Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=202538
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Meghan Schiller/ MEDILL


Peace of mind for worried pet parents

by Meghan Schiller
March 06, 2012


Reilly

Meghan Schiller/ MEDILL

Becauseyoulovethem.com makes sure both you and your pet can rest easy during emergencies.

Ex-salesman Gene Tresenfeld always worried about the fate of his pets if he were to wind up in an accident.

Until now.

He founded “Because you love them,” an online company that ensures a person’s pets aren’t forgotten.

“The idea came to me that there’s got to be a way, without me having a chip myself that if I ended up in a car accident, they take me to the hospital, my pets don’t get overlooked,” said Tresenfeld, CEO.

The Oregon-based company provides service in the U.S. and Canada. Launched last week at the International Kennel Club of Chicago dog show, the company’s first customers are based in the Midwest.

Here’s how it works: Pet parents register online and receive an ID card for their glove compartments and wallets. Emergency-response professionals are trained to thoroughly search for all forms of identification, so if an incident arises, the company receives a call on its toll-free number.

The company alerts the person’s designated caregivers via phone or email and doesn’t stop calling until they reach someone. Care instructions are relayed to the preferred caregivers, because the pet parent was prompted to complete an online profile stating specific instructions for each animal.

How much does back-up pet care cost?

“Only $30 a year,” said Tresenfeld. “It’s one fee for a couple or even a family”

After surveying pet lovers, Tresenfeld learned many would be willing to pay $10 for the service, but Tresenfeld says his company aims to give pet-lovers peace of mind at an affordable price.

“I was thinking I can’t sustain this company with customers paying only $10 a year, but I found out they were thinking $10 a month-- and I said ‘Thanks for signing up for 4 years,’” said Tresenfeld.

The price for the service may be affordable, but it was wasn’t exactly cheap for Tresenfeld.

He hopes to bring in enough to recoup his six-figure capital investment in the next three months. To do so, he needs more than 3,333 new customers. To eventually cover operating costs such as software development, he’ll need to keep growing from there if he hopes to eventually earn a profit.

“We’ve got some pretty good marketing ideas and based upon the reaction we’re getting at the dog show, I would be surprised if it’s more than three months,” said Tresenfeld.

More people are jumping on this bandwagon. PetsitUSA.com, an online company that helps pet owners locate care in their area, recently partnered with My Notification System LLC. The company, which notifies the family of a person admitted to a hospital, is now notifying pet caregivers.

As competition increases, Chicago Pet Sitters LLC owner Dana Steshetz fears Tresenfeld’s company and those like them won’t last.