Episode 51 – Lorien Clemens

51 Lorien Clemens_FB 51 Lorien Clemens_FB Lorien Clemens from PetHub joins us today to talk more about the benefits of PetHub and her role in the organization as the Vice President of Operations & Marketing programs. Learn more about lost pet prevention month and how you can keep your pets safe during the busy summer months. She also shares with us what PetHub is working on next, interested in keeping your safe? Take a listen and learn how technology with PetHub can help keep your pets safe! Welcome to the Professionals and Animal Rescue podcast, where a goal is to introduce you two amazing people helping animals and share how you can get involved with animal rescue. This podcast is probably sponsored by do bert dot com. Do Bert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Now on with our show, Lorien Clemens is the host of the popular Voice of America show Pet Lover Geek. Her hour long show is packed with fascinating interviews with guests who are experts in their field, veterinarians and rescue professionals. Animal nutritionists. Her guests are continually working to improve the lives of animals in one way or another. Lorien joined Pet Hub in 2011 and is currently serving as their vice president of operations and marketing programs. She’s guided Pet Hub to multiple pet industry awards, including Dog Fancy magazine, Editor’s Choice Award, the Pet Age magazines, retailer Silver Select Award and Pet Business magazines. Product of the year award for its unique digital I. D tags and online services. Lauren was also named 2014 Pet Industry Woman of the Year Hey, Lauren. Welcome to the program. Thank you for having me excited. T get to chat today. Absolutely so. So much I want to talk to you about. But why don’t I let you just take the stage first and give us a little bit of background on you and how you got into things? Well s Oh, my name is Lauren Clemens. I am currently the VP of marketing and operations with Pet Hub, and I’ll have a talk about pent up in just a minute. And do you mentioned, you know, how do I get started in these things? Um, it’s interesting. It’s I’ll give you a quick little, you know, a watered down story. Um, about almost nine years ago. B nine years in February, my then significant other Tom Arnold was working at Microsoft and he decided to leave Microsoft so he could start pet up because he wanted to make a difference in the world. He saw a need in the pet space, um, for helping lost pets get home. And also for helping people manage all of their pets, data and information to take care of things that their pets need it to do. So he started pet husband. You know, it’s kind of happening in your in your living room. And at the time Ah, I was working, Um um, through a Montessori school, helping with curriculum development and doing teaching in the classroom and just doing a whole bunch of great things that I have been an education for about 13 years in one form or another. And I was looking to leave, um, honestly, because education for anybody that’s there was just starting to wear me down. And I was looking for something new, something fun to do. And I had had a previous career in theater and design, and I was looking for maybe going back to that creative side of things and he said, Hey, why here? I got some design needs you want. You want to help me do some of those marketing stuff. So it was in my living room. Basically, I’m doing all this stuff for him and after a little bit, basically like, Hey, would you like to come work for the company? So, uh, long story short, I left education and, ah, join pet upto kind of head, head up the marketing department and then I moved into doing a lot more of the business development in operations now. So that’s kind of how I got started in the animal world. And honestly, it was a no brainer for me to move over from kids to animals, both two passions of mine. Um, and it’s just Yeah, that’s great. So now, had you done any animal rescue type activity previously, or is this really your friend? Don’t worry into thinking it’s my first foray into kind of like being in the pet industry as it were. I mean, I I was definitely a Ranger, Rick kind of a kid growing up, wanting to save every animal that I ever met. And I have a reputation within my friends and family of, you know, being the dog lady. I actually part one way I put myself through college, was cleaning out ah, runs at a local kennel at four o’clock in the morning. Ah, and I, uh, was they basically knew that there were dogs there that they were like, Don’t go near those dogs. Nobody loves those dogs, and the dogs would gravitate towards me. And it was there was not a single dog that ever went to that kennel that didn’t become my B f f. And, um, and I could literally say I struggled crap for a living. Actually, it’s a different word, but I don’t know what your audience feels like that, but so I have definitely worked in the dog space. But this is my first under really have a concerted effort into working to save animals and three of our four pets here at the house, Um, our rescue animals and very, very strongly about, you know, doing that. Yeah. Yeah. So now tell me a little bit more about pet Hub in and kind of what your mission is and what you guys were doing. Eso eso pat hab is a centralized place where you can put all of your pets information, and it all kind of comes together in this online profile that links to a digital I d tag. Um, actually, there’s a digital I d products. There’s several different products, but all links to these digital I D products, and it’s a free profile, so you don’t have to pay any money to have the profile on there. It holds unlimited emergency context. Both phone numbers and email addresses. It holds all of your pets vaccinations, not just the Rabies medications. You know, I’ve got a dog who’s got one eye. She’s on a heart medication. She has to take Darah Max for her arthritis, and she’s also got canine cognitive dysfunction. So she’s got Yeah, it’s a two page thing for the pet sitter when she comes, and I’m able to put all of that information on Pet Hub and then manage that there so I can use it to not only communicate with my pet sitter, but should Penny ever go missing. Which, of course, is the core of what pet have does we get lost pets home quickly? Shouldn’t Penny ever go missing? All of that is connected to her. I d tag. So when her i d. Tags scanned, um, people are able to quickly reach me and a slew of other emergency contacts in safe spots. But they’re also if she ends up, you know, heaven forbid ends up in a shelter overnight, they’re gonna have the medical information they need to make sure she stays healthy. And, um, you know, comes back home to me in one piece, so that’s the core of what pet hub does we and like I mentioned, we do, Ah, a suite of identification products. So it’s not only a color that goes on the I. D. Ah should be a tag that goes on the collar. It’s also an I D that goes on the outside of the travel crate. So if you’re traveling and you get displaced, something’s not having to open up that crate in order to get to that information. There’s also ah, wallet card key chain card that says my pets home alone. So if you’re in an accident, it basically tells the first responders, Hey, I have a pet that needs help, too. But it’s all into that Think central profile so I can change everything in one place. And then everybody gets updated all at one time. No, that’s really cool in. And as you know it is, I think a lot of our listeners know. I mean, lost animals is big problem, particularly during July. I mean, we just July 4th holiday, and, you know, I know I’ve seen a lot of the stories on the news and the number of stray animals and, you know, animals that are turned in shelters goes up just because of what’s going on with fireworks and loud noises and things like that. Yeah, that’s actually that’s great. Segue way. Um, we actually started in 2014 Pet have started Lost Pet Prevention Month and it is July. And we started that because of number 1 July fifth busiest days and shelters around the country because of July 4th holiday celebrations. But the other thing is, you know, school’s out. So travels picking up in and out all day long, and your house is probably picking up, especially if you have kids. Ah, and so more pets go missing in the summer time, then go missing any other time of year in general just because of the uptick of, you know, kids being home and travel. So we decided to start lost prevention month as a discussion of how to prevent pets from going missing in the first place and then howto alsop prayer so that if your pet does go missing, you could get them home very quickly. Very interesting. And I mean, I’m curious. Now what do you do with that? So now July’s Lost Pet Prevention Month so that about education and awareness, or what is the programs around that? So it is a primary and education and awareness thing on, and we every year we try to take a slightly different approach. So let’s let’s let’s tackle a different aspect of lost pet prevention. So this year, for example, we’re tackling anxiety and the role that anxiety plays in pets going missing and the world that anxiety can play. Play in getting a pet home when it is lost. Because when a pet runs away from shock, it’s It’s a little bit more difficult Thio get home than a pet that just went sniffing after a squirrel. So, um, you know all of our content that we’re putting out there this month both ourselves and we have a slew of content Partners that are working with us are about different ways. Thio treat anxiety, different approaches to doing that, and then also you know what to do when you find a pet that’s clearly scared or when your pet is lost. But they ran away because they were scared about something. How how do you go about looking for them and getting them home and those things. So it’s all about Kant content and education that goes out there to the public. But it’s also an opportunity for organizations and for businesses that are, you know, pet service is pet care providers. Adoption service Is that anything? Just also start having those conversations about Hey, great time to go check your microchip. Hey, let’s check. Check out your I D tags situation. What’s going on there? Hey, have you gotten your pet license? It’s a great way for those businesses and organizations to start having those conversations of. Did you know it’s lost prevention month? Let’s talk about what you’re doing, you know, you know, it’s a really good point. I love the idea because we check our smoke detector batteries right every six months, and we’ve got all these other annual checkup with your doctor and things like that. But people forget about right. If your pet is Michael tripped and hopefully they are is that I could ship up to date. Right is the microchip. Has it moved? Sometimes they do move in, you know they’re not readable anymore, so it’s a great, great time to check back in and make sure because I think people forget that microchips or not, they’re not fail safe. They’re not. And that’s actually one of my anybody who knows me personally or follows my my pet lover. Geek Bog knows microchips or one of those things that kind of love them and hate. Um um, there are autonomous conceptions out there about microchips. Ah, the biggest one is that, Hey, I’ve got a microchip in my pet. That’s a magical silver bullet to get my pet home. And I can’t tell you how many pet parents we talked to just last weekend at a pet event. We actually had parents. Oh, she’s got a microchip. I don’t need a tag. And that is so frustrating to hear because we have a ton of of pets that get out and you hear stories all the time. You know, Peck, it’s home after seven years because of the microchip. Well, great that they got home. But seven years years? Yeah, I don’t I don’t want to wait for afters for my plan to get home. Must seven years, and I don’t look at that as a To me, that’s not a happy story. That’s a sad story, because that pet’s been someplace else with somebody else’s seven years, that’s gonna be a, you know, heartbreak for them because now they have to face potentially losing the pet that they brought into their lives. And you had seven years where you didn’t know where that fur ball waas. And, um, you know, that was just devastating for you. And the pet had seven years without its primary Ah, family. So I Yes, they’re the ultimate safety net. You you really should have a microchip in your pet, no matter what. But, Chris, you mentioned they can migrate there, put him initially into the scruff of the neck. We have one dog who it’s down in her right foreleg. The migration, Yeah, yeah. And while she’s fairly small, But anyway, yes, yes, it is quite a migration. We The other thing is, is that not all microchips are made with the same r f I. D signal just a geek out a little bit. Here. There are multiple R f i D signals in the microchip. It’s a tiny grain of rice, and when a scanner scans it, it’s looking for Ah, it’s sitting in a you know, a looking for that piece of information. Well, the signal that’s being sent out, um, is calibrated to work with one type of R F I. D. Chip. There are at least four different ones out there, and a universal scanner can read all of them. But a lot of microchip companies. We’ll put out a microchip that only is read by one type of scanner or universal scanner. They’ll give a free scanner to the to the shelter or the veterinarian who they’re giving the chips to, which is fantastic. But that means that if a pet comes in with a tip that isn’t read by that scanner, it maybe miss completely. And then that’s not helping anything. And the other thing is, is that according to the industry, upwards of 50% are not either registered in the first place or are out of date. And that’s not helping the dog or the cat either. So there’s a lot of things that have to go right in order for a microchip toe work. Not to mention, you have to rely on the person finding the pet to know that they need to take him in to get scanned or they have to feel comfortable to take the pet into get scanned because there are parts of this country where people are afraid to take a dog to a shelter because they’re afraid of what might happen to that dog or cat, particularly with certain breathes. They don’t want to take them to a shelter to get scanned, because they’re afraid that they might be euthanized because of their breed. Um, which is a You know, it’s a reality in certain parts of the country, or at least a misconception of a reality in certain parts of the country. So a lot has to be right for a microchip to work as designed. Yeah, no, definitely it. And I think that’s a really good way to say it is. It’s a it’s a a safety nut. But having a tag like what you guys do is why not have duplicate right? It’s actually a good thing, so that if a a person on the street finds the animal with something they can quickly call your number that can quickly in a scan the Q R code. They only have to take him to a shelter. It’s one less hurdle. It reduces the friction. Yeah, and we, you know, we get pets home really quickly with our i d tags External, I d tag in general is going to get the pet home quicker. There’s There’s some reasons that external, traditional I D tags aren’t the best. They only hold one or two pieces of information. So if you change your information, you have to change out the tag. They do tend to rub away at, you know, not last as long. So you do. You have to make sure that they’re readable at all times, whereas a digital i d tag like a pet of I d. Tag. And there are some others out there that you could look into a swell but a digital I d tag. When your information changes, you just change it on the profile and automatically updates everywhere. And our Most of our tags come with coatings on there that we have yet to have a dog be able to chew through. And they’re incredibly durable, and years and years later, they’re gonna be just as readable as they were when you first got it. So, um, external is important, But I would like to also say though, that it’s not just it’s not just that I need to have a microchip and I need to have an I D tag lost Pet prevention has ah lot of different aspects to it, and one of the identification aspects to it also needs to be pet licensing and registration. The majority of municipalities be a city or county. Do you require that you have your pet licensed or registered? In some places, it’s a free registration. In some places, you there is a A fee involved. Most of those fees go directly towards animal service is so from my way of thinking, it’s helping protect animals in the city or the county. But it’s a it’s a It’s like a another stew. Another leg of a stool of a three legged stool is getting that pet licensed and registered, because if your municipality knows, hey, this pet’s been Rabies vaccinated. This pat has, ah, home, and if they come into my shelter, I’m just gonna take them back home. I’m just gonna get them back home rather than having to go into that shelter system and then go through all that legal hassle that you have to go through if they’re not register. So I’d also I highly recommend looking that that Ah, as part of what you do for your identification for your pet. Yeah. No, this is really cool to hear all this stuff that you guys were doing, I guess. What’s next? What do you guys working on now? Ah, there’s a lot s 01 of our biggest things that we do now is we actually work with municipalities across the country. We’re in over 180 communities so far to help them with their pet licensing and registration programs, helping them update those stamp metal I D tags that were invented before the Civil War into something modern that was invented in the 21st century. So that’s a big part of what we’re doing. We’re also working Thio, You know, we were called pet hub for a reason because it’s a place that you really can plug in a lot of different parts of your pets life. And so we’re building right now that extended community, the extended network of different companies that you can work with through your pet hub, um, profile. And it’s it creates a convenience for you. But it also creates again a safety mechanism where you could say, OK, it’s all in one place and everybody’s getting the same information and you’re not having to worry about Oh, gosh, I gotta update this over here, and I gotta update this over here, and I gotta do this over here is all able to be in one place and then that’s linked to your pets identification tag, which, of course, is the single biggest thing that’s going to get them home quickly. So that’s what we’re doing right now is where expanding the communities that we work with and we’re expanding the companies and service is that we work with that. Use the platform that we have with profiles t work with pet parents. Yeah, that’s really cool. It sounds like you guys, you’re doing a lot of cool stuff. We’re working on it. We’re trying. I mean, we we believe that, you know, technology that works for humans should be able to be applied to technology, to work for animals, to help them and keep them safe at home. And that’s the whole reason Tom started. This company was, you know, he was at Microsoft, where he saw technology doing awesome, amazing things for humans. And yet he was looking, you know, when he went to go adopt his dog, his puppy cooler, and he’s looking at the signs about how many pets go missing every year and don’t get home. We thought, Wow, we’ve got to do something more. We’ve got to do something better. It’s got to be a more technology based solution that could make this make a difference. Yeah, very cool. Now is as if that wasn’t enough. You’re also during this thing called pet lover Geeks or town about that. Well, peller geek. So, um all right. So talking, stinking of microchips, uh, pat lover geeks started a couple of years for me as kind of a passion rant. Um, because there was, ah company and unscrupulous company that started a Kickstarter that said that they had invented a GPS microchip using peasy, electric nano technology and, ah, you know, they’re using a fancy word that is a real thing. Peasy. Electric nanotechnology is a real thing. It’s a technology that uses the movement of the body to create electricity. It is completely in the laboratory still, and frankly, if if anybody’s gonna use Petey electric nanotechnology. It’s gonna be used first for human things, like, you know, being able to charge a pacemaker and things like that. But they had said that they had invented a microchip, that using this technology so that you could have GPS insult your doggies. And, um, there are so many reasons that that is impossible right now with the technology has exist. So I went on a rant block, and I started doing a series of of rants about different things in the pet industry that were a bunch of bogus, You know what? And, um, so that’s how it started. And then it grew into, um ah, an offer from Voice America Internet radio to do a radio show. Ah, that focused on technology and innovation in the pet industry and pet hub. Actually, ah, we saw it as a really great opportunity to have a conversation and to be able to have continued conversations about technology and innovation in the space, and it it has been an absolute blast. I’ve got to learn about different, geeky, wonderful science things that I had never gotten to explore before, and it’s really exciting. Um and it has been great for PETA because it allows us to. It pushes us. We hear about really great technology. Inventions were like, Oh, that is so cool. How can we use that to help pets? And so it’s been really exciting for us as a company, But for me personally, it’s been a great way to explore and learn and meet a lot of really incredible people. That’s really cool. But I gotta believe it keeps you extremely busy. What? It’s an average week look like for you? Uh, well, hearing him on a Saturday morning, exactly recording a podcast and having it all you got to go yet this week, I just my third of five. So, um, it’s busy. I travel a whole lot. I I I love Alaska Airline. Little plug for Alaska Airlines. I meet I make n v P status early spring, and I make the old status by summer every year, which means that I ah, you know, very lucky I get upgrade to premium class a lot, which is sweet, but I do travel a lot. Um, and, um which is great. I actually I love that, but, you know, it’s not unheard of for me to have 65 70 our weak. But I will say I have found that the thing that keeps me sane is to make sure I’m scheduling in personal family time and, uh, dog time. And my cats are looking at me like what about they just inject themselves whenever they need it. But, you know, I make sure I have have a geriatric puppy. She’s 14 now, and she’s a lot of care, so I make sure I have some time. It’s just for her and I to go, you know, mostly to sit in snuggle. But then my younger dog, we have every day we’re out on the trail doing something just because it’s important for him. It’s important for me to have that that time to re center myself, and it also helps me ruin my myself. This is why I do what I d’oh. Um, I have you know, I have a sticky note. Um, and pretty much every place I work is what I’m doing right now, helping to save pets, helping to get lost pets home, and so it just kind of helps keep me grounded. If I make sure I keep that time. And and also time for my husband. Family? Yeah. Yeah Yeahs after added, you know, effect. Of course. Now, once we could throw the animals. I totally understand. No. And I have to say I really I really love your mantra. I love the passion and dedication you have towards this because sometimes you get into this business mode and it’s easy to forget. Why are we doing this? And one of things I’m always pushing people, particularly that do things related to animals and animal rescue is Remember why we’re doing this. We’re doing this for our love of animals. That’s something that we all have. Ah, passion around. Yeah, I would say this, though. Okay, I absolutely 100%. But sometimes. And this is what I’m learning. And this is over the seven years that I’ve been doing this now, 7.5 years that I’ve been doing this now full time. If you don’t pay attention to the business stuff, the passion is not gonna be enough. Um, so, you know, keeping the lights on, keeping people’s salaries paid. Making sure that people are making a livable wage is key because otherwise, you compassion. Fatigue is a real thing, whether you’re in working in a shelter or you’re working for an animal company like ours, you know, we can’t afford to pay as high as some of the other tech companies in the Seattle area are paying. I mean, they’re ridiculous salaries in this area for tech people. And so the the guys and gals that work for a pet hub, they know that they’re taken below market rate, and they’re cool with that because they’re doing what, what? The passion driven. That being said, we’re not paying them slave wages way. Don’t think that that’s the right thing to d’oh. So we have to make sure we’re taking care of the business stuff. You have to make sure that you’re bringing in money, Whatever. Whatever you’re doing to help the animals, you have to make sure you’re feeding yourself. You’re able to pay you’re home expenses and things like that and give people a livable wage so that they can continue to to bring to the table their energy and passion. Because if you’re worried about being able to pay next month’s rent and keep the lights on and keep the heat on in the food on the table for your kids. You’re not bringing your full self to the table to help the animals that you’re in this to do to help. Nine. I think it’s very well stated. I I I feel the same way about people. And as you mentioned, compassion, fatigue and making sure to take care of yourself and sometimes taking a step back and turning off the Facebook and email in that and just give yourself a day or two and just, you know, let it go. You can’t fix all this overnight. Um, if you don’t take care of yourself, then you’re not gonna be any good to anybody. 100%. Yes, sir. So, Lauren, thank you so much for coming on the program today. Is there anything else you wanted to mention before we wrap things up? Well, I would like to mention that that you know it is lost. Pepper mention month. There are a ton of things that you can do to prevent pets from being lost. It’s not just about identification, and I would recommend that everybody go to lost pet prevention dot com. We’ll take you to the hole section of pet have dot com That is all about lost pet prevention. Incredible resource is there from experts from throughout the industry. Ah, that’ll just give you a really great insight into what you need to do personally for your situation to keep your pets safe at home. Great. We’ll think you’re going for coming on and sharing a bit about this. We appreciate it. Absolutely. Thank you cards really appreciate it. 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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