Episode 23 – Erica Bishaf, PetGotchaDay

23 Erica Bishaf _FB 23 Erica Bishaf _FB We talk with Erica Bishaf, the founder of PetGotchaDay. Erica lives in Chicago, Illinois with her two dogs, Einstein and Ashley. Erica has been an active volunteer at various animal shelters throughout the Chicagoland area since 2002. PetGotchaDay partners with shelters and rescues across the nation to introduce people to adoptable pets. PetGotchaDay exists to increase pet adoptions and reduce the incidence of euthanasia nationwide through empowering animal welfare organizations with revolutionary 360-degree video technology to engage, delight and motivate potential adopters as they watch adoptable pets. To learn more about PetGotcha Day, you can visit their website, https://petgotchaday.com/ Welcome to the Professionals and Animal Rescue podcast, where goal is to introduce you to amazing people helping animals and share how you can get involved with animal rescue. This’ll Podcast is proudly sponsored by Joubert dot com. Do Bert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters and the only site that automates rescue relate Transport. Now on with our show today we’re speaking with Erica Bischoff, Erica Lose in Chicago, Illinois, with her two dogs, Einstein and Ashley. Erica’s been an active volunteer at various animal shelters throughout the Chicago land area since 2000 and two. Erica is the founder of Pet Gotcha Day, where they partner with shelters and rescues across the nation to introduce people to adoptable pets. Pet Got today exists to increase pet adoptions and reduce the instance of euthanasia nationwide through empowering animal welfare organizations with revolutionary 360 degree video technology to engage, delight and motivate potential adopters as they watch adoptable pets. Hey, Erica, welcome to the program. Thank you. Hi. Thanks for having me. So tell us a little bit about you. I am the founder and leader of the pack of a pet adoption website called Pet Catch Today a little bit more about me. I live in Chicago and I have two dogs, Ashley and Einstein. Ashley is 14 years old. I know in the in Troy also mentioned that you’ve been an active volunteered animal shelters since about 2000 and two. So tell us how your worlds collided because it seems like a long way to go from the market and strategy. Yeah, over into animal rescue. Yeah. So I’ve always been an animal lover. And so, around 2002 my uncle, my mom’s brother, actually passed away from a diabetes complication. Relatively young, and he was not married him. He did not have Children, but he had four dogs or cats and a horse. Yeah, yes, and because he didn’t really have anybody but the animals my grandparent’s made the choice to donate the cell are the proceeds from the sale of his home to paws Chicago, and they lived in Florida and since I’m in Chicago, I served. They asked if I would service the liaison between his estate and pause, and because I didn’t want his money to just go anywhere, I decided to get involved with paws. Chicago and I started planning fundraisers for them. I was an active volunteer at working adoption events and just thought that there’s a natural place for me in the animal rescue world. And so I have spent several years volunteering with Chicago. It was a dog walker and still am with Chicago Animal Care and Control and, you know, lend a helping hand to any rescue that that needs a So yeah, yeah, it’s fun. You know, I just love being with animals. It’s It’s like you could have the most stressful day and just being able to play with these paths and just touch them and walk with, Um, I mean, just you feel yourself, relax and, you know, some people say that it’s sad. How do you go to Chicago Animal Care and Control, which is the city pound and not want to leave crying? Well, to me that simple. You know, these these dogs and cats, they’re in cages. So even if you walk them and play with them for 10 minutes, that’s 10 minutes of joy that they would have had. So if I know that I’m going and I’m doing something good for these animals. But is it? Even if it’s 10 minutes, I can leave feeling okay about the situation because it’s better than them being alone. And the more socialisation they get, the more likely they’re going to find a forever home. So now was it through your experience in working with Chicago animal carrying control, that you came up the idea for Peca today? No. So this is This is kind of crazy. So throughout my market research career, I’ve always been a very creative researcher. So there’s an obstacle in my way. I find a solution, and about 10 years ago ish Wal Mart stopped allowing us Teoh conduct in store research. So I needed a solution. So I thought about creating a virtual reality store. So I reached out to a company. We developed this BR store that felt like from a participants stamp way that they were shopping in a game. So it’s fun. And it turned out, after several tests of there is a 0.9 correlation between virtual shopping and actual shopping, which is amazing. Yeah, And so I started becoming a proponent of virtual reality for research, and I used it pretty much of every job that I have worked out, and I’ve introduced to tell the different companies that I worked for so virtual realities in my blood now. So when I went off on my own, I was actually contacted by a company in the VR space to do work for them. And I ended up through my consulting business, becoming their director of consumer insights just as a remote position. And because of that, I went to several BR conferences, and I’m sitting at a lot of er conference hearing about gaming for the up team time and I am not a gamer. And I kept thinking that there’s gotta be a better usage for this technology. And like any good dog owner, my the background on my computer is a picture of my dogs, and I was looking at Einstein and Hiss. Story is a very typical one. He’s black and tan, but primarily black, and he was from a Southern shelter. He was a breath away from being euthanized. He actually was scheduled to be euthanized, and a tramp and a transporter heard about him and grabbed him at the 11th hour and brought him up to Chicago and I remember I actually remember the state quite clearly because one of my good friends wanted a dog and I said, I’ll help you find Once I went on anti Cruelties website and I remember seeing a bunch of dogs and this one dogs to she who just looked like a black blob off a for I mean, nothing stood out to May and I saw a few other dogs that I thought would be great for my friends. So we go to anti cruelty and we’re walking one dog and I’m looking through the cages and I see this beautiful spaniel mix cowering in the back of a cage. And that was sushi that I pull him out and I’m playing with him and I could see he’s a smart dog in very sweet, and I call my husband and I said, I’m taking this dog home. I’m not leaving him in a cage. And so, you know, I adopted name of Einstein, and that’s who he is today. But the thing is, because of his black, for he didn’t photograph well and besides that he was in a southern shelter that nobody knew of him. And he is a beautiful and smart dog, a guy named, um Einstein kind of as a joke, but he’s actually smart, like Einstein, and I wanted to create a way to draw attention to underserved paths. Weatherby pets in the Southern shelters where there isn’t a huge population of adopters or for pats with dark for the don’t photograph well or dogs that are quote unquote unadoptable because they’re harder to adopt pets because of a particular breed that they are, or senior paths or handicapped hats. And I kept thinking that there’s got to be awaiting his virtual reality to transport viewers to actually be with the animals, no matter where their location is. And as I thought about it, actually, all at this conference I was taking very fast notes about this, obviously not about the conference. But you know, the world isn’t ready for virtual reality. I mean, that’s just so far beyond at this point. But the world is ready for 360 degree videos, and I equate 3 60 video to be kind of like the gateway drug into VR for the sole fact that if you record a 3 60 video and you pop your phone and play it through a virtual reality headset and actually feels as if you’re transported to that animal. The system actually tricks your brain to believe that you’re there and even watching a 32nd video. By the time it’s done, you’re gonna forget where you’re actually act. And so I thought that there is a potential Teoh to use this technology. So I started building Picot today all around that notion, thinking that this has got to be a better way to find adopters for homeless paths. Sure, so tell us how it works. Walk us through. How do you get the videos? What’s different about it? Sure, So the site is a pet adoption site, just like any other. It’s fully searchable. The difference between our site from a very fundamental, fundamental basis is our state’s very clean, very aesthetically pleasing. Um, it’s geared. I mean, it’s geared for everybody, but there’s millennial undertones to it, like for in the search criteria, there’s infographics. So if you’re looking for a particular size pat, you’ll see a small dog, a medium sized dog, the large sized dog, or for energy level, it’s Hominy tail wags. It’s just very cute, very easy to use. But now what really differentiates us from any other pet adoption website is the basis of Peca today’s video. So our site can host both standard video silica cell phone video as well as a fully immersive 360 degree video. It’s very easy to use, so when ah potential adopter goes on the site, you know they can think in search for whatever part that they like. When they click on the pets profile, they’ll see all the characteristics about the path. There’s a tax field, Um, all the information that you need about the rescue, a contact button. So when the potential adopter contacts, the shelter back out today also gets a copy of that email so we can help facilitate that adoption because often times one of the from what I’ve heard that one of the pain points of adoption is people will contact the shelter, never hear back. We could make sure that they hear back so that Pat just doesn’t go under the radar, and we can make sure that they find their home. The other thing that the site offers is instant sharing to Facebook and Twitter and an email sharing buttons. So I think that my friend would be interested in this one dog or cat. I can just put the email button and sent it to her in in a matter of seconds. There’s a picture of the animal and then a video play button. And then from there, either 3 60 video or standard video will pop up, and the videos look amazing on your computer, your mobile device. But again, if the video is a 3 60 video and the viewer has, ah, virtual reality headset, even your cheap $5 ones you could get from the dollar store or your Google card wards you’ll be transported How this is actually being used. That’s what’s pretty interesting is that it’s being used as a virtual adoption center for foster based rescues. So because of the nature of 3 60 video, it’s a real foster based rescues are filming all of their pets and 3 60 and then will they go to an adoption event because they can’t bring all their pets because there are foster base they bring a VR headset with. So that way is, is people come up to learn about that rescue there, given the VR headsets and all, they can see all the pets there that are available at that rescue, and they can virtually meet them right then and there. And it’s a huge benefit to them because they can’t possibly bring all of their paths of one place. But also in a foster based rescue. It’s hard to schedule time with the Fosters. If I’m interested in a particular animal, it could be a week or two before I get to meet them. And who knows if I’ll actually get along with that part or not. But through Peca today, they get to virtually meet the pat before they meet them. So don’t least have an idea that this really is the one for them or not. That’s a really cool concept, and I like I like what you do that So how maney organizations give us some idea as to where you’re taking this? Sure. So we actually launched in July of this year. So it’s only been what is that, like five months now? And we, um, we’re working with about 55 shelters and rescues right now and on the presence of on boarding about another ton or so. Um, we are adding rescues every week. I mean, it’s were growing very, very rapidly. We get contacted from rescues that are expressing interests quite frequently. Um, we are nationwide site. However, we have a heavy concentration right now in Illinois and California. We are adding rescues currently in Texas and Iowa, and we were just contacted by a rescue in Orlando. So Florida will be next on the radar. Um, we are in the process of working through an agreement with a few nationwide rescues. Um, so will truly be nationwide very, very soon, hopefully. And yeah, I mean, it’s it’s amazing. And what I love about having met do Bert is that you know, being a nationwide rescue. You know, using the Joubert service, we could help facilitate interstate adoptions. So you’re not just limited to finding a pet within your own states. Or just like with Einstein. My dog. People could know view animals in Tennessee and be able to adopt them easily. You also asked where we going? So the vision of the site is to just truly be nationwide, um, and get as many rescues as we can on the site, Um, and make this the way of the future as a market researcher and strategist, my goal is Teoh totally re energize the pet adoption process. The Putt adoption were oratory. The Pat World is about a $70 billion industry, but everybody is focusing on the post adoption post ownership moment. But nobody is focusing on the adoption process, and it is painful for both rescues and a doctor’s. There’s problems on both ends, and it’s pack agitators goal to plug in those gaps and make this a seamless process through different innovations that we have coming down the pipeline. Yeah, so if people want to get involved, where did they begin? There’s many different ways for people to get involved. First, off shelters and rescues can contact us. So if they go to pet gotcha day dot com. Um, well, p E T g o T C h a d a y dot com There are there’s inquiry buttons for shelters and rescue so they can reach out and say, Hey, we’d like to participate. The site is completely free for shelters and rescues to participates, and it’s self service. It’s very easy to dio um Once they contact us, we reply back with everything that they need to know to get started. We also love volunteers. So the whole notion of videography is to make a community oriented so crowd source video. So if people want to volunteer to be a videographer, if they’re already affiliated with a rescue, we can train them and get them set up to film pats at that particular rescue work. There’s somebody that just does. I like taking videos, and I love animals. Well, could I dio? They can reach out to us as well through the contact US button on the site, and we compare them with a rescue. Every rescue needs extra hands. There’s, I mean, there’s a massive shortage. So if somebody is interested in volunteering, you know, we can get them started as soon as possible as well. That’s really great. Well, Erica, this sounds like a really cool technology and something definitely people should check out. Um, is there anything else you want to share with everybody before we go? Yeah, I just You know, the videos are are fun. So a lot of people say I don’t like going on a pet adoption website because it’s sad or I don’t want to be tempted to adopt these videos. Air All happy videos of pets playing and interacting either with shelter staff were other animals. And so, you know, even if somebody is not in the market to adopt a pat right now, it’s a fun place just to watch cute animal videos and just get a little dose of joy for the day. So I think check it out. Well, that’s great. Well, Erica, thank you so much for coming on and sharing with us, and we’ll hope your hope. We can check back with you and maybe six or eight months and sail. Things were going. That sounds great. Thank you so much. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast if you’re not already a member, joined the Air P A. To take advantage of all the resources we have to offer. And don’t forget to sign up with do bert dot com. It’s free and helps automate the most difficult tasks in animal rescue
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