Some people may scoff of the idea of a pet detective. But Millie Sharpe would disagree and say that pet detectives are valuable in searching for a lost pet.
Sharpe and her husband opened their pet detective business two years ago in North Carolina and have been busy ever since with consultations and searches. They combine old-fashioned techniques, like scent searches with trained dogs, with new high-tech methods, including probability theory and online satellite maps, to reunite lost pets with their owners.
Sharpe says that about 90% of the time, they are able to provide answers for the pet owner, even if they don’t find the pet. About 65% of the time, they are able to locate the pet and bring him back home safely.
The couple averages four searches per month. A full search includes a consultation, pet profile, scent collection and a thorough search with tracking equipment and one or both of the Sharpesâ€™ search dogs. If available, the team will drive up to six hours one-way to conduct a search. Costs are figured on a case-by-case basis.
According to Pet Hunter’s International Web site, there are only 14 registered pet detectives in the country. The Sharpes are one of two in the Southeast.
Telephone consultations make up the bulk of Pawsabilitiesâ€™ business. Millie Sharpe spends most of her workday talking with people all over the country who have lost a pet.
â€œNinety-nine percent of what I do is work with people,â€ Sharpe said. â€œSure, I spend time with my dogs, but itâ€™s not an animal business. I have to be able to relate to people, to know what theyâ€™re going through.â€
Telephone consultations consist of an interview and pet profile. Sharpe uses online satellite maps, like Google Earth, to view the petâ€™s point of escape and pinpoint high probability areas for the owners to search. She creates possible scenarios, and e-mails recovery technique methods to owners. Phone consultations typically cost $50.