Meet the pet detective who has helped track down and reunite 330 lost dogs with their owners for free—using a thermal imaging drone.
She doesn’t accept a penny for her work, saying that the joy when an owner is reunited with their animal is all the reward she needs.
Erica Hart, 44, got her first drone as a present from her father in April 2018.
After practicing with it, Her dad told Erica a dog was missing in their local area and suggested she use her drone to help find it.
Erica called the owner of the missing dog—a schnauzer that went missing on a walk—and went out to help him find it, which she did.
Word spread and Erica said it “snowballed” from there. She has since been on 330 dog rescue missions with her drone. She’s even kept a few of the pooches she’s found. From Scotland to Somerset in the UK, Erica is the first one called in the nation for such missions.
“I don’t just help find dogs though, I have found, cats, emus, cows and helped mountain rescue locate missing people,” said Erica. “It is in my nature to help out.”
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“I do everything for the love of dogs. Imagine not seeing your mum for 10 years and then seeing her all of a sudden—it is that feeling.”
She estimated she’s been through 30 drones since she started out, and reiterated that the human element of the work is the most important for her.
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“I have seen large, 6-foot men burst into tears; it is priceless to see their faces,” she remembers. “Some people can’t have kids so they will get a dog, they are comfort for some people.”
Erica is on call seven days a week and has been out looking on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The longest rescue Erica has been part of lasted 12 days but she said the length of the rescue depends on whether the animal missing goes into fight or flight mode.
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