A dog lover has been hailed a ‘real-life superhero’ for using her drone to reunite families with their lost pups—most recently, just in time before a ‘deadly’ storm hit.
September 9th was a normal Friday for Erica Hart, as she abandoned her shopping trip to rush home and launch a drone search for a schnauzer before a rumbling thunderstorm made things worse.
Jamie Hollinshead phoned her from Clayton, Yorkshire, to say his rescue dog Hilda had bolted from their garden and they’d already searched for two hours.
The 33-year-old rushed to the last-known location and within 20 minutes spied the escaped pooch running down a residential road.
When the two-year-old dog darted into a nearby field and kept moving, Erica was able to direct Jamie and his wife to the best spot for intercepting her.
The couple from Clayton, who adopted the rescue dog this past April, has hailed Erica a ‘real-life superhero’ and believes Hilda could have been killed had she not been found before the thunderstorm hit minutes later.
“What she did is brilliant. She’s a hero, a real superhero.
“She saved her life. She could have been run over or the storms could have panicked her—you just think the worst straight away.”
“Erica was in constant communication with us. She knew what she was doing and where to look,” said Leah, who had no idea how the dog escaped their fenced yard, but thought it must have been spooked by the thunder.
“As it was getting later, we thought we’d never see her again. It brought a tear to my eye when we got her back.”
Erica, from Goldthorpe, joked, “It was great to see the owner’s face when they’d been chasing the dog for hours, then I turn up and it’s over in 20 minutes.
“Thank god we found her when we did. The storms started minutes after I got the drone down.”
“Once that drone’s above the dog, it’s not going anyway because I can guide people in quick enough. It’s like a military operation.
The humble drone operator believes she’s rescued more than 200 dogs in seven years and has started a Facebook group where users share lost dog posts and Erica shares the happy endings.
She doesn’t charge any money for the service and says she does it purely for the love of dogs – even if it means spending money on fuel for her car instead of treating herself.
“I’ve gone without stuff for myself to put petrol in the car to find a dog (but) 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.
“Thank you so much Erica Hart for all your help,” wrote one fan. “You’re a star.”