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Pet Blog: Watching Your Pet While Away

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(credit: Danielle Dostal)

(credit: Danielle Dostal)

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Most people can’t take their pets to work with them. There are exceptions, of course, like K-9 handlers, pet groomers, dog sitters, vapid socialites.

But for the rest of us, those six to 10 hours away from home can be stressful, especially for the pets.

WCCO did a story in January on a Burnsville-based company that created a wall-mounted camera/video/motion-sensor device called PetChatz, which can even remotely dispense treats.

There are other, food-free options out there to keep an eye on your furry loved ones. I tracked down three pet lovers who, coincidentally, each use the same product: the Belkin Netcam.

Retailing for about $100, the device allows you to stream video and audio live through your smartphone with an iPhone or Android app. It also has a motion-detection setting, which will send an email with two photos whenever it senses movement.

Erin Watson and her husband have a one-eyed black pug named Polly, 10, as well as two cats named Izzy and Millie. They also have several fish and a human baby on the way.

Erin Watson & Her Pug(credit: Erin Watson)

Danielle Dostal has a 13-year-old fawn pug named Jade, as well as a 13-year-old Maine Coon cat named Elvis.

Danielle Dostal & Her Pug(credit: Danielle Dostal)

And Mitch Colanino and his fiancé have two American shorthair cats named Sam, 6, and Sylis, 3.

Mitch Colanino(credit: Mitch Colanino)

Both Erin and Danielle say they got the cameras more out of curiosity than to monitor bad behavior. But Mitch says his purchase was partially due to the preservation of a seasonal household item that seems irresistible to most cats.

“We were worried about our Christmas tree while we were at work, and with the camera we were able to make sure our cats did not do anything to the tree or anything else in the house for that matter,” Mitch said.

But just what do these little guys do all day?

“I was really surprised that all she did was sleep,” Danielle said. “The few times she was active were fun to watch, because she was usually watching something out the window and barking at it.”

Erin Watson's Pets(credit: Erin Watson)

Erin says her pug also naps most of the day, but the camera has caught one of her pets being quite stereotypical.

“We did find out that our cat, Millie, spends a lot of time jumping up on the fish tank and tormenting the fish,” she said.

And Danielle says the device has been invaluable for providing peace of mind while away from a sick pet.

“Jade has been pretty ill recently, and I have been utilizing the netcam to monitor her illness during my absence from the house,” Danielle said.

All three say they love having this sneaky window into the people-free lives of their stay-at-home friends.

~Stephen Swanson

From pit bulls to pet rocks, Pet Blog covers it all. If you have a great animal companion story or a pet-related event that deserves a spotlight, email sdswanson@wcco.com.

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