How your cell phone could find a home for lost and abandoned animals
Logan Hing’s commitment to animal welfare started when a puppy was brought to his doorstep two years ago. The four-week-old puppy, who Hing named Jade, was given to him by a man who found her in a nearby veld. Assuming she had strayed from home, Hing put up posters and posted on social media – to no response. Either she had been abandoned or her owner couldn’t be found. Hing took Jade in. But the experience left him wanting to do more for other animals that go missing on a daily basis. The moment was the catalyst to an initiative that improves the safety of missing pets around South Africa.
Hing realised that it was very difficult to reunite an animal with its owners through traditional methods of communication. He created a mobile app to connect people in close proximity to each other in the event of a missing pet. “Oh Whizkers is South Africa’s first free mobile app to reunite lost pets with their families,” Hing says. The app allows users to either post a photo of a missing or found animal, which then uses geolocation tags to alert everyone else using the app within a 20-kilometre radius. Rather than hoping someone sees a poster or message on social media, Hing’s app passes on the information directly to relevant people, which in turn ensures that pets are returned home sooner. And all this because of one lost abandoned puppy. “Since Jade came into our lives, it inspired the project to become a reality,” Hing says.
Hing has since improved the app to promote community involvement. He hopes that it will bring together nearby pet owners and encourage volunteering at animal welfare organisations. As anyone can download the free app, it’s a way for everyone to get involved in making sure that animals in their neighbourhood end up happy, healthy and looked after. Thanks to Hing’s innovative thinking – and Jade – thousands more missing pets may have a better chance of finding their way back home.