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Kat Albrecht: Pet Detective

Kat Albrecht poses with one of her pet detective volunteers, Brain Newsham. Albrecht runs Missing Pet Partnership, which searches for lost pets.  - Jacinda Howard/Mirror staff
Kat Albrecht poses with one of her pet detective volunteers, Brain Newsham. Albrecht runs Missing Pet Partnership, which searches for lost pets.
— image credit: Jacinda Howard/Mirror staff

Kat Albrecht has spent years searching for lost pets, and now, TV producers are looking at her.

Albrecht, who founded Missing Pet Partnership, a nonprofit organization that searches for lost pets, spent last week filming for the Canadian TV show, “TV Made Me Do It.” The show follows people who were inspired to charge their lives after seeing something on TV.

Albrecht was approached after the producers had seen her on the Animal Planet television network.

Albrecht herself was inspired by a 1997 Oprah Winfrey episode on volunteerism, which pushed her to follow her idea of helping pet owners find their missing pets.

At that point, her career as a pet detective was pretty new, but she was already getting offers to be flown around the world with her dogs to search for lost pets.

“Then I wondered what would happen after I died?” Albrecht said. “It’s a service people want. Someday it will be in high demand.”

Albrecht is already seeing more demand then she can usually handle. She has already conducted hundreds of searches for missing pets and currently has to turn some pet owners away. She does, however, guide them to her Web site, where she has tips for finding lost pets. She doesn’t do it for the money, as a non-profit agency she makes very little. The amount she charges per search, $250, is relatively little, she says, when you compare it to other pet costs. She just got a $500 vet bill. Instead she does it for the animals.

Albrecht has trained and certified more than 100 pet detectives in five countries and has written two books. Of the nearly 200 searches that she has been on, she estimates she’s had a 60-percent success rate finding the lost pets.

The term pet detective is a career path that is often mocked in jokes and referenced to Ace Ventura.

“People don’t call veterinarians Dr. Doolittle,” Albrecht said. “I do believe at some point this will be respected.”

Respect is coming though from foreign countries. Although Animal Planet has considered but decided against a show on her and the Today show has flown her out for segment that eventually never aired, Albrecht has appeared in international television.

The latest of course has been the Canadian show.

Producers and the film crew spent three days filming last week, covering everything from training volunteers to two cat searches.

In the searches, Albrecht was able to show off some of the high-tech equipment that her team uses to search for lost pets.

This includes some things you might see in an episode of CSI, including Luminal to test for blood and another test to determine if it is animal or human, a motion-activated camera, amplified listening devices, night-vision scope and cat-detection dogs.

In addition to searching for the dogs, Albrecht and her team help devise a plan for the petowners to follow to get the word out about their missing pet and ways to search for it.

Albrecht said many pet owners, especially cat owners, give up too soon and those pets end up in a shelter, where often times they are put down.

“This service can change that,” Albrecht said.

Eventually Albrecht’s goal is to set up a network of pet detectives that will go out and search for a pet every time a pet owner calls up a shelter asking about their missing pet.

Albrecht tried for the last year to get a program started, however the tanking economy has put that plan on hold.

For now she is just working on her day job. Helping lost pet owners reunite with their missing pets.

For more information call (253) 529-3999 or visit www.missingpetpartnership.org and click on Seattle Pet Hunters.

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