It starts with a cat chase, you lose all sense of time and before you know it you’re in the dog pound. What you’d give to be back home, wagging your tail and promising never do it again.
Most dogs aren’t lost; they’re out on a little adventure. This dog knows where she lives. The open gate was too much temptation. In fact while the ranger’s giving her owner a bit of a lecture, she may even nick out again for a few moments.
Usually when a dog is lost, the ranger picks up the dog, then checks its registration or description back on the office computer, before trying to find its owner.
It’s time consuming. So Domestic Animal Services in Canberra decided to ask Australia’s science agency CSIRO for some help in devising a better system.
“Basically they wanted the field officers to be able to look up the dogs details out in the field and find out where it lives and if it had any prior convictions or if it was dangerous.”
CSIRO’s Catherine Daly visited the Canberra Pound to find out how she could help them, and came up with a system called FIDO, which collates all known information about dogs and their owners in a hand held computer. So now when the dog is found, its details can be checked and the owner contacted, in the field.
“What we used to have to do before they developed the FIDO system was, we’d be out, say in Belconnen, and we’d pick up a dog, I’d say the weekend was our worse time. During the week we’d have to ring into the office and if the girls were busy on the phones, you’d have to wait there with your other jobs not getting done properly. With FIDO we can check in immediately. We’re getting them home, we’re cutting costs and we’re not driving all over town for no particular reason.”
It’s an example of science finding a simple but effective solution for a time consuming and heart-wrenching problem.