Pet Detective Hunts Down Lost Animals

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ark. - For many of us, our pets are like our children. If they get lost, we'd do whatever we could to bring them home safely. 

But if you got desperate, would you consider turning to a pet detective?

Ace Ventura is fictional, but a Jefferson County woman has spent the last several years working as a real life pet detective. 

Angie Rutherford spends most of her time on the go, well, she and her six trained dogs who work with her. 

"When we're not out working a case... we'll train," says Angie Rutherford, Private Investigator/K9 Handler.

Rutherford is a K-9 handler and private investigator for missing pets, in short, a pet detective. 

Like famed cinema pet detective, Ace Ventura, Rutherford has a passion for her job and her cases require travel all over the country. 

"I've been to Colorado, I've been to Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee," says Angie Rutherford.

But unlike Ace Ventura, Rutherford isn't all about theatrics. For her the results are the most important thing. 

"The times we are able to find the animals are awesome times, but it's those times that we can't find them for whatever reason, or there may be a predator situation, and those are the ones that tend to stick in your memory," says Angie Rutherford.

She got her start with lost pet professionals, which has been around since 2005, and is now part owner of the company based out of Jefferson County. She says the phone never stops ringing. 

Rutherford says when she picks up a case she does a review, establishing if the missing animal is a cat or dog, the animals demeanor, and then she starts to work on a community awareness campaign. 

Finally it's time to start the search. 
"One of the most important things about being able to go on a search is having a scent article that's specific to the particular animal you're looking for," says Angie Rutherford.

It's also how the dogs are trained. 

"It's a natural ability of dogs... it's just being able to enhance the ability and being able to read what the dog is telling you,"  says Angie Rutherford.

Rutherford says the sooner someone contacts her when a pet goes missing, the more likely the chance she and her team will be able to find it. 

In November Mauri Douglass called Rutherford after her Schnauzer, Murphy had been missing for three weeks. 

"We have raised Murphy since he was 8 weeks old, so he's a big part of our family... you know we want him back," says Mauri Douglass.

Rutherford's dogs were able to track Murphy to an area about a mile from the owner's home, but believe he was picked up there. Unfortunately, Murphy's case was one of those instances where a reunion never came. 

"The emotions can be really crazy," says Angie Rutherford.

More often than not though, the animals are reunited with the pet parents.

Like in the case of Sadie, Haggard, and so many others--they are the reason Rutherford says she started doing this type of work. 

"I wanted to do more in helping people find their lost pets," says Angie Rutherford.

So as long as their noses hold out, Rutherford's team will continue to be on call. 

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