With all of the information that technology brings to our fingertips, we can often feel that we have the resources to answer any question that comes to mind. Unfortunately, when it comes to certain emergencies, the internet may have no answer or solution to resolve our problems. Take lost pets, for example: studies show that our internet-heavy habits have trained us to click on organic search results 79% of the time, but what keywords do you use to find your missing cat or dog? This situation is even more confusing during a disaster, like a flood or hurricane, which can often frighten pets into unfamiliar areas and displaces people who may recognize them. With these challenges, pet owners may despair of ever seeing their beloved animal again.
However, a team of computer scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder want to change that. Thanks to their online tool, which recently received its final approvals, pets and their owners will hopefully be able to reunite in the event of a disaster.
Called EmergencyPetMatcher, the website will be launched at http://www.emergencypetmatcher.com during the next disaster. Anyone who loses or finds a pet will be able to create reports for the animals, and even suggest matches between pictures other users have uploaded. These matches can be voted “up” or “down” by users, and once enough positive votes are accumulated, an email will be sent to the original posters, recommending that they contact each other.
EmergencyPetMatcher creates a one-stop site for people who have lost or found pets. While many people use social media to accomplish this purpose, a specific site could streamline the reunion process. The team hopes that by reuniting owners and pets during a natural disaster, both will be able to better endure the psychological pain and stress that occurs over the course of a tragedy.
While the website is new and has yet to be launched, other applications have already been suggested. For example, organizers are also working on a tool to digitally report animals who are brought to shelters and evacuation centers.