If you’re pet goes missing and you don’t know what to do…who you gonna call? Well, it ain’t going to be Ghostbusters, but it might be Jamie Katz, ace pet detective! A super cool job tackling a very serious subject, I met this real life Pet P.I. in my very own ‘hood.
What is life really like for a Pet Detective? We had to find out! So, go get your favorite beverage, pull up a cozy chair and let’s go. You never know when you might need her.
Jamie Katz is reuniting lost loved ones with their families across the country; close to 80 pets in less than a year, across an expanse of 32,000 miles. She has a 62% success rate; six times that of the national average. She’s one of the top pet P.I.’s in the country, and one of the very few who are licensed and doing it as a career.
A confident person with a great smile, Jamie began as a human P.I., but her long time love of animals ended up steering her down that path. When a friend lost her cat and the animal rescue company she hired to find it never showed up, Jamie thought she could apply the skills she’d learned as a human P.I. to animals and never looked back.
That longtime love of animals started young. Katz grew up with a household full – a Great Dane named Rex and three cats, J.J., D.J. and Blackjack. She was a veterinary technician for five years and helped stray animals through her work with shelters and vet offices.
When I discovered her, Jamie was in the midst of a case. While I was so sorry to hear about the couple who’d lost their baby, it did give me the opportunity to get an inside look into the day-to-day process of launching, managing and completing a case, hopefully, with a happy outcome.
How to launch a lost pet campaign
“The first thing I do is profile the case and create an awareness campaign,” Katz shared with me. “Flyers, my Facebook page; these are the best ways to help pet owners get their animals back. I make it impossible for someone not to call with information. If you live within a five mile radius of where that pet went missing, you’re going to see signs, strategically placed, everywhere.” And, I did. That’s how I found Jamie.
Often, Katz’s flyers will say, “Do Not Chase,” which is imperative when you have a pet afraid of people or who is aggressive. A misstep can send a scared animal into traffic or on the attack.
Jamie also advises not to put a monetary reward on the flyer, which she said would encourage people to catch the animal, no matter what. “People imagine what they can buy with that money,” she emphasized. “If they can imagine that, they’re going to chase your pet.” I’d never realized that, did you?
What happens if no one responds?
The awareness campaign serves as the foundation, but what happen if no calls come in? She sends in the hounds! Well, in this case, they’re her two tracking dogs – terrier mix, Fletcher, and Brittany Spaniel, Gable. The dogs are air scent trackers, which means they follow scent trails in the air, and will choose the quickest route to the source. They also know to follow only the most recent scent. Pretty smart pups!
Managing the pet parents
Let’s’ not even go there, but I know if any of my pups got lost, I would be a basket case. So, it’s no easy feat to know how to guide the affected pet parents, so they don’t do the wrong thing and jeopardize the case.
What I thought was really great is how Jamie teaches each pet parent she works with how to create and manage their own case. She gives them her flyer template and tells them exactly what to put on it and where to post them. She oversees the social media campaign and, if the tracking dogs are necessary, she runs that ball.
I love this because there’s nothing worse than sitting around waiting for news when you’re on pins and needles. With Jamie, you’re engaged and involved in the campaign to bring your baby back safely.
Pet Detective, Beware!
I know being a secret agent is a pretty dangerous job. So, is a pet detective ever in actual danger? Of course I asked, and yes, Jamie was. In her twenties, she used to roam the dark alleyways of Baltimore, between midnight and dawn, looking for lost or stray animals in need of help. One night, Katz encountered a dog in a yard with a very swollen paw. “I made a call to Animal Control for a welfare check,” Jamie remembered. “The next night, while out patrolling, I was ambushed by the family who owned the dog. They were really angry.” Luckily, Katz was in her car and was able to speed off and call the police. She later learned that Animal Control had visited, and gave the family the opportunity to either get the dog veterinary help or relinquish him. They chose the latter, but were, apparently, none too pleased about it.
But, many of Jamie’s cases have happy endings. A recent one, that appeared on the local evening news in Fort Lauderdale, involved a woman whose dog had been lost during a first date gone wrong. Roxy was the woman’s emotional support service animal and, with Jamie’s help, was reunited with her owner in just 24 hours. the picture above is of Tre’ Garner and her dog, Ari. Jamie reunited them on the 2nd day of the search! And, that case she was in the midst of when we spoke? Katz negotiated the return of that Yorkie baby to her mom and dad, too. Now, that’s a powerful P.I.!
Jamie’s top tips to protect your pet
1) Always have a collar with an ID tag on your animal at all times. Have a second waterproof one with tags for bath time and grooming. “I can’t tell you how many times people will tell me their dog didn’t have on a collar with ID tag because they’d just been bathed or groomed,” shared Katz.
2) If your dog does their business or plays in a backyard, make sure it’s secure and there’s no way for them to escape.
3) Always microchip your dog. It often helps reunite lost pets with their owners, and can’t be taken off.
4) Don’t take your dog to events with fireworks or loud noises, or outdoors during thunderstorms. A dog’s hearing is so much more sensitive than ours, and frightened dogs can bolt and run. Secure them safely in a room inside your house or apartment.
Find out more about Jamie Katz and her services.