How dogs and drones are slashing rescue times in thewake of natural disaster.

An unlikely dynamic duo is changing the game for Swiss rescue operations needing to move quickly after natural disasters.

Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.

Dogs...

Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.


...and drones.

Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.

The Swiss Federation of Civil Drones has partnered with the Swiss Association for Search and Rescue Dogs (REDOG) to complete a handful of missions — including one this week.

On Aug. 23, 2017, journalists at a press event were being shown how the dogs and drones work together during a rescue exercise on a grassy plain outside Zurich, when, incredibly, an actual landslide occurred in the Swiss Alps near the Italian border.

Drones and dogs were among the resources deployed to the region — a popular area for hikers.

As of this writing, eight people — from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland — were still missing following the landslide that rocked the remote village of Bondo, CNN reported.

The tragic event — which forced an estimated four million cubic meters of mud and rock plummeting down the side of the Piz Cengalo mountain in southeastern Switzerland, the BBC reported — illustrates how vital it is to have resources like trained dogs and drone technology at the organizations' disposal.

Both organizations aim to eventually have drones complement the dogs' work on every rescue event.

“This allows us to have an eye in the air and a nose on the ground,” REDOG president Romaine Kuonen told AFP.

In the wake of natural disasters, drones are particularly helpful at scanning areas unsafe for people (and dogs) to venture, such as the dangerous terrain surrounding cliffs. At the same time, dogs are especially handy at sniffing out those who need rescuing in heavily wooded areas, where operating drones can be difficult.

Allowing dogs and drones to, in a sense, divide and conquer larger areas in the precious hours following a natural disaster — where rescue teams are racing against the clock to save lives, as they did in the wake of the Swiss avalanche — is truly changing the game.

Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.

“The main benefit is to gain more time, to be more efficient and to be faster to find the missing person,” Dominique Peter of the Swiss Federation of Civil Drones explained to AFP.

Stay up to speed on the news unfolding in Bondo, and learn more about Swiss efforts to combine dogs and drones to save lives in a video by AFP below:

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

A young boy tried to grab the Pope's skull cap

A boy of about 10-years-old with a mental disability stole the show at Pope Francis' weekly general audience on Wednesday at the Vatican auditorium. In front of an audience of thousands the boy walked past security and onto the stage while priests delivered prayers and introductory speeches.

The boy, later identified as Paolo, Jr., greeted the pope by shaking his hand and when it was clear that he had no intention of leaving, the pontiff asked Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, the head of protocol, to let the boy borrow his chair.

The boy's activity on the stage was clearly a breach of Vatican protocol but Pope Francis didn't seem to be bothered one bit. He looked at the child with a sense of joy and wasn't even disturbed when he repeatedly motioned that he wanted to remove his skull cap.

Keep Reading Show less