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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Blake

Whistle ~ Peace of Mind for Pet Owners

Updated: Dec 3, 2022

For those of us who work full time or travel, the ability to know your pet's whereabouts at any time, is unsurpassed peace of mind.

If only it were this easy! I have an energetic golden doodle who is an enthusiastic escape artist, avid explorer and my 14er hiking buddy. Unfortunately, some of his past adventures have led him far from home and caused me a tremendous amount of panic and stress. I live in a remote area where there are wild animals (see Murphy and bear approaching below) and extreme weather conditions that can spell disaster for a lost pet.

So, in addition to a microchip and collar with a name tag, I invested in a pet tracking device. There are two basic types; the rather outdated radio trackers common with hunting dogs (no monthly subscription required) or the newer GSM trackers that utilize cutting-edge technology and cell towers to pinpoint your pet's location in real time (requires a monthly subscription). I chose the GSM option. There are numerous brands on the market with a variety of unique features, but basically all of the devices will notify you when your pet has left home and allow you to track your pet in real time via GPS. Many of them will also log your pet's daily activity, much like our human FitBits, and some brands include ambient temperature sensors and LED illuminated collars.

THE WHISTLE: I chose the Whistle, which was one of the smallest units, had consistent four-to-five-star reviews, long battery life, and is easily added to your pet's collar. The small, waterproof, rugged unit (shown on Murphy's collar, below) is programmed to recognize your home (or other) WiFi.

ALERTS: If your pet strays out of range of the WiFi you will receive an email or text (or both) to notify you that your pet has left home (the "safe area"). At this point you can see if a friend or spouse took your dog for an impromptu car ride. If not, using the Whistle app on your phone you can initiate the tracking feature. This feature allows you to follow your pet as he embarks on his forbidden adventure, and locate him quickly. If your pet decides to return home on his own, you will receive an email/text confirmation that your pet has returned home (i.e. is back in range of the WiFi base in your house). It is important to note that there is a short delay between the time your pet leaves the "safe area" and the time that you receive the alert. In my experience it has been less than five minutes (see screen shot of text message alert, below). The only negative issue that I have noticed with the Whistle, is that it must be in range of cell service to work. This could be an problem if your pet strayed into a very remote area with absolutely no cell coverage.

TRACKING: The tracking feature is really neat because it allows you to map your route when you go for walk or hike. I tried this out, walking along a road, and it seems to be fairly accurate, although I know I walked on the road the entire time and did not wander into the woods as the unit indicated.

ACTIVITY TRACKER: The unit also tracks your pet's activity and provides both a daily and weekly report. The Whistle will let you know how active your dog has been based on his/her breed and age and will let you know if they reached their recommended daily activity goals.

I purchased a second Whistle to place in my horse's saddle back so that if we ever became unintentionally separated, I will have a better chance of locating him. Since the device is away from the "safe zone" the entire ride, the battery life is shortened, but I still feel better knowing that I can track him for a while.

The device needs to be charged approximately once a week- a little more often if you are frequently activating the tracking feature. You will receive an email/text notification when the battery is low. To charge the device, just twist it off the collar and place it in the charger. On another positive note, the customer service is excellent! They were very helpful when I had a questions and followed through with a personal text to make sure everything was working. When I purchased the device it was on sale for $49 and the monthly plans range from $6.95 to $9.95. Yes, it is an additional monthly expense, but for me the peace of mind is priceless.

Get your Whistle today!

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