A thermal imaging drone was used to find a tiny Chihuahua-Pomerania cross lost for five days on a mountainside in South Wales.
Cherry, diminutive 5-year-old pooch, was out walking with her human Katinka Slingsby, an RSPCA animal care assistant, when she vanished.
“This is a walk she does often and literally there was no sign of her disappearring one minute she was chasing sticks the next she was gone,” Slingsby wrote in her anguished plea on Facebook.
Desperate to find her beloved dog, her sister and father set up a Facebook page, Missing Cherry, and crowdfunding a rescue mission, which quickly raised £1,250 to contract a helicopter to search the rough and unforgiving landscape from above.
“She is a tiny Chihuahua cross who came to us from the RSPCA and following a rough start to life, my family have given her such happiness, joy and a second chance at life and she’s done the same for them,” the GoFundMe page pleaded. “Devastated doesn’t even begin to describe how we are feeling.”
A local caving club even joined the search poking through old mine shafts and other holes looking for any sign of Cherry. And then a local drone company offered its services. Resource Group Unmanned Aviation Services fitted a drone with a thermal camera.
“After being missing for 5 days, with search parties constantly on the hunt for little Cherry, our team was able to identify a possible heat source. The search party was directed to the location and after digging through an old mining tunnel, Dan – one of our pilots – was able to rescue Cherry!”
It took 20 minutes for the company to find her. Cherry had been missing for five days.
“We are delighted to have been able to reunite Cherry with her owner,” John Larkin of Resource Group said. “This just goes to show the wide spread applications of drone technology from aerial inspection and surveying to search and rescue situations; highlighting the breadth of our Unmanned Aviation Services.”
The Slingsby family was over the moon, posting immediately to the Facebook page.
“❤SHE’S BEEN FOUND, SHE’S SAFE!!!❤
They’re just coming off the mountain to take her straight to the vets for a check over. Updates and thank you’s to follow but NONE of it would have been achievable without you. So much love and thanks for each and every one of you ❤💜💙💚”
But it wasn’t easy. You can see here how hard it was to location and retrieve the wayward pup and little wonder ground searches had trouble locating her – even in broad daylight.
And, Cherry is doing just fine.
And, there’s even more to this happy ending.
All the crowdfunding money is going to a number of non-profits and charitable organizations as the Slingsby family has decided to pay-it-forward. And they’ve started a website to help others find their lost dogs.