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$5,646 pledged of $40,000 goal
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By Startled Cat
$5,646 pledged of $40,000 goal
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About this project

A CritterKin Farewell

As our Kickstarter campaign comes to a close, we've been pondering our lessons and making plans.

 First, CritterKin is not going away. Valuable lessons were learned about when, how and with what kind of product to approach our supporters. While we are still excited by the idea of a mobile app, we are even more committed to sharing the stories and characters at the heart of CritterKin across multiple media platforms. 

 If we made any mistake in our campaign it was that we didn't give you enough face time with Sprout, Annie, Mariah and the rest of the CritterKin pack. These goofy, fun-loving dogs entertain, inspire and educate us every day. Not only are they based on actual dogs we know, but their stories - told as only canines can - let us see, learn about, and yes laugh at ourselves as well. And we can hardly wait to discover what the CritterKin cats, horses and birds have to say. 

Next steps? We are pursuing alternative funding models for the app, completing the CritterKin book, building the CritterKin community, and talking with a wide range of potential collaborators and partners. Want to join us? Go to http://www.critterkin.com/products.html and be sure to sign up to become part of the pack!



About CritterKin - Entertain to Educate

We’re creating the CritterKin app to help answer these questions…and to prepare your kids for all the joys (and responsibilities) of owning a puppy.

And while we're at it...we're giving parents a break too. Because parents should be parents...not pet care experts! And shouldn't parents get to enjoy your new puppy too?

We're putting all of the know-how and insight from animal care experts into an app for kids that will entertain, engage and get them (and you!) ready to own a puppy.

Entertain to Train: Meet the Mutts!

Every puppy in the CritterKin pack is a fully realized character...they each have histories, personalities, quirks and lessons.

You've seen how your kids respond to a favorite cartoon character. Your kids will feel like the CritterKin characters are sometimes hilarious, sometimes serious and often like a best buddy.

We've been working in children's entertainment and education for decades. We know the importance of great character-driven stories.

The heart of CritterKin are the 'mutts'. We're incredibly proud of our pack of mutts....they're beautifully illustrated, they have personality, and every single one has a lesson that kids will LOVE to learn.

What Your Kids Will Learn

So where do our lessons come from? What will your kids learn? We've partnered with the humane educator at the SPCA of Wake County North Carolina to make sure that kids aren't just entertained, they're educated.

Kids will be excited about owning a puppy, and the CritterKin app will ensure that they're ready.

Here's a quick sample of the more than 30 lessons we've developed:

  • Meet and Greet - How to safely meet an animal 
  • Socialization and Manners - How to teach your dog to play well with others 
  • What’s a Dog Made of? - Basic dog anatomy 
  • Good Treat/Bad Treat - Why dogs shouldn't eat chocolate! 
  • Poop and Scoop – What goes in must come out 
  • Zap the Fleas – What are common pests that can harm your dog? 
  • What’s in a Crate - The benefits of crate training 
  • Visit to the Vet – Why vet care is so important 
  • Looking Good – Grooming for good looks and health 
  • Doggy Fashion – types of collars, leashes, clothes and accessories  
  • Give a Dog a Job - The importance of exercise and mental stimulation 
  • Lost and Found - How to avoid losing your dog...and what to do when you do 
  • Cool! - The physiology of how dogs regulate their temperature 
  • Play - How do dogs play? What kind of play do dogs need? 
  • Special Needs – The importance of difference 
  • As Long As You Both Shall Live - What it means to give a dog a forever home 
  • Animal Sheltering 101 - How kids can help your local shelter

REWARDS

Something In It For You Too!

Support us and pick up a reward (or two…or more!)

For each reward level you'll not only get the specific reward....but all of the others UP TO that level too! So...grab yourself a piece of CritterKin love and join our pack!

FIRST....A FEATURED REWARD

We want to give a very special thank you to everyone who donates $50 or more. We've created a special coloring book for donors at this level. We actually think that on its own, the CritterKin coloring book is a project in its own right....a piece of art, fun for your kids, and something we might have created as a project on its own!

The CritterKin Coloring Book
The CritterKin Coloring Book

Here Are Some Highlights of Our Other Rewards....Check Out The Full Descriptions on the Right!!!

$10 and Up - Meet the Mutts Screensaver

$25 and Up - Get the App!

$35 and Up

The CritterKin Dog Tag - For Humans Too!
The CritterKin Dog Tag - For Humans Too!

$50 and Up

$100 and Up

Get Our Amazing 'How to Draw...' Tutorial
Get Our Amazing 'How to Draw...' Tutorial
"Wearable Art" for your kids! (Or you!)
"Wearable Art" for your kids! (Or you!)

Photo Prints

Your choice of high quality photo print art work.

$150 - Choose Two

$200 - Get All Four

Canvas Prints

$350 - All of the Above Plus Choose ONE Canvas Print

$500 - Get BOTH canvas prints.

Why and How You Can Help

As you can probably tell, my business partners and I have put a lot of time and energy into creating CritterKin. At this point we have our stories, characters, artwork, music, curriculum, and the basic layout and navigation for the app. What we lack is the money to hire the programmers and animators who will make it all run on the smart phones and tablets. In other words, we need your help to make the magic happen!

Here's what your contribution will help us to do:

  • Finalize our character profiles 
  • Create wireframes of all of the major elements of the interactive storybook/app 
  • Illustrations for the purposes of animating characters and settings 
  • Recording selected music, audio and narration 
  • Final illustrations, copywriting and design 
  • Final interface designs 
  • Programming 
  • Testing and quality assurance 
  • App provisioning and launch on Google Play and iTunes

Risks and challenges

CHALLENGE ONE: AMBITION
Frankly, the biggest risk we face is trying to take on too much! When we first started thinking about CritterKin, we imagined illustrated characters that could not only move but respond to a child in lifelike ways as well (think full Pixar-style animation). Our partners and members of the pet community urged us to temper our techno-geeky enthusiasm with common sense. What they really want and need, they said, is an app that focuses less on widgets and game scores, and more on stories, information and engagement. Children and families need an app that is entertaining and fun (so kids will want to use it), but also educational - providing practical, hands on experiences - so that children get a real sense of both the joy AND the responsibility of owning a pet. That's when we started thinking about how to use the CritterKin characters, with all their personality quirks, interests and habits, to help kids fall in love with and want to know more about animal care and welfare.

Now that we've tempered our enthusiasm with a healthy dose of practicality, and have a focused plan in place that includes a stellar curriculum, characters, stories, music, parental participation, app design, and overall goals, we need to manage the project. Thankfully, our team has a combined total of more than six decades of experience managing multi-million dollar projects, including children's media, educational products, and interactive initiatives.

CHALLENGE TWO: TECHNOLOGY
Technology changes. Yesterday, being able to take a photo with your phone was an amazing thing. Tomorrow, we might all be wearing Google glasses and wandering around in augmented realities. There's a chance that technology will shift so dramatically that we'll end up starting work on something only to need to shift gears.

Our approach to developing the CritterKin app uses open and sustainable technologies as much as possible. While there will be components that are native to the platforms we're distributing CritterKin on (iPads and Android tablets) we'll be using standard Internet-based creation tools as much as possible.

All the technology aside, we are using a tried and true method of entertainment that has been around since human beings first gathered around a campfire - storytelling. The technology is important, particularly as a distribution tool, but nothing is more important that creating compelling content that children will love.

CHALLENGE THREE: TIME
Our goal is to have the CritterKin app done within four months of funding. However, as with any creative project, there may be new approaches or unforeseen roadblocks that could delay the realization of our vision. While there is no chance that CritterKin will not be completed, there is a chance (however slim) that our deadlines might not be as firm as we would like them to be. As noted above, we have an experienced team. We know about deadlines and are good at meeting them. Heck, one of our partners was a journalist, and another launched "The Magic School Bus" television show.

We know we will be diligent in managing the risks on delivery times, but we can't say for sure that we won't come up with a last minute great idea that pushes things back a little.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    WOOF: A BIG, slobbery Virtual Lick of Gratitude from the CritterKin Pups: Thank you! We couldn’t do this without you.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    THE RAWHIDE CHEW:
    A personal email from CritterKin instructor Ms. Jenaia (aka Jena Ball) telling the story of the CritterKin pack for the FIRST time PLUS you'll receive a CritterKin Screensaver of the characters.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    KIBBLE and BITS: A copy of the CritterKin app...PLUS a personalized thank you e-mail from both Martin Keltz (Emmy award winning producer of "The Magic School Bus") and Ms. Jenaia...PLUS the special CritterKin Screensaver...PLUS the CritterKin Slideshow featuring all the CritterKin characters...PLUS your name listed on the "CritterKin Founders Wall" on our Website.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    BELLY RUBS (FOR EVERYONE): One copy of the CritterKin app....PLUS a personalized letter of thanks from the Emmy award winning producer of “The Magic School Bus,” Martin Keltz on CritterKin stationery (delivered as a printable PDF)....PLUS a commemorative silicone bracelet inscribed with the words, “I’m a CritterKin Kickstarter”....PLUS “CritterKin Wearable Art” Version I [Consists of a CritterKin dog tag (for humans) inscribed with the CritterKin logo and the message, “Love Me, love My Dog”].

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    FETCH (ESPECIALLY FOR KIDS): One copy of the CritterKin app....PLUS Part II of the “CritterKin Kids Pack” [Consists of Part I AND a 16-page, printable PDF coloring book]....PLUS a commemorative silicone bracelet inscribed with the words, “I’m a CritterKin Kickstarter”....PLUS your name on the CritterKin Founders Wall on the CritterKin web site

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    WET NOSE to WET NOSE: Two copies of the CritterKin app....PLUS all the “CritterKin Kids Pack” art....PLUS all the “CritterKin Wearable Art”....PLUS a commemorative silicone bracelet inscribed with the words, “I’m a CritterKin Kickstarter”....PLUS your name listed on both the Founders Wall on the CritterKin web site and in the CritterKin app’s credit roll.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    FOREVER HOME GALLERY: Two copies of the CritterKin app....PLUS two 8"x10" photo prints of our CritterKin Puppy Mill Survivors – 1 x “Ricky Bobby - Walk with Me” and 1 x “Ernest with printable PDF of the stories behind the art....PLUS a complete set of the “CritterKin Kids Pack” Art (slideshow, coloring book, drawing tutorial)....PLUS a complete set of the CritterKin Wearable Art (tee, two sets of tags, and bracelet)....PLUS your name listed on both the Founders Wall in the CritterKin app’s credit roll.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    FOREVER HOME GALLERY 2: Two copies of the CritterKin app....PLUS Four 8"x10" photo prints of our CritterKin Puppy Mill Survivors – 1 x “Ricky Bobby - Walk with Me,” 1 x “Ernest,” 1 x “Mariah,” and 1 x Ms. Jenaia with printable PDF of the stories behind the art....PLUS a complete set of the “CritterKin Kids Pack” Art (slideshow, coloring book, drawing tutorial)....PLUS a complete set of the CritterKin Wearable Art (tee, two sets of tags, and bracelet)....PLUS your name listed on both the Founders Wall in the CritterKin app’s credit roll.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    FOREVER HOME GALLERY 5: GET a stunning canvas signed and dated by Jena Ball. PLUS four copies of the CritterKin app for yourself, your friends, or to donate to an SPCA or rescue of your choice....PLUS CritterKin Collage Signed and Dated by Jena Ball (One stunning 16 x 20 horizontal “Walk with Me” print and four 8” x 8” images – 3 of CritterKin pups – Ernest, Mariah, and Clue, and 1 of Ms. Jenaia)....PLUS a complete set of the “CritterKin Kids Pack” Art (slideshow, coloring book, drawing tutorial)....PLUS a complete set of the CritterKin Wearable Art (tee, two sets of tags, and bracelet)....PLUS Your name listed as a CritterKin “Associate Producer” on the CritterKin app’s credit roll

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    FOREVER HOME GALLERY 5: GET TWO stunning canvases signed and dated by Jena Ball. PLUS four copies of the CritterKin app for yourself, your friends, or to donate to an SPCA or rescue of your choice....PLUS CritterKin Collage Signed and Dated by Jena Ball (One stunning 16 x 20 horizontal “Walk with Me” print and four 8” x 8” images – 3 of CritterKin pups – Ernest, Mariah, and Clue, and 1 of Ms. Jenaia)....PLUS a complete set of the “CritterKin Kids Pack” Art (slideshow, coloring book, drawing tutorial)....PLUS a complete set of the CritterKin Wearable Art (tee, two sets of tags, and bracelet)....PLUS Your name listed as a CritterKin “Associate Producer” on the CritterKin app’s credit roll

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    CRITTERKIN COLLECTOR: Ten copies of the CritterKin app for yourself, your friends, or to donate to an SPCA or rescue of your choice....PLUS one original, hand-drawn and signed pencil sketch of a never before seen CritterKin Pup by Jena Ball....PLUS a complete set of the “CritterKin Kids Pack” Art (slideshow, coloring book, drawing tutorial) ....PLUS a complete set of the CritterKin Wearable Art (tee, two sets of tags, and bracelet)....PLUS Your name listed as a CritterKin “Co-executive Producer” on the CritterKin app’s credit roll

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    CRITTERKIN CREATOR (Limit 10): Ten copies of the Critterkin app for yourself, your family, friends and SPCA/rescue org of your choice....PLUS Celebrate Your Pup *** We’ll create a character based on photos of your dog and include it and his/her name in the app. We’ll even throw in a signed, printed canvas of the original artwork!!! *** ....PLUS a complete set of the “CritterKin Kids Pack” Art (slideshow, coloring book, drawing tutorial) PLUS a complete set of the CritterKin Wearable Art (tee, two sets of tags, and bracelet)....PLUS Your name listed as a CritterKin “Co-Executive Producer” on the CritterKin app’s credit roll

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    DOG’S BEST FRIEND: Visit our audio/music studios in Toronto, Canada. We’ll fly you from anywhere in North America to Toronto for three days to attend one of our live recording sessions where you’ll meet the team, get a chance to share and record your story, and have a great time exploring a fantastic city. We'll cover flight, hotel and a gala dinner with the CritterKin team....PLUS you'll get a complete set of the “CritterKin Kids Pack” Art (slideshow, coloring book, drawing tutorial)....PLUS a complete set of the CritterKin Wearable Art (tee, two sets of tags, and bracelet)

    PLUS your name listed as a CritterKin “Associate Producer” on the CritterKin app’s credit roll

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Funding period

- (30 days)