Tri-State Nonprofit Uses Drones and Search & Rescue Techniques to Find Lost Pets

In a heartwarming display of innovation and compassion, a Tri-State nonprofit called FidoTracker is revolutionizing the way lost pets are found. By combining high-tech drones with techniques, the organization has achieved a remarkable 70% success rate in reuniting pets with their owners, reports WCPO.

The Birth of FidoTracker

FidoTracker was launched in 2021 by Todd May, a firefighter and Director of AFRS Emergency Drone Services. May and his team had been assisting with dog rescues alongside their primary duties, but realized the need for a dedicated service. “We wanted to find a way to build up the dog rescue portion,” May explained.

How It Works

When a pet goes missing, FidoTracker's operators spring into action. Drone pilots are typically on the scene within an hour, provided they have clearance to fly in the area. The drones are equipped with thermal imaging technology, allowing them to detect the heat signatures of mammals, even in extreme weather conditions.

“Once we locate that heat signature, we zoom in on it to confirm that that's the dog that we're looking for,” May said. “We convert that to a map pin, and then we send it to the dog owner. That leads them right to the dog, normally within three to six feet.”

A Lifesaving Service

For pet owners like Stephanie Dawes, FidoTracker's services can be a lifeline. In December 2022, Dawes's two dogs, connected on a double leash, broke free in Caesar Creek State Park just hours before sub-zero temperatures hit the area.

“I was just beyond upset and thought that there was no way that they could survive the night,” Dawes recalled.

After posting a plea on Facebook, Dawes connected with May. “He called me at like 3 a.m. and was like, ‘I have some equipment that might help,'” she said. After a five-hour search, the drone pilots located the dogs in a brush thicket, a spot where they would have been nearly impossible to find without the drone's assistance.

A Community Effort

FidoTracker's services come at a modest cost of $8 per month for members. Initially, May provided the service for free, but the costs became unsustainable. While the fees cover expenses, most of the organization's drone pilots still volunteer their time and expertise.

Zander Parshall, a drone pilot with FidoTracker, emphasizes the emotional impact of their work: “You don't understand until it happens to you. Your loved one is missing. Your pet goes missing. That's a family member that's missing.”

FidoTracker's innovative approach to finding lost pets is making a significant difference in the lives of pet owners across the Tri-State area. By harnessing the power of technology and the dedication of volunteers, the organization is providing a vital service that brings families back together.

As FidoTracker continues to expand its reach, more pet owners can rest assured knowing that help is just a phone call away.

Get your Part 107 Certificate

Pass the test and take to the skies with the Pilot Institute. We have helped thousands of people become airplane and commercial drone pilots. Our courses are designed by industry experts to help you pass FAA tests and achieve your dreams.

pilot institute dronexl

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. The content, images, and intellectual property on this website are protected by copyright law. Reproduction or distribution of any material without prior written permission from is strictly prohibited. For permissions and inquiries, please contact us first.

FTC: is an Amazon Associate and uses affiliate links that can generate income from qualifying purchases. We do not sell, share, rent out, or spam your email.

Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

Articles: 3150

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.