Ever wondered what would happen to your pets if something unexpected happened to you? I’m a born worrier, so this question is a no-brainer for me – yes, I worry about that. It’s upsetting to think that my dogs and fish won’t be cared for should I have an accident or otherwise be unable to tend to them in the case of an emergency.
No matter what type of pet you have, it needs care and attention. But what if something makes you late getting home, or there’s an emergency and you won’t be able to come home at all? What if you can’t even communicate to your circle of friends and family that your pet needs your care?
Enter CheckMyPets.com. The service this website offers ends worry for worriers like me.
I remember what happened to pets when 9/11 happened here in NYC. People who lived below 14th Street (hundreds of thousands of people) were not allowed to cross a barricade to go home. People who said that they had to retrieve a dog were allowed to go with a police officer and had five minutes to retrieve the dog. If they had a cat, bird, fish, or other animal, they were not allowed to cross the barricade. People who lived closer to the 9/11 site weren’t allowed to retrieve their dogs at all.
I think about this sometimes because my apartment in NYC is very close to Times Square. I think about what would happen to my animals should I be prevented from returning home. This is why I have two neighbors who are authorized to enter my apartment and care for my pets. On 9/11, cell phones didn’t work across NYC because the cell towers had been on top of the World Trade Center. What if I couldn’t reach my neighbors to ask them to tend to my animals because my phone wasn’t working? CheckMyPets.com can reach out to my helpers for me.
CheckMyPets.com is a simple safety net for those who would like to take one more worry off of their worry plate. There are enough things in the world to worry about, so being able to remove one burden is a huge relief.
Basically, here’s how CheckMyPets.com works:
- You invite people who have access to your pets to join your CheckMyPets page. It’s as simple as sending them an email and them clicking a button to accept.
- You enter your pets’ information and photo, along with all of your pets’ care requirements.
- You choose a time (set a “task") when your dog is to be walked, or cat or fish fed – whatever tasks need to be done daily to ensure the health and survival of your pet. You can add as many pets as you like and choose days along with times (for example, if a pet only needs to be fed twice a week).
- You will get an email prior to the task you’ve set to ask if you are going to complete it. You simply hit the button and say yes if you’re attending to the task.
- If you don’t hit the button, a timer starts (you can set the amount of time). When the time is up, an email is sent to the people you have designated for that pet – for example, you can have a dog group, a cat group, a fish group – or groups in various places where you live. A group can consist of one person, but they recommend three.
- If someone from your group is able to complete the task, say, walk your dog, he/she will hit the button in the email saying that the task will be done. There are reminder emails and fail-safes in place to ensure that the team member marks the task as done. You will receive emails saying that your pet has been cared for.
I don’t want my dogs having to wait for days, suffering with no food or walks, until someone realizes that I haven’t come home for whatever reason – and I certainly don’t want my fish to go hungry either. With CheckMyPets.com, I know that a few people will get an email if I don’t click the button on the daily email I receive from the site. I’ve set up my service so that there’s an hour and a half between the email I receive and the countdown to when my “group” receives an email, so presumably I’ll always be able to catch the initial email to indicate that my pet has been cared for.
If you just wanted an email to go out in the case of an emergency, you could set it for late in the day, maybe just before you go to bed. If your helpers receive the alert email, they will know that something has happened to you and you’re not tending to your pets for whatever reason. You never know, this service could even help a person in a medical emergency. Here’s an alert that I set – if I don’t click the email I receive by 9 pm, my helpers will get this message an hour later:
“If you are getting this email, it means that there has been an emergency on my end and my pets aren't being cared for, for whatever reason. Please check in on me and my pets. Thanks!”
I thought of another application – pet sitters. Set your tasks such that the pet sitter always receives an alert email for a walk or feeding. Sure, sending an alert doesn’t guarantee anything, but at least you’ll know that your pet sitter is alive and able to respond to an email, presumably then able to care for your pets.
CheckMyPets.com offers a little bit of peace of mind for both myself and my pets. There’s a monthly plan for $5.95 a month, or a yearly plan, which comes out to $4.95 per month, and you can cancel the yearly plan for a refund of the months you didn’t use. For me, you can’t put a price on peace of mind. Totally worth it.
From the CheckMyPets.com website:
Frequently Asked Questions:
How should I select my team members?
Firstly, you need a team of friends and family whom you trust to look after your pets. Your designated team members provide you with their email address and you provide them with a key to your home. We suggest that you create a team that is available over different periods of the day and week so that you are not totally dependent on people who may all be at work etc. when an alert is issued. We recommend a minimum of 3 team members - more is even better.
What happens if I forget to reset the timer?
If the reset time is passed and you have not reset the timer CheckMyPets will send you an email advising you to reset the system. If you do not reset it the system begins its alert process.
What type of schedule I should create?
The schedule should be tailored to your pets. For example, a dog needs to be walked and fed. Cats may only require feeding and perhaps a litter scoop. Other types of pets such as reptiles may be left a little longer before emergency care is required. You know you pet's needs best.
What if nobody responds to an alert?
We recommend that your team is big enough and their schedules are flexible enough that this is unlikely to happen although there is no guarantee. This is why it is so important that you carefully plan out you team makeup. If after an alert is issued and no one responds initially the system will restart the alert process.
Can I see who is responding to the alerts?
Your dashboard will provide details about alerts issued and who responded.
Can I have more than one schedule?
Yes. As an example, you could have one schedule for weekends and one for weekdays depending on any number of issues such as team member availability. You should have a default schedule, which will apply if you don't use one of your alternative schedules.
What happens if a team member responds to an alert then doesn't indicate they have provided the necessary care?
Once the alert has been accepted the accepting team member receives a second email which contains a link indicating that the pet situation has been attended to. If the accepting team member does not click on this link within a prescribed period CheckMyPets will send them a reminder email. If they still do not respond the alert system starts up again with alert notifications to the whole team.