Are Drones The Future Of Dog Care?
Picture this: You come home after a long day at the office, and Fido wags and yips and barks, ready to go for a walk. You’re exhausted, so instead of leashing him up and heading out, you fire up your drone. While you cook dinner, you monitor your pup’s drone-led trek around the block from your laptop.
Or, at least, the technology is there, but will people—or dogs—want to utilize drones for pet care? British animal rescuer Brian Wheelhouse discovered that chasing a drone was the perfect way for hyperactive dogs to burn off excess steam. Rather than walking the 35 dogs in his care before bedtime, he allows them to chase the drone in a fenced-in yard. He doesn’t allow them to catch it for fear of injury, but it encourages them to get lots of extra exercise.
With both technologies—the dog walker and the toy—the human is at least superficially involved. The dog walking drone needs a set path and human monitoring, while the toy has to be steered.
But will drone technology catch on for pet care?
Esquire magazine argues not. In a brief opinion piece that obliterated the dog-walking drone, John Hendrickson wrote, “He’s devastated when you leave in the morning and he stares out the window all day awaiting your return. Your walks are the highlight of his day, your special time to bond and breathe and explore together, if only for a few minutes, if only around the block.”
A Huffington Post reporter agreed: “What’s the point of owning a dog if you automate the whole experience?”
While drone technology may not have a realistic application for pet care, there are other uses that could provide serious benefit to homeless animals. Earlier this year, a rescue group in Houston proposed using drones to track stray dogs. Drones are a fast, effective way to map stray populations without requiring lots of hands-on man hours.
The concept has even been utilized (humorously) to promote pet adoption.
Drones to walk your dog? Probably not (well, not until they add a poop ‘n’ scoop attachment, which will be sold separately). Drones to find and save homeless animals? Yes, please!
More by Maggie Marton