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So your pet may roam free

Pets are more like family members to animal lovers than simply creatures around the home, so giving them an ID card not only makes them that little bit closer but also helps keep track of them more easily.

FLUFFY FRIEND: A young girl plays with her cat. VNS Photo Ly Ly Cao

And that is exactly what one group of animal lovers in Hanoi has done after seeing many cases of cats and dogs being lost, stolen, or abandoned. 

“We all love cats and dogs and want to build a community for ‘pet people’,” said Trần Xuân Trường, 31, CTO of Petsport. “But there has been no app in Việt Nam for managing pets until now.”

Petsport is the new app for such a purpose, giving each pet a name tag that attaches to their collar and bears a QR code.

Information such as the pet’s name and its owner’s address and phone number are included in the QR code, accessible via a scan on any mobile device.

PET TECH: Giving their pets a name tag with a QR code helps owners monitor them. VNS Photo Ly Ly Cao

“QR codes have become common in everyday life,” Truong added. “If we need to search for something, we can just scan a QR code. For our purposes, it’s much more convenient than using microchips.”

“The ID and QR code are sufficient for identifying the pet, and owners have a greater chance of finding them if they become separated.”

Owners need only download the app from App Store or Play Store, for less than US$4 per pet.

When one user reports a lost pet, a notification is sent that alerts members of the community in the local area to keep an eye out. If a member comes across a stray pet with a name tag, they can scan the QR code and learn all about it.

CAT CODE: An owner adds his mobile phone number to his cat's name tag. VNS Photo Minh Phuong

“The most difficult elements in getting the project off the ground is making the app more popular and building a community of people that believe in it and will use it,” Truong said.

“Then, we can together create a pet-owning community.”

Since the beta version was launched in May more than 200 people have joined the community.

The group expects to upgrade the app with a tracking device that will help owners easily identify the location of their pets if they get lost or are stolen.

“In the next two months we want to launch a GPS tracking version, which we hope will reduce the number of lost pets,” Truong said.

“My cat usually stays at home, but she can be quite excited if she manages to get outside,” said Nguyen Thuy Duong, a Petsport member.

“She runs here and there with her newly-found freedom. She also likes to play with strangers and follow them around. I’m always afraid I might lose her.

“I feel more at ease now that her collar has a name tag. People can just scan the QR code to find out who I am and I can get her back.”

The app also has other useful information such as the pet’s vaccine and injections schedule, date of birth, and species, while changing the owner’s name when necessary is quite simple.

It may only be a small piece of plastic attached to a collar but these QR tags not only help improve the lives of pets in Vietnam but also give peace of mind to their loving owners. VNS

Ly Ly Cao & Minh Phuong

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