Tim's Take: Finding Rover - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tim's Take: Finding Rover

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

It is a dog owner's greatest fear.

"I lost a dog years ago for three hours," said Savannah dog owner Kathy Waters. "And that's the first time I realized how a mother would feel if she lost her child."

And it creates a helplessness as agonizing as the emptiness of a missing pet.

"You just put fliers out there and call different agencies," said Lynn Jarrell. "You hunt around the neighborhood and talk to people where you walk your dog."

At least that's what you used to do if you lost your dog.

Now you can go all CSI on the situation, because there's an app for that.

"[It's available to] anybody with a phone, anybody with the app, and it's all free,'' said John Polimeno, of findingrover.com. "You can just take a picture and identify an animal and save it."

Finding Rover is a website that uses facial recognition software originally developed for law enforcement, but now adapted for dogs.

Just upload a photo of your lost dog or a photo of a dog you've found, and the algorithms go to work matching the two.

"Our goal," said Polimeno, "is 100 million animals worldwide in the next five years."

Talk about technology going to the dogs.

And maybe a cyber search is a little over the top, but if it reunites one wayward pet with one heartbroken owner, why not?

Finding Rover could even help some owners find their way to the present.

"I have the old, antique flip phone," said Waters. "But this is a good reason to get it, to upgrade to a smartphone."

And have a lot more brain power working for you if ever you have to go looking for your dog.

Copyright 2014 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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