While the Pet Parents Are Away …
As Kona’s pet parents we have been known to wander off on a “vacation” and feel, much against our will mind you, that she needs to be left behind. Lucky for both Kona and us, we have a great petsitter available — he’s been a friend of ours for years and likes to house sit and loves Kona too.
Still, we need to set some ground rules and have special instructions. While Kona’s colitis is not the most serious disease in the world — it needs to be monitored and there are specific things to look for, changes in her diet, looking for signals to see if she should take her meds (metronidazole — when she has poop symptoms that demand it), symptoms that require her to see the vet.
Also — just because we are away — we still want to feel engaged somehow — to know she’s OK, see she’s happy.
Historically -we’d leave a sheet of paper with specific instructions. We’d ask for an email of a picture every now and then. We’d leave her meds somewhere the sitter knows about. The sheet of paper would have all the numbers/addresses for the vet. We also left info for the daycare if the sitter needed to drop Kona for a day.
Recently my wife and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary with a trip to Hawaii — two weeks leaving Kona behind! Yes — we left Kona to visit Kona — the city on the Big Island (which is what inspired naming our dog Kona — we thought of the dog’s name years ago when visiting the Place of Refuge — loved the place, my wife loves Kona coffee — Kona was coffee colored as a puppy — all these reasons, but that’s another story for another time — though I did just tell it so I guess it’s the story for right now).
Anyway… historically we’d keep notes in separate places or for different people. We’d need a second note for daycare or overnight places. The sitter would need to watch and sometimes record Kona’s symptoms/behavior. He would leave a voicemail or we’d have an email exchange.
Our Pet Children Can Play
But Well Informed Pet was born — originally to have Kona’s records in one place for when we traveled with her to another town if we needed to visit a new veterinarian. But this app worked really well for our sitter.
- We had all our notes in a file which we shared within the app — for our sitter, our daycare — everyone has access to all Kona’s info — based on who I decide to view it.
- We had Kona’s medical history showing when her colitis symptoms showed up and for how long it lasted. So, if my sitter went to the vet — he’d have access to this history which he wasn’t around for.
- It happens Kona DID develop some not so good colitis symptoms when we were away. Our sitter asked if he should apply the meds in a conversation within the app (therefore this history is stored forever, not lost in an email). I was able to say that if the symptoms didn’t get better for a couple of days — use the meds.
- All this back and forth gave my wife and I peace of mind — it wasn’t requiring a lot of effort, no live webcam access, no wearable technology — simple records stored forever.
- Kona’s health certificate was uploaded to the app so the sitter was able to share that with daycare when asked. The file wasn’t lost somewhere in my desktop — it was in the cloud.
- On top of it all, our sitter would post a photo or video of the day so when we finished our touristy days in Hawaii, we got a treat for ourselves — a picture / video of Kona and we knew things were fine with her. If it wasn’t — I would have gotten updates in the app too.
I know I’m tooting my own Well Informed Pet horn here, but I hope it’s useful to know more about how this software works for our everyday world — we created the product with Kona in mind and we use it regularly. So does our sitter, our trainer, our groomer, our friends, our parents. We all know and care about Kona and we all see what’s happening with her. So we all feel better knowing Kona is taken care of the best way possible at all times.
I’d imagine petsitters can all use this tool to share with their customers and provide a bit better touch/care for the dog and their customers. I bet people will love this access and this permanent history.