A woman from South Yorkshire, England has made an incredible impact on the lives of hundreds of people by using her drone pilot skills to find lost dogs. Erica Hart, 40, told the BBC that over the past seven years she had “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 had lost his dog. Hart located the dog within 15 minutes. “It 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 saw that expression on his face because he had been missing for almost four days, it was just a thing that, yes, I can do something and I can make myself useful and be a pillar for the community and help unite loved ones with their dogs,” she continued.
What’s truly amazing is that she doesn’t charge a dime for her services and rarely accepts compensation unless the job requires her to use a lot of gas. Given that she locates animals that are priceless to their families, she could easily charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for her services.
‘I come home some days and have spent £50 ($57) out of my own pocket and found myself with nothing to put gas in the car to find a dog,’ she said at the Daily Mail.
Her success in reuniting lost dogs with their families led her to create HARTSAR, a Facebook community where people can hire her services to find their lost dogs.
When Hart goes in search of a lost dog, it’s like a military exercise. His drone is equipped with a thermal energy camera that makes a warm-blooded animal easily identifiable in its cooler surroundings. The drone gives him an incredible vantage point that makes seeing a dog much easier than looking on the ground.
From there, she positions people on the ground to intercept the missing animal.
Recently, she helped find Jamie and Leah Hollinshed’s black schnauzer Hilda in just 20 minutes after the couple tried to locate the dog for hours. Time is running out because a storm is brewing.
“What she’s done is awesome. She’s a hero, a real superhero,” Jamie told the Daily Mail. “We had had a few hours without sighting, but she spotted her within 20 minutes. It shows how good these drones can be, we were so relieved when she found it.
Hart’s brilliant technique for finding lost puppies has already helped hundreds of people, but her story could save countless more. This new technology is expected to be used by law enforcement and rescue shelters around the world to reunite people with their lost fur babies.
If every city in the world had an Erica Hart with a drone, hardly anyone would lose a pet.
Hart’s innovation is amazing, but for her, it’s all about animals. “When I post it on Facebook and see the comments, I lie in bed with a smile on my face and understand why I’m doing it,” she told the Daily Mail. “I do it for the love of dogs.”