Pet Detective's Life's Work: Finding Lost Dogs
For TarQwyn, the desperation of missing a pet is all too familiar because of her own experience. "For me, every call, I remember how it felt to lose Jack," TarQwyn tells PEOPLEPets.com. "This is one of the worst experiences of a pet owner's life, and they're not prepared for it, and there's no support."
In 2002, TarQwyn was living on a ranch in Oklahoma when her beloved dog disappeared and she realized there were very few resources for people who'd lost furry loved ones.
"The police are not interested in these cases," TarQwyn says. "You'll get more action if your CD player was stolen. It's a cultural thing."
In her practice, TarQwyn uses community awareness (signage, contact with animal control and shelters) and an aerial mapping strategy, along with a thorough knowledge of each dog's behavioral patterns. She may also call on a team of six scent-trained tracking dogs – Cade, Dodger, Twist, Paco, Mason and Yuri – to seek out the pet.
Her team, which will travel to work with its far-flung clientele, uses a combination of search and rescue and hunting techniques. The dogs can pick up a scent from a quarter-mile away, and will track a dog even if it's in the mouth of a coyote, TarQwyn says, which has been happening more and more recently. It's one of the three most likely scenarios under which dogs go missing: It meets with a predator, it is roaming at large or it's been recovered by a citizen.
In 2007, TarQwyn was in Southern California working on a case when she got a call about a roaming Havanese named Yogi. The dog's owner, Joie Goodkin, was distraught when the beloved pooch escaped under a fence at the vet.
When they arrived on the scene, TarQwyn's tracking dogs immediately picked up Yogi's scent, and found him within two hours near a fork in the Carmel River. She pulled back her dogs to avoid frightening the lost pup and stationed Goodkin at the riverbank. Goodkin was then instructed to softly call to Yogi, so she stood in river in the pouring rain and said, "Come give Mommy kisses." Soon the "furry little matted" dog was in her arms. Goodkin was crying; the dog meant everything to her, and she says she could not have found Yogi without TarQwyn and her team.
TarQwyn charges an hourly fee of $95 and bills for travel expenses, but she reviews every case for free. Sometimes, she travels to places like Mulholland Drive to work with Hollywood celebrities, but other times she knows just from the phone call that the dog in question in all likelihood met with a predator, in which case she is "just moving the client on."
"I'll tell you what all of us want: We want the pain to end," she says. "And that means getting our dog back."
Read about other sleuthing animals on PEOPLEPets.com:
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