A new Kickstarter project takes all the work out of playing fetch with your dog, replacing your throwing arm with a nifty gizmo and keeping your hands drool-free. It’s essentially a more basic pitching machine that requires no human intervention, but the iFetch looks like an incredibly useful tool for the play-obsessed pup, so long as it can learn the necessary trick to get the cycle started.
At base the iFetch is a simple machine; dogs put a ball in one end, the iFetch winds up and launches it for retrieval. Once the dog figures out that all it has to do to get it to launch again is drop the ball in the big opening, the cycle is complete, and an infinite loop is theoretically created. From a dog’s perspective, we humans are merely flesh and bone prototype versions of the iFetch, ones that tire and grow weak.
The iFetch needs only AC power, or 6 C batteries for portable use, not proteins, carbs and nutrients. It doesn’t get arm pain, isn’t squeamish about a dog’s mouth fluids or a little dirt, and, can throw balls at distances of either 10, 20 or 30 feet depending on how it’s set. The iFetch project creators, an Austin-based family called the Hamills (no apparent relation to Mark), suggest the iFetch for small or medium-sized dogs, likely because larger dogs might find the balls too small (could be a choking hazard for a Great Dane, for instance).
In my extensive history of familiarity with dogs, I’ve also known some that don’t have any aptitude or interest at all in playing fetch, and it’s unlikely that the iFetch will change their mind on that score. But for those dogs that are fetch fans, there looks to be little not to love here, and the Hamills even suggest that you can use the iFetch with kids, too! That’s some hands-free parenting right there, and if you’ve got both dog and kid, the iFetch can instigate a ready-made Man vs. Beast competition at a moment’s notice.
The iFetch has already met its funding goal, so there should be not that much standing in the way of the Hamill family shipping by their intended delivery date of November 2013. Pre-order backer amounts start at just $60, which includes the iFetch as well as 3 balls, and a plug-in AC adapter. One caveat if you do pick up one of these: never forget to leave it on if you have a dachshund that doesn’t know its limits and live in a hot climate, for instance. iFetch is tireless; your enthusiastic little dog is not.