Hi, I’m Gavin CEO of TechThrive. Pet tracking for me isn’t about a fancy product with an expensive brochure… It’s a passion, because my cats are very important members of my family.
The bond with our pets is incredibly strong. We love our pets and they love us unconditionally. It is very traumatic when our pets get lost! They have no way to communicate with you, you don’t know if they’re safe and you can’t find them.
In 2015 one of my cats (Jag) went missing, and I was frantic. I looked everywhere and tried everything – flyers, knocking on doors, searching the streets, you name it. I was terrified thinking of what could have happened to him, and not being able to do anything about it was horrible.
I was lucky (sort of) as he was found a few weeks later, nearly 1km from my house. The kind person who found him nursed back to health and took him to the vet for a check-up. He was chipped, so then they were able to find me and finally reunite us
That day I stated looking for my first pet tracker. I found a simple Bluetooth unit that cost about R5000, imported from the UK. I felt relieved, expecting that if he got lost again, I would be able to find him. Except that he did get lost again, and I couldn’t find him. Even more traumatic!
The short range of the tracker made it hard to pinpoint a search location, so I ended up searching the same way I had the first time. This time I was really lucky, and he came back a few days later on his own – acting like nothing was wrong, of course, but was getting impatient about his dinner.
That was when I knew I needed to find a better solution. I looked around at what was being used in different circumstances, and figured out that GPS co-ordinates and an internet connection were the basis of what I needed.
In 2018 I found some repurposed smart watches, which I bought and used very successfully on my cats. They’ve been on a few long walks and adventures, but each time I was able to track their real-time location to start searching. Following these experiments, I have brought together the optimum combination of hardware and functionality in PetProTech.
Recently, another of my cats decided to visit a neighbour shortly after moving house. They had a high wall and a dog so he had hidden under their house. The real power of the tracker was clear in this situation – I was able to see that he was in a location I I didn’t expect and may not have checked otherwise. But now I could see where that was and find a way to get him out. We scattered some litter and food in the area which guided him to safety, and at 5am he came to bump noses.
I wanted to share this story because pet tracking isn’t just a business opportunity. For me, it’s about a deep love for pets and an understanding of how important they are. It’s a way for me to share my own personal knowledge of how I keep my pets safe with fellow pet lovers. I really hope I can help ease the stress and heartache of a lost pet, or even the fear of that pet going missing. I want to be part of protecting the pets we so dearly love.