10/13/2017 9:20PM - Our story has just begun...
Pet experts panel provided many insights into challenges with reuniting lost pets with their owners. Even for micro-chipped dogs return-to-owner rate was only 52% and for cats only 38%. One of the problems that was identified is inaccurate, out-of-date or non-existent contact information for specific micro-chip pet ID numbers. When pet owners change, people move to new address, phone numbers and e-mails get changed pet owners don't always pro-actively update pet registry with this new information for their pet micro-chip ID. Some owners may don't know how to have this information updated or generally lack technical skills to research this information on-line.
Current lost pet search on web sites like http://petharbor.com/ is very slow, unintuitive and manual process that require pet owner that lost their pet to visit the site multiple time a day to see if there lost pet appear in one of the pet shelter databases in St.Louis area that is shared with the PetHarbor website. We believe that data is updated hourly from shelters in some cases in that database. When contact information for micro-chipped pet is not correct pet shelter has poor chance reaching the owner. Even if we can increase return-to-owner rate by only few percentage points for micro-chipped pet we should help thousands of pet owners reunite with their pets while decreasing financial burden on pet shelters.
Proposed solution (“Team-Aldo LostPet_SearchBot”) will make it easier for owners of micro-chipped dogs and cats with inaccurate contact records to get automatically notified by e-mail or phone text message as soon as the animal with specific micro-chip ID appears first in http://petharbor.com/ database from different St.Louis area shelters. Solution will allow pet owner to subscribe to alert on their pet micro-chip ID number with their accurate e-mail address, phone number for text messages and voicemail. Solution automatic scheduled background process will execute on periodic bases (every hour) and using micro-chip ID information query http://petharbor.com/ database for specific ID for all participating pet Shelters within 200 miles of St. Louis. When positive match for micro-chip ID is found by automatic LostPet_SearchBot then pet owner will get notified by e-mail and text message with information about found match record in PetHarbor database, as well as notification to pet Shelter by e-mail with owner provided information can be forwarded at that time.
What it does
See solution section above in “Inspiration” section.
How I built it
Unfortunately technical implementation only got into planning stage.
http://petharbor.com/ website was analyzied and search URL format /query was “reverse-engineered” to come up with API for submitting automatic remote search request by micro-chip ID number. Solution was planned to be implemented using Django Python Web Framework, with python scripting on server backed for scheduled automated process for sending periodic repeated search request to PetHarbor database. Twillio API (https://www.twilio.com/docs/api/rest) was planned to be used for phone text messages and voicemail notifications.
Example URL queries that LostPet_SearchBot could used, micro-chip ID will be replaced with the one pet owner registers
Challenges I ran into
With amount of time I was able to invest this weekend unfortunately I was not able to complete technical implementation of the solution (“Team-Aldo LostPetSearchBot”_) .
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I was able to came up with the design and architecture for interesting solution for specific problem that I don't believe current lost pet websites or PetHarbor solves.
What I learned
Learned a lot about challenges Pet Shelters face and pet owners that trying reunite with their lost pets. I need to practice more to get my technical skills back to the level they used to be 10 years ago.
What's next for Team-Aldo
Spend more time with Aldo (5 month old), our family dog.
Make sure Aldo's micro-chip ID information is up-to date.
In addition get dog license/id tags for Aldo created.
Possibly register Aldo on http://www.barkcode.com/ website, since it looked like good service and was one of the other ideas I had researched when realized that solution for it already existed.