Taking Fetch to a New Level
Debbie Hamill, chief marketing officer at iFetch, discusses how the company is helping dogs around the world stay healthy, happy and out of trouble with engaging play products.
Pet Business: What inspired the makers of iFetch to create a high-tech solution to the issue of keeping dogs active and out of trouble?
Debbie Hamill: Prancer, the Hamill family poodle, was the inspiration for the original iFetch ball launcher.
One afternoon, when our teenage son, Grant, was trying to do his homework at the kitchen table, Prancer kept dropping his ball at Grant’s feet, begging him to play fetch. Twenty minutes later, with Grant running out of time and Prancer as energetic as ever, Grant finally asked his grandfather, Denny, “What if we made something that could throw the ball for Prancer so I can finish my homework?” Denny thought about it for a few minutes and then said, “Why not? This could be a fun family project.” And from such simple beginnings, the iFetch was born. It has certainly kept our Prancer active and out of trouble, just as it has thousands of other dogs across the country (and around the world!).
PB: What products are offered by iFetch? What are some of the key features of each product?
Hamill: iFetch makes three products for clever, fetch-loving pups: the iFetch automatic ball launcher for small to medium dogs, the iFetch Too automatic ball launcher for bigger dogs, and the iFetch Frenzy brain game for small- to medium-sized dogs.
The iFetch automatic ball launchers provide great physical exercise for dogs both indoors and outdoors. Both feature adjustable launch distances with a touch of a button. The iFetch Too has an internal rechargeable battery, and a safety “lock” setting to limit the distance to 10 feet. The iFetch Too also features a “random” distance setting to keep your pup guessing. We think both launchers are the most well-designed, most durable launchers in the category.
Our iFetch Frenzy is the only brain game on the market that does not reward with a treat. The ball is the reward! Train your dog to drop the mini tennis ball into the top of the Frenzy and watch them scramble to fetch it as it rolls out of one of three chutes along the bottom. All of our iFetch toys provide hours of mental and physical stimulation for your dog.
PB: What is the iFetch A Family Program? How does it work?
Hamill: iFetch A Family is our new giveback program aimed at helping long-stay shelter dogs get out of concrete pens and into loving homes. According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.9 million dogs enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and nearly 1.2 million are euthanized. So, it’s safe to say there are a lot of pups in shelters desperately looking for adoption. We linked those staggering numbers with a 2014 study we discovered in Applied Animal Behavior Science showing that the likelihood of a shelter dog being adopted increased significantly when they were observed playing. Putting the two together, we knew it was time to create a program for those dogs needing enrichment the most.
iFetch A Family will donate iFetch Too interactive ball launchers to qualifying shelters in order to increase the amount of playtime and enrichment for long-stay pups. iFetch is also committed to pairing local trainers with shelters to work with these dogs, using the iFetch Too product as a training aid. iFetch will also help the shelters publicize the dogs needing adoption in their local area through social media and other financial support. Please visit our website (goifetch.com/ifaf) to learn more about how you can be a part of iFetch A Family. PB