Put down the fliers and the staple gun. Finding your lost pet just got easier thanks to an app that uses facial recognition software to match lost pets with their owners.
Called Finding Rover, the app is being praised as a good way to get lost pets returned to their owners quickly. Here's how it works:
Pet owners create a free account on the app and upload photos of their pet. When a pet is lost, the owner sends out a call to local animal shelters, vets and other members. Animal shelters and other groups using the app also upload images of all the pets in their care. That's when the software works its magic by zooming in on the facial features of the animal — particularly around the eyes and nose — to identify a pet and find a match. If anyone finds a match, the owner is notified about the location of their pet.
Finding Rover isn't the first app to use facial recognition software to connect lost pets with owners. A similar app called PiP was released a few years ago. But PiP never really took off because it required owners to pay for yearly subscriptions to keep their pets' info on the site. Finding Rover is free for both pet owners and animal shelters to use.
The software will work best when it has a solid pool of profiles and lost pets to match up. That's why many animal shelters are latching on to the idea, snapping pictures of all of the animals that find their way to them, and uploading owner info once a match has been made. Over time, that makes their job easier and helps them return lost pets to their owners with less stress for everyone involved — especially the pets.
Of course, not all animal shelters are utilizing the Finding Rover app, so it still makes sense to make sure that your dog has a microchip that is linked to your contact information as well as a good collar with your phone number on the tag.