LEILA Johnstone, 7, wanted a horse. Her dad Jamie instead came up with the idea for a PetApp that tests whether a child is ready for the responsibility of pet ownership. It was developed at the AppFactory by Daniel McKinnon.
LEILA Johnstone, 7, wanted a horse. Her dad Jamie instead came up with the idea for a PetApp that tests whether a child is ready for the responsibility of pet ownership. It was developed at the AppFactory by Daniel McKinnon. Warren Lynam

Kids begging for a pet? App tests if they're really ready

JAMIE Johnstone may have grown up in the bush around animals including horses which he had cared for and understood from his years in pony club.

But he knew his knowledge and understanding of the time it takes to care for animals wasn't something that could easily be passed on to his beach-focused wife and daughter.

That's why when they came up with the idea of getting a horse he needed help.

"Mr wife and daughter decided they wanted a horse, but they had no idea of what it took to look after one," Jamie said.

"They liked the idea of a horse."

Would your kids be responsible enough to care for a pet?

This poll ended on 11 December 2017.

Current Results

Yes, I'm confident they could care for a pet.

28%

No, they won't be mature enough for a few years yet.

14%

Once they form good habits, they'll be fine.

57%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.


It's a situation faced by many families as children begin agitating in the lead up to Christmas for a pet as a present.

But the harsh reality was that 130,000 pets were surrendered to the RSPCA every year with 900-1000 ending up in the Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge.

Jamie came up with the idea of an interactive App to test commitment before parents took the big step of bringing a pet home.

 

Launch of the new PetApp that tests whether kids were ready to have a pet. The App functions as a virtual pet and requires attention daily over a 21-day challenge to determine their commitment. (back l-r) Sheree Johnstone, Daniel McKinnon, Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon, Byron McKinnon, 7, (front) Jamie Johnstone, Darcy McKinnon, 4, Leila Johnstone, 7, and Beau Johnston, 11, launch the App.
Launch of the new PetApp that tests whether kids were ready to have a pet. The App functions as a virtual pet and requires attention daily over a 21-day challenge to determine their commitment. (back l-r) Sheree Johnstone, Daniel McKinnon, Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon, Byron McKinnon, 7, (front) Jamie Johnstone, Darcy McKinnon, 4, Leila Johnstone, 7, and Beau Johnston, 11, launch the App. Warren Lynam

He approached Daniel McKinnon, a friend who runs the Appfactory, to collaborate on a solution.

What emerged was the 21-day PrePet Challenge app that simulates a real-life cat or dog and what it takes to keep them happy and healthy.

The animated app puts potential owners through their pet paces - they must feed, walk, play with, talk to and also do the unpleasant tasks, like cleaning up after their animal.

"It's really going to be a nice tool for modern parents who have trouble saying 'no'," Jamie said.

"It the kids can do it for three weeks, a pattern's set and they become Pet-Worthy."

He said pets were an awesome way to teach routine and responsibility, but where the child was not ready could become neglected or abandoned.

The Pre-Pet Challenge app took the pressure off an impulse decision, giving everybody in the family time to think about the cost and commitment required.



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