Prior to setting out on a search, Deborah conducts a comprehensive consultation with the owner to determine the facts because in some cases a search is not possible.
“We had a situation where there were 13 cats and 2 dogs in the home,” she recalled, “so there was no clear scent for the missing animal.”
Using her minivan as a command post, Deborah takes anywhere from two to four search dogs depending on the situation. How long a scent is good for depends on many factors, including the climate, subsequent weather conditions, and the skills of a particular tracking dog.
“When I’m looking for a pet it’s usually days after they went missing,” she explains. “So I’m always having to play catch up. People don’t realize how many miles an animal can travel in a day.”
She once tracked an eight pound dachshund that ended up in a field three miles from home. While most of her calls involve a missing dog or cat she has found a fugitive ferret from Florence. One of her most heartwarming stories involved a 4 1/2 lb Chihuahua that got lost after a car rollover accident on I-40 between Kingman and Seligman. After three nights on her own with temperatures dipping to the teens, fresh snow and coyotes in the area, the little dog was found by Deborah’s search dogs, alive and unharmed. Even if she isn’t hired to search for a pet, she’s happy to give advice over the phone at no charge.
“People’s biggest mistake when looking for a lost pet is they don’t look far enough away,” she says. “If you limit all your activities and signs to one neighborhood subdivision you’ve missed the boat. The pet was out of there in the first 45 minutes.”
She also strongly recommends that pets always wear an ID tag with a phone number. To find out more about Deborah and her detective dogs go to her website at: www.missingpetdetectives.com