We’ve all seen it happen – a pooch waiting in the car for its owner on what feels like a thousand degree day. Even with the car off, the temperature inside can rise to a harmful, potentially life-threatening level.

Aaron Starkman felt the threats first hand. After leaving his dog, Hefty, in the car for what he thought would be a couple minutes in the pouring rain, he returned after a 20-minute-long lineup to the sun shining and Hefty struggling in the heat. Hefty lived, but the incident stuck with Starkman.

A rising number of dogs suffering from heat exhaustion and this close call, spurred Starkman and a team at his ad agency, Rethink Toronto, to invent this clever little collar that alerts owners when the temperature gets too high.

Made of a SIM card, a thermistor, a few LEDs and a coded chip, the “Dog Caller” operates like a cellphone without a keypad or screen.  When the temperature is too hot for a pooch to handle, the collar texts your cellphone with an alert.

Whether the dog is stuck in a stifling car, or playing outside in the sweltering heat, the collar monitors temperature and alerts owners when it passes a 26-degrees-Celsius tipping point — before it’s too late.

The agency is currently working with designers and manufacturers, plus the Toronto Humane Society, and hopes to crowd-fund the product to make it available in pet stores next year – for a mere $20.

Rethink has mentioned that they in no way, shape or form condone leaving pets locked in hot cars (or anywhere for that matter), but they are hoping the collar may save a couple dog lives.

 Watch the Toronto Humane Society video below:



August 13, 2012