Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Meow! Using Google forms for Cat Sitting!

Cat sitting is a great job for youth---Depending on the cat and owner, the cat usually requires one or two visits a day while the owner is away on vacation. The job consists of various little duties like feeding and watering the cat, litter box cleaning, and maybe petting (depending on the friendliness of the cat).  When the owner returns, the youth is paid a certain amount per day.

My good friend went to London for a week, and I felt this was a wonderful opportunity to introduce my mentee, Alana, to the world of pet-sitting.  She was certainly responsible enough, and the only thing she really needed was transportation to the cat job.  That was my contribution.

Pet Sitting Google Form
To keep lines of communication open between my far-off friend and  Alana, I created a Google form for Alana to record what she did for Sparkle (the cat).  (If you would like to learn how to create a Google form, go here.)  The Google form puts all of the cat-sitting data into a Google spreadsheet, which was shared long distance with my friend.  The cat owner checked on Sparkle's well-being and moods from a long distance away!  We used an iPad to record data in the form, but this could also be done with an iPhone or computer.  If you would like to know how to put the Google form onto your iPad screen, go here.

The last thing we did was to take a couple of quick cat videos which Alana and I instantly emailed to the owner using the iPad.  My friend really seemed to love seeing her pet in action.

I guess the point of this blog entry is to
----show first how Google forms and spreadsheets can really help with even the seemingly simplest of jobs (adding structure and communication to make everything more transparent);
---and to show how mentors and teachers (anyone working with youth) can help teach job skills and responsibility.  This experience was great, and Alana and I are on the lookout for more cat-sitting opportunities!   (In Chapel Hill or Carrboro please--this blogging world is huge, so we won't be going to Australia or Minnesota)

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