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PET TRACKER by Kat Albrecht
Introduction Pt 2
You are reading (and enjoying, I hope) the memoir Pet Tracker by Kat Albrecht. It was originally published and in bookstores in 2004 under the title The Lost Pet Chronicles (Kat’s co-author was Jana Murphy). It went out of print in 2015 and has as since been updated with new stories and renamed Pet Tracker: The Amazing Story of Rachel The K-9 Pet Detective. It is posted here as a free gift to all of Kat’s subscribers. Here are two reviews of the original manuscript (from 2004):
In this thoroughly engaging book, Albrecht narrates, with deadpan humor and Grisham-like suspense, the story of how she came to create an entirely new career: lost pet search and rescue. As a police dispatcher and later a police officer in California, Albrecht was duty bound to give human emergencies priority over animal crises, but it wasn't until her Eeyore-like bloodhound, A.J., went missing that Albrecht saw the need for sophisticated detective and scent trail work to find pets. With humor and fascinating insight into search-and-rescue work, Albrecht continues to find innovative ways to help animals and the humans who love them, and inspires readers with her dramatic career changes. This is a must-read for animal lovers and sleuths alike. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The book, which recounts several of her cases, is downright engrossing. Readers who think "pet detective" is a silly name for a profession will be impressed with the skill and dedication it takes to locate a missing animal. David Pitt, © American Library Association. All rights reserved.
The first time my bloodhound A.J. actually ran away had been more of a close call. He was still a puppy, only six months old at the time. I had taken A.J. and Rachel, my Weimaraner search dog, to a training camp in the Sierra Nevada mountains during a stormy weekend. In the middle of our training session, lightning struck a tree twenty yards from where I was standing. The explosion, brilliant flash, and huge clap of thunder that rocked our campsite caused A.J. to break loose and bolt into the thick forest.
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In an unfamiliar place, in rugged terrain, and worried sick about my dog, I took a huge chance and turned to Rachel. I trusted her to come back to me, no matter what. I let her off her lead, took a deep breath, and blurted out, “Go find A.J.!”
Rachel took off into the massive forest and I stood there thinking that was probably the stupidest thing I’d ever done in my life. Now I was missing two dogs! But ten minutes later, when she came racing back to the campsite with A.J. on her heels, I decided it had been a stroke of genius. I grabbed them both in a big, muddy hug, packed up our gear, and we all went home.
That was my very first pet detective moment, though I had no idea that there were many more to come. At the time, all I knew was that I never again wanted to feel the utter, unadulterated panic that strikes when a pet goes missing.
In the years between A.J.’s bolt in the storm and the time that I decided the world might actually need a pet detective, I trained three search dogs, forged a career as a police officer, worked as a detective for two years, and investigated dozens of missing persons and criminal cases. As a result, when I began to explore my new, uncharted career, I used all the tools that had been available to me on missing person searches to look for missing pets. My background enabled me to conduct systematic, methodical, and technically sophisticated investigations using everything from behavioral analysis and physical evidence to amplified listening devices and DNA testing to get the job done. In a field where most searches begin with a “lost pet” flyer and end with trips around the block calling the missing pet’s name, I could help people who really had no other resources available to them. Although I wasn’t the only person ever to train a dog to search for lost pets, I was the first with a law enforcement background and the first to launch a pet detective training academy. My heart’s desire was, and still is to this day, to see professional lost pet recovery services available for all pet owners in all communities.
My unique experience and perspective seem to have paid off. In my long, strange professional journey over the past twenty-something years, the organization that I founded and the pet detectives (human and K-9) that I have trained have helped hundreds of thousands of pet owners locate their lost dogs, cats, snakes, turtles, ferrets, iguanas, and birds across the world. What began as not much more than an experiment transitioned from a national nonprofit organization (the Missing Pet Partnership) that fell apart but then morphed into the Missing Animal Response Network, an online pet detective academy dedicated to training professionals, volunteers, and search dogs that are used to track lost pets.
As for me, the woman who began as a panic-stricken dog owner who lost her bloodhound in a massive forest, I have become a person who can’t walk past a lost pet flyer without thinking that there has to be a better way. Giving every lost pet a chance to get back home to the family that loves them has become my life’s purpose. Finding that purpose took me on an amazing journey that radically changed my life and the lives of others.
How to Read to PET TRACKER from the Start of the Book
To read previous PET TRACKER chapter / episodes or to start reading this book from the very beginning, go to my Substack homepage at armedrobbers2airedales.substack.com, click on the PET TRACKER by Kat Albrecht tab on top, scroll down to the very bottom and start reading my very first post titled Dedication & Introduction Pt 1.
TIP: Since you can’t put a “book mark” in my Substack, I suggest that you keep a record (i.e. journal, spreadsheet, whatever) of the chapter and part numbers that you’ve already read so far. This will help you easily pick up reading where you last left off.
How to Listen to Recordings of me Reading PET TRACKER
To LISTEN to me reading these chapter sections, simply scroll to the top of each post page, look for the gray box that says ARTICLE VOICE OVER, and click on the blue-sideways-triangle-thingy and WAH LAH, its ME reading PET TRACKER so that you can listen as you drive, do the dishes, whatever. BTW, with the audio version I sometimes add tiny details that expand on the text version.