Fire Chief Matt Verley used his own drone to help return a two-year-old dog with its distraught owner. Missing since Christmas Day, the Border Collie, Felix, required a search and rescue operation — including a rope climb — that involved scaling a 60-foot drop on the Pacific Coast just north of Indian Beach, Oregon — about 200 miles southwest of Salem, the state capital. Felix had apparently fallen down the cliff.
Verley, head of the Hamlet Volunteer Fire Department 20 miles inland from Indian Beach was just one of several local firefighters who worked to retrieve the beloved dog, according to The Daily Astorian which first reported the news.
Felix had been on a hike Christmas afternoon with family when the curious pup disappeared. It took until the following morning for him to be spotted — only after the drone spied the dog down the oceanside cliff.
Felix's owner Sarah Stremming posted to her Facebook page when the dog went missing, and specifically requesting a drone to help spot the dog as they couldn't see him, and crashing waves were making it hard for Felix to hear her, she believed.
While reports of drones spying on people, and delivering illegal goods are growing more common — having some eyes in the sky can also be a boon. Drones are being used, for example, by animal conservation groups to help spy potential poachers
Yes, the Federal Aviation Administration has just re-instated rules requiring anyone with a drone weighing .55 pounds and up register their device. And yes, there are tight restrictions on where and how you can fly a unmanned aerial vehicle — airports are a solid no — but sometimes drones can be an invaluable tool.
Just ask Sarah Stremming, Felix's owner, who clearly looked overjoyed to be re-united with her beloved dog when Seaside Fire Lieutenant Genesee Dennis climbed back up cliff— the dog in tow.
"The most difficult part about this rescue was the fact it was a dog," Dennis told The Daily Astorian. "You can't reason with a dog, and they can't really help."