Kat Albrecht is the founder ofÂ Missing PetÂ Partnership, a national non-profit that specializes in community-based lost pet services and a police officer turned petÂ detective. She also trains people in the the science of finding missing pets.Â The Missing Animal Response (pet detective)Â training courseÂ is offeredÂ online and is available to anyone residing anywhere.Â ForÂ Lost Pet Prevention MonthÂ (hosted byÂ PetHub),Â sheÂ shared stories and advice from her work as a pet detective. You can read part I here.
- Why did you start your business?
As an experiment, I took my retired cadaver dog, Rachel, and trained her to find lost pets. In her first four searches she found two missing cats and one missing dog. Since that day, my passion has been to make these services available in all communities. I formed Missing Pet Partnership, a national nonprofit in 2001, launched the first-ever pet detective academy in 2005, and have been training volunteer and professional pet detectives ever since.
You can read about my early pet detective work that include many of Rachelâs pet searches in my bookÂ Pet Tracker: The Amazing Story of Rachel the K-9 Pet DetectiveÂ (available as an ebook, softcover, and audiobook) atÂ http://tinyurl.com/PetTrackerBook.
MAR Cat Detection Dog Susie greets Target Cat Cheeto with a kiss.
Iâve been doing this work since 1997 and have had so many âmemorableâ experiences! I guess I would say the time I was flown to New York City by the Today Show to search an apartment for a loose snake was memorable. A violinist who lived alone opened a cabinet to find a giant shed snake skin in her pantry! She did not own a snake and was too afraid to sleep or stay in her apartment. I was flown out on a red-eye flight with Rachel my search dog and an infrared camera.
It was a surreal experience to be in San Francisco one day and in NYC the next with camera crews following our every move. We searched very inch of that tiny apartment and did not find the snake, but we did locate the hole in the floor where the snake had entered and then exited after depositing his skin. The violinist was grateful for our help.
We select dogs that love to play with other dogs and that become excited when another dog runs away and hides from them. We progressively train the dog to follow a scent trail after having them sniff the scent from that âtarget dogâ which has run from them and is hiding. It takes anywhere from 12 to 18 months to properly train a dog in MAR Trailing work.
The second type of dog we train are MAR Cat Detection dogs. We select dogs that love cats and that become hyper excited when they smell the scent of a cat. We train these dogs to detect the airborne scent of concealed cats and utilize the dog as a search tool when we conduct a slow, methodical search of a missing catâs territory. It only takes around 3 to 4 months to train a cat detection dog because we are basically shaping their existing behavior of excitement towards cats.
If anyone wants to learn more about how to train a dog in MAR work you can check out my book, Dog Detectives: Train Your Dog to Find Lost Pets.
|Trainer Kat Albrecht introduces MAR Cat Detection Dog in training to Target Cat Myron.|
- Can you search for any type of pet? Does the process differ?
The pet detectives that I train occasionally are asked to search for different species like turtles, ferrets, birds and iguanas. Many of the principles that we use to recover missing dogs and cats are also used to search for other species. One of the most common techniques that we use for nearly every species is switching from using small, white, 8 Â½ X 11 pieces of papers used as âflyersâ to instead creating giant neon REWARD LOST DOG posters that utilize what we call the 5+5+55 MPH Rule.
You want to use five words that drivers passing by can read in five seconds when traveling fifty five MPH. We have used signs like these to help recover countless numbers of missing dogs and cats but also for other lost species. It is critical to capture the attention of people driving through an area that a companion animal is missing, and these types of signs are able to do that.
Many people falsely believe that a âbloodhoundâ or a âtracking dogâ is the answer to finding their missing pet and yet the majority of lost pets that weâve been able to help recover have been due to using the big, neon posters.