They say having a new puppy is like having a baby; I can now confirm the stories are entirely true.
On the second night our miniature dachshund puppy, Frankie, was home, while I was soothing him back to sleep at 4am (I know you’re not supposed to do it, but he just sounded so sad, and then I thought about the fact he’d been separated from his doggie mum, and I was wrapped around his little paw), I actually had flashbacks to waking up at all hours with my youngest.
Frankie still needs his second round of shots, so we’re still in that awkward stage where he can’t really leave the house yet. So, we have a crate for him to sleep in, surrounded by a pen to give him space to play, and this is where I leave him when I do the school run.
I grew up with a dog, but I’ve never had one myself, so it’s been the steepest learning curve. I did all the things you’re supposed to do – put down a puppy pad and some fresh water, put on some music to keep him company and made sure his crate was all soft and cosy – but I was still nervous to leave him.
Then I remembered the Simplisafe security camera I’d been sent during lockdown.
This budget home security camera was so easy to use – I essentially just plugged the camera in, synched it to the wifi, downloaded the Simplisafe app to my iPhone, and it was good to go.
This £49 camera has a 120 degree field of vision, so easily took in the whole width of our three-panel sliding doors. We’d had some attempted break-ins in the nearby village, so I used it to ‘check in’ when we spent a few days in Devon over the summer (the sensor detects motion and automatically records it. Also, if you spot suspicious activity you can manually record clips and download them).
I was impressed by the quality of the image and the two-way built-in speaker which allowed you to hear what was going on, and also to speak through the camera.
I realised I could point the Simplisafe camera at the crate and use it as a Puppy Cam instead. That first day I used it to check on Frankie during the school run; I could hear he was barking, but I could clearly hear he wasn’t in any kind of distress.
When I checked again a few minutes later, I could see a little black furry ball curled up on the cushion. The room was silent – apart from the radio I’d left on to keep him company – he was sound asleep.
Seeing he was settled instantly put my mind at rest.
Now, two weeks in, we’re quickly getting used to being dog parents, and I still use the Simplisafe camera to check in on Frankie if I’m away for any length of time. The other day I was early for an appointment and decided to have a quick look at what he was up to.
I could see what I thought was Frankie’s butt poking out from the space between this crate and the side of the pen. I’d put some cushions down, to deter him from jumping up on the walls (as dachshunds are very prone to injuring their backs), and I could see on the camera that this was where he was wedged, snout first.
Awww, he’s sleeping, I smiled. I watched a bit longer, waiting to see him shuffle around, but he was stock still. Then I started to worry – what if he’d gotten stuck, and was pushed up against the cushion and couldn’t breathe?
Once that thought was in my head, I couldn’t un-think it. I ended up rushing home to make sure he was OK, only to find him sound asleep. Apparently (as I now know) dachshunds love squishing themselves into small, dark spaces because they were originally bred to burrow into badger sets and flush the animals out. Huh.
Feeling a teensy bit silly, I gave him a cuddle and headed back to my appointment. BUT, it also brought home to me how the Puppy Cam could have prevented an awful accident.
Now I regularly use the Simplisafe camera for home security AND puppy sitting duties, and even to check on Frankie during the night (although the night vision makes him look a little bit like a zombie dog).
As well as using a Simplisafe budget home security camera on its own, you can build up an entire security system, including motion detectors, entry and glass-break sensors, sirens and panic buttons.
It’s safety and reassurance, at a reasonable price.
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