.

  • Photo, description, microchip and tag info
  • A lost pet template, with basic info already included
  • List of lost pet websites and apps, with your login info
  • Contact info for police, shelters, and animal control facilities
  • Contact info for all of the friends who can help you search
  • List of places where you can post flyers (vets, stores, dog parks, etc.)

Give all of this info to your dog walking/pet sitting service, along with instructions for deployment in your absence.

Prevention is your best weapon. A good solid recall can save you a lot of heartache. And, yes – cats and birds can be taught recall commands as well! Clicker training is a wonderful thing.

And, most importantly – get your pets microchipped, tagged, and registered, and keep that information up to date at all times.

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*The award-winning PetHub is the driving force behind Lost Pet Prevention Month; read their story and register your pets here.

Top 5 Must-Have Apps for Dog Walkers


By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

When I started my first business, Out-U-Go, in 1995, we did just about everything on paper. It wasn’t all that common to even have a cell phone, back in the day. (It was a very long time ago.) Those of us who did have one of those fancy StarTAC phones tended to keep emergency numbers on a piece of paper taped to the back, because you could only store ten numbers in the speed dial list.

Now, of course, we’re spoiled for choice in the mobile phone and app department. I can’t help you choose the right hardware, but I can direct you to a few apps and bookmarks that I find particularly helpful (and not just for professional dog walkers).

Pet First Aid – The American Red Cross Pet First Aid app is my favorite; it’s pretty comprehensive and well-organized, and has sections for both cats and dogs. (Available on Google Play and iTunes.)

Hazardous Substances – The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center app is your best bet here. It has listings for dogs, cats, horses, and birds. (Available on Google Play and iTunes.)

Vet Locator – I don’t really like the vet locator apps for either iOS or Android. I do like the MyPet.com website quite a bit, and keep that one bookmarked.  VetLocator.com and WebVet.com are also pretty good.

Pet-Friendly – Find the nearest pet-friendly venues with BringFido, the #1 pet travel site on the internet (app available on iTunes). Android users, bookmark the website.  Don’t forget Yelp and Foursquare when searching for pet-friendly restaurants, pubs, and stores.

Lost Pets – Be prepared and set up pictures and info for all of your canine clients in your phone in advance. If the unthinkable happens and a dog does go missing, you’ll have all the information ready to deploy on Finding Rover. (Available on Google Play and iTunes.) Note: I like the facial recognition feature on Finding Rover, but depending on your location and even the age of your phone, you might get better coverage and functionality with a different lost pet app. There are a lot of options for both Android and iOS, and most are free, so try a few and see which ones work best for you.

And in the “Not Necessary But Fun to Have” category:

Dog Breeds – Because who doesn’t love a good game of “What Kind of Dog is That?” Download Petsie on Google Play and Dog Breeds A-Z on iTunes. Or skip the apps altogether and bookmark the AKC’s Breeds section.

What are your must-have pet apps?

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Do you have a fully-stocked Dog Walker’s Toolkit? Check out our recommendations on FetchFind Monthly Pro!