Thursday, September 21, 2006

Kennel webcams

Did you have a miserable time on holiday this year because you were worried about how Fido or Spot was getting on back in the kennels? Leaving the cherished pet behind can be a real problem for devoted owners, but now your worries are over.

In a move likely to become standard in no time at all, one up-to-date kennel in County Antrim has found a way to keep pets and their owners in touch across the miles. The kennel has some special features, including heated flooring and ambiance music.

However, it provides an even more unusual service for its clients - a webcam.

The Maguire family is just back from holiday and while they did not like leaving their pet behind, they were able to see him every day. Thanks to a series of web-cameras, the dogs can be monitored night or day.

All their owners need to do is find an internet café and log on to the website.

Proprietor David McQuillan said the webcam link was used by many people using kennels for the first time.

"To be able to have the reassurance of seeing their pet, even though they can't actually pet it or feed it, to be able to even see it and see that it's happy, content and relaxed puts their mind at ease."

Maura Maguire said the webcam system had "become an essential ingredient" of the family's holidays when their dog, Paddy, was put in the boarding kennel.

"Every day, when we are away on holidays - Paddy's usually up here about four times a year - we access the website, my husband certainly more than me. He tells me how well Paddy is. I don't want to look at him in case it makes me homesick."

While the "pet-cam system" is only available for dogs at the moment, the owners hope to extend it to include all pets, including cats and birds in the near future.

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