The Missing Pet Epidemic

Missing Dog Poster

Written by Arrian Lim

Co-founded Pawdel to be at the forefront of this crazy emerging trend of pet humanization by creating wearable pieces of love for our pet companion.

03/02/2022

Why do pet owners love personalizing their dog’s collars?

This is a question we never bothered to find the answer to in the past 3 years we’ve been personalizing collars and name tags. All we knew was that pet owners love putting their furbaby’s names on their collars.

In 2019, 6 months into our brand’s existence, we discovered that over 70% of our website traffic looking for dog collars were searching for name customization. In fact, over 60% were looking for personalization on the collar itself! The market reality was undeniable. We weren’t supposed to sell leather or fashionable dog collars. We should be selling name customization that just so happens to be on leather dog collars!

 

Search Queries
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Customers buy our Collars for their pets’ names.

 

This was the first big break of Pawdel. As soon as we personalized our first AlphaTag in 2019, the overwhelming response of pet owners validated our “aha! moment”.

The more names we put on our AlphaCollars and AlphaTags, the more information we kept receiving as a request to deboss on their pet’s collar or name tag.

Name? Check.
Mobile number? Check.

Then we started receiving all these other unusual personalization requests such as a street address, email address, motto, surname, birthday, Instagram handle, Bible verse, some weird numeric combination, and then finally, our next “aha! moment”, profile picture!

Digitizing Pet Collars

We realized all these PawParents wanted to put as much information on their pet’s collar precisely because our humanized pet companions cannot speak. Our AlphaCollars and AlphaTags were meant to connect with people, for better or for the worst of times — when they go missing. We thought of many ways to pack as much information in their collar. The only way we could do it was to embed a tiny microchip. That’s when we started developing the next iteration of our AlphaCollar. We tested it in full secrecy under real-life conditions. The microchip still works up to this day. More than a year into its stress test.

 

Borderless Ecommerce
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Pawdel’s borderless commercial distribution channels.

 

2021 was another year that challenged us. Our global borderless e-commerce strategy was being put to test. Our artisanal and manual customization process was facing steep transferability of knowledge and inconsistency. Our fully scalable borderless commercial distribution network is being limited with our painstaking personalization process. That’s when we stepped up the development of our “digital collars”. It’s worth noting here that this was purely commercially driven.

 

In the age of connectivity and biochips, pets still go missing, never to be reconnected with the only companion they’re loyal to… Sadly, less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners.

 

The Missing Pet Recovery Cycle Remains Unsolved

 

1 out of 3 pets is reported missing
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1 out of 3 pets is reported missing at least once in their lifetime according to estimates of American Humane Association

 

As we went deeper into our market research, it was only during this time around did we discover that 14% of dogs and 15% of cats went missing once in a five-year period [1]. We couldn’t believe our eyes. Of the thousands of collars and name tags we built, it was so foolish of us not to recognize under our noses that it’s a small part we’re playing in battling the Missing Pet Epidemic. I challenge all of you to look around. Especially if your news feed on social media is pet-centered. You will always encounter another case of a missing pet and a helpless pet parent. Writing their message of a plea, desperate to do and pay for anything, just for the safe return of their pet. Sadly, less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners [2].

 

The callouts on social media for their missing pets
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The call-outs on social media for their missing pets.

 

But how could this be happening? In the age of connectivity and biochips, pets still go missing, never to be reconnected with the only companion they’re loyal to. I cannot imagine my own dogs being lonely in the streets and crying their hearts out not to be heard by their PawDad and PawMom. Think about it, it’s a more torturous predicament than a quick death. I call it the missing pet purgatory. Neither found nor dead, hungry and thirsty.

 

The Missing Pet Recovery Cycle
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The Missing Pet Recovery Cycle ™

 

I cannot imagine my own dogs being lonely in the streets and crying their hearts out not to be heard by their PawDad and PawMom. Think about it, it’s a more torturous predicament than a quick death. I call it the missing pet purgatory. Neither found nor dead, hungry and thirsty.

 

It only goes to show the Missing Pet Epidemic is an underserved social issue. There is clearly a need for first-line pet identification. A first-line identification doesn’t just accelerate the recovery of missing pets. It also solves a bigger problem of decelerating the overcrowding of animal shelters and animal impounding centers.

And then the missing pet epidemic became more personal. It struck closer to home. It isn’t just a social issue with nameless faces. My co-founding PawMom’s mother lost her adopted Aspin in Baguio City six weeks ago. She was crying out for help on Facebook for the safe return of her dog. She never came back to her hooman nor to her nursing puppies. The Missing Pet Epidemic is real. It’s not a fad. There are recognizable faces behind those statistics.

 

A first-line of identification doesn’t just accelerate the recovery of missing pets. It also solves a bigger problem of decelerating the overcrowding of animal shelters and animal impounding centers.

 

Inclusive social and economic opportunities: Democratizing the digital pet identification software

This was my epiphany. Once a purely commercial intent, I promised myself not another dog or cat should go missing in vain just because they couldn’t speak to identify themselves. By no means we are a not-for-profit organization. So our advisers and stakeholders decided to reform our initial business model and make our pet identification software available to all. We were gifted with this enterprising ability to give it back to the very same creatures who gave us a decent living. Pure-bred or not, dog or cat, rich or poor, I vowed to make our pet identification software indiscriminately available to all walks of life.

The more helpless PawParents I encounter missing their pets, I can’t help but imagine if only dogs or cats could speak. They could have easily told a stranger to call this mobile number, bring them to this home address or simply say “I’m not astray. My hooman is looking for me. Please help me find home!”

 

We were gifted with this enterprising ability to give it back to the very same creatures who gave us a decent living. Pure-bred or not, dog or cat, rich or poor, I vowed to make our pet identification software indiscriminately available to all walks of life.

 

From Wearable Pieces of Love to Wearable Tech for Pets

Many people initially perceived Pawdel to be a dog collar company. As I have narrated earlier, we’re a pet identification company that just so happens to put pets’ names on stylish and elegant dog collars and name tags. But as we already all know, pet owners want to pack as much information on their pet’s collar because a mere name alone will never bring their pet home. There has to be some sensitive personal information to connect pets with their worried owner. Pawnec is a portmanteau of Paw Connect. It’s meant to hold multiple layers of pawnectivity for a pet’s multiple chances of reconnecting with their trusted hoomans in today’s interconnected world.

 

Duke's public missing profile on Pawnec
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Duke’s public missing profile on Pawnec

 

We built Pawnec to connect pets and people. It’s our new pet tech software to nurture the silent yet humanized relationship between pets and people. Paradoxically, our commercial intent to nurture that relationship evolved this company from a wearable piece of love for pets to wearable tech for pets.

 

Paradoxically, our commercial intent to nurture that relationship evolved this company from a wearable piece of love for pets to wearable tech for pets.

 

While the next iterations of our AlphaCollars and AlphaTags will be powered by Pawnec, I am fully aware that only a few will ever buy our AlphaCollars and AlphaTags. We tried the best way we could to keep Pawnec as affordable as we can within the confines of our own design philosophy. The answer to that is eco-sustainable wooden name tags engraved with a QR code and embedded with a microchip. We call this the EcoTag. This is the most affordable we can offer our Pawnec-powered pet name tag at Php 350.00. Packed with all the essentials of modern pet identification.

 

 

That’s why we invite all pet care entrepreneurs to discover Pawnec for their own use cases. There are so many ways to engrave QR codes or embed microchips. Talk to us so we can empower you to be part of the solution.

Pawnec isn’t just a pet ID software. To give you a hint of its endless possibilities, we’ll develop the technology to escrow a “missing pet monetary reward”. Any good samaritan who safely returns a missing Pawnec-ted pet and politely declines the monetary reward can still act in higher goodwill by donating that money instead to a partner animal shelter with just a tap of a button. This is just a fraction of virtually limitless things Pawnec can do to connect pets and people. For the greater welfare of our dogs and cats.

 


 

Are you interested to Pawnec pets and people?

Talk to us if you’re…

1.) A pet owner who lost a dog or cat at least once in their lifetime, we’d be happy to put you on the waitlist so you can pre-order your pet’s EcoTag and receive it in advance. Reserve your Pawnec-powered accessory here. But if you know another pet owner who once lost a dog or a cat, share this news with them, it doesn’t hurt to have multiple layers of pet identification.

2.) A pet supplies store retailer. Here is your chance to add another new-category shaping wearable tech product for pets in your store. You no longer need a concessionaire to personalize pet name tags for you. Tell us more about your store and we’ll send you a proposal.

3.) A pet accessory hobbyist crafting in small batches; we couldn’t care less if you sell leather collars, nylon collars, or uniquely handcrafted name tags, you are free to adapt our software and digitize your business. Tell us more about your personalization capabilities in this link and we’ll give you options.

4.) A volunteer in an animal shelter. Please help us understand your organization and your practices. We need your expert advice on how we can refine our technology to systematically decelerate the overcrowding of your facilities and securely donate our escrowed monetary rewards. We’d love to consult you at this link.

 

Venn Diagram
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Let us all play our part in ending the missing pet epidemic. Improving animal welfare is part of nation-building. Share this news or get in touch with us by clicking the links we provided directly above. Let’s accelerate the recovery of missing pets so no other dog or cat will go missing again without a chance of recovery. They don’t deserve it in today’s interconnected world.

 


 

Resource:
[1] ASPCA in 2010 (Weiss et al. 2012)
[2] American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Pet Statistics.”

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