In a recent fiction work, a rookie private investigator (PI) unwillingly took on pet jobs, from discovering an African Helmeted Turtle to hunting for her neighbor’s nasty-tempered dog. Tracking down these missing creatures offered humorous subplots, but a writer might also develop a more serious tale involving a PI who specialized in finding animals. This article explains the job of a pet detective, their expertise and equipment, and strategies writers may employ to construct such a character.
What Is a Pet Detective?
Pet detectives are trained to discover (or increase the odds of locating) lost or missing pets. They utilize a combination of profiling, search-and-rescue, surveillance, and even bereavement therapy tactics. They typically utilize high-tech equipment, from night-vision binoculars to motion-activated surveillance cameras. Their techniques have reunited hundreds of missing pets with their human partners. There are also professional organizations, such as Pet Hunters International and Pet Detective University, that teach PIs to become certified pet investigators.
Bloodhounds and other dogs can also be trained to aid pet PIs. Just as following dogs like German Shepherds, bloodhounds, and Border Collies may track a human scent, they can also follow the scent of a pet from something like the cat’s bed or the dog’s favorite chew toy. Also, some search dogs are taught to detect certain species, such as cats, while others serve to attract other canines.
Tips for Writing a Pet Detective
If you’re creating a novel about a detective who recovers lost pets, consider the following questions:
Does he/she possess a search dog?
What tools does your pet PI use? For example, night-vision binoculars, motion-activated surveillance cameras, a bionic ear to enhance sounds?
In real-life, a pet PI may have a profitable career, with fixed rates of $300 to $1,000 a day. Does your character charge similarly? If so, his/her lifestyle will reflect a large salary (unless they’re not very good at managing money or they have other financial commitments).
What investigative qualities does your fictional pet PI use? As with other PIs, they could depend on their logic, study of physical evidence, interviews and interrogations, and surveillance tactics to retrieve missing pets.
Where did your hypothetical pet PI learn about animal behavior-for example, in college, in a veterinarian’s clinic, or while growing up on a farm?
There’s one more tip about writing a pet detective: he/she probably has a large heart. After all, animals possess all that is great about people.