A woman in South Yorkshire, England, has had an incredible impact on hundreds of people’s lives by using her skills as a drone pilot to find lost dogs. Erica Hart, 40, told the BBC that over the past seven years she has “easily” reunited at least 200 lost dogs with their families.
It all started when she was playing with her new drone near a wooded area and a man told her he’d lost his dog. Hart located the pooch within 15 minutes. “It just went from there basically,” she told the BBC. “It’s like winning the lottery, it’s absolutely priceless.”
“When I first found that first dog and seeing that expression on his face because he’d been missing nearly four days, it was just a thing that, yeah, I can do something and I can make myself useful and be a pillar to the community and help unite loved ones with their dogs,” she continued.
What’s truly incredible is that she doesn’t charge a penny for her services and rarely accepts any compensation unless the job required her to use a lot of gasoline. Given the fact she locates animals that are priceless to their families, she could easily charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for her services.
“I go home some days and I’ve spent £50 ($57) out of my own pocket and I’ve gone without stuff for myself to put petrol in the car to find a dog,” she told the Daily Mail.
Her success in reuniting lost dogs with their families led her to create HARTSAR, a Facebook community where people can enlist her services to find their lost dogs.
When Hart goes searching for a lost dog it’s like a military exercise. Her drone is equipped with a thermal energy camera that makes a warm-blooded animal easily identifiable among its cooler surroundings. The drone gives her an incredible vantage point that makes it a lot easier to see a dog than by searching on the ground.
From there, she positions people on the ground to intercept the missing pet.
Recently, she helped find Jamie and Leah Hollinshed’s black schnauzer Hilda in just 20 minutes after the couple had been trying to locate the dog for hours. Time was of the essence because a storm was on its way.
“What she did is brilliant. She’s a hero, a real superhero,” Jamie told the Daily Mail. “We’d had a couple of hours with no sighting but she spotted her in 20 minutes. It just shows how good these drones can be, we were so relieved when she found her.”
Hart’s brilliant technique for finding lost pups has already helped hundreds of people, but her story may save countless more. This new technology should be used by law enforcement and rescue shelters across the world to reunite people with their lost fur babies.
If every town in the world had an Erica Hart with a drone, hardly anyone would lose a pet.
Hart’s innovation is incredible, but for her, it’s all about the animals. “When I post it on Facebook and I see the comments I lay in bed with a smile on my face and realize why I do it,” she told the Daily Mail. “I do it for the love of the dogs.”