It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. Sometimes, though, the ingenuity born of necessity can produce hilarious results. And in the age of COVID-19, we are all in need of stories that lift us up. A story we’ve found through news outlets about an especially creative pet owner tells a tale that you may find uplifting in every sense of the word.
Man’s Best Friend
Today’s story takes us to Cyprus, an island nation in the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Turkey. As of March 2020, fewer than 100 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in Cyprus, while over a thousand have sprung up in neighboring Turkey. The national atmosphere in Cyprus is tense. The Cypriot people are taking every reasonable precaution, including self-isolation, social distancing, and limiting travel. Still, life must go on, and daily responsibilities must be fulfilled. This leads us to our especially inventive hero, Mr. Vakis Demetriou and his best friend, a white Pomeranian named Oliver.
Cyprus is currently on lockdown, which means a widespread quarantine is in effect. Public spaces like malls, restaurants, nightclubs, and libraries are closed. While going outdoors isn’t strictly prohibited, many people are wary of running into people who could be carrying the virus. Though he was concerned about possible infection, Demetriou knew every dog needs to go outside to do its, um, take care of its own responsibility. His solution was a lofty one (pun intended).
Mr. Demetriou’s isolation problem led him to a quirky solution. He attached one end of a long leash to Oliver’s collar, and the other end to a four-propeller, remote control drone. From the small balcony of his apartment, He was able to control the drone and keep it steady while making sure his dog stayed safe. Luckily, there had been little traffic since the lockdown took effect. Demetriou also managed to film nearly one minute of Oliver’s special walk.
He didn’t just do it for laughs, though. It is clear this is an owner who cares about his pet’s well-being. He first posted the video on Facebook on March 18, with the message “5th day [of] quarantine. Stay home safe but don’t forget your dog’s happiness.” Who would have thought a bit of pet love mixed with some technological ingenuity would go viral?
On Twitter, the video has received over 4.4 million views and nearly 161,000 likes to date. The original Facebook post has been shared over 44,000 times. The story has also been picked up by the UK’s Daily Mail, Business Insider, New York Daily News, and the website Futurism.com.
This is not to say that Mr. Demetriou and his unique pet care method doesn’t have detractors. One rather cynical user tweeted, “I don’t see the drone cleaning up” while another asked “Why would anyone get a dog if they don’t wanna bother walking the poor thing?” Others have noted that a dog any larger than a Pomeranian (averaging between 4 and 8 pounds) would drag the drone to the ground and use it as a chew toy. We must admit, it often seems like the dog is leading the drone, instead of the other way around.
An Old Dog and a Not-So-New Trick
You may be surprised to learn dog-walking drones are not exactly a new idea. A little over three years ago, a drone company attempted to sell such a device. It suffered from many of the problems brought up in the above Twitter comments. Another issue was that the drone was prohibitively expensive and hard to acquire. According to the UK’s Daily Mail, the bare-bones model retailed for $2,590, could not be ordered online, and was only available in one showroom in north-central England. In addition, most drone laws require operators to have a clear view of the vehicle at all times. That means no relaxing on the couch while your flying machine takes Fido out.
Nevertheless, It Worked!
In spite of all the potential problems, Mr. Demetriou’s plan worked in a heartening and hilarious way. It is refreshing to see someone use his creative faculties in a time when it is all too easy to give in to fear and despair. Besides, the pooch looks happy enough strutting his stuff down the streets of Limassol, Cyprus’ second-largest city, under the watchful but distant eye of his caring owner. And who knows? Perhaps Mr. Demetriou’s next drone will include a scoop.