Become a Pet Detective
By Eric Hammer
Your name doesnt have to be Ace Ventura in order to
become a pet detective. In fact, pet detectives are real people
who really do work for people who have lost their dog or cat
and who are desperate to find them. The job ranges from offering
basic training to owners to help them do it themselves to actually
doing the search for the people.
Typically, as a full service pet detective, youll be
going around hanging up posters, checking local dog shelters
and pounds and sometimes even employing K-9 units (scent sniffing
dogs) who can pick up the scent of a lost pet and try to track
them down wherever they happen to be.
Many pet detectives also report that the job is partly a therapeutic
job. After all, when you are working as a pet detective, youre
out there working with people who are extremely distraught at
the loss of an animal who has become like a member of the family.
They can be as desperate as a parent who has lost a child to
see their dog or cat come home and you need to be able to offer
them comfort so that they will feel like they have hired a true
professional who really cares about their needs.
However, one myth we can dispel right now very few
pet detectives have to find dogs or cats that have been stolen
as in the Jim Carrey movie. Nor do most pet detectives try to
pass off a different dog as the one that was lost as Joe Pescis
character does in Lethal Weapon 3. In most cases, its merely
a situation where a dog or cat ran off to look at something interesting
and then got lost on their way back home.
How Much Can You Make?
Most pet detectives charge anywhere from $75 for a basic search
up to $300 for a full day, intensive search for a lost animal.
The amount youll earn is of course dependent both on your
success rate (the more successful you are, the more likely you
are to land jobs) and how fast you are at finding animals who
are lost. Bottom line, dont expect to get rich and do expect
to work hard, but also expect to earn a decent living if you
do work hard.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
Keep in mind that being a pet detective is partly a therapists
job. You need to be empathetic to people and of course you have
to truly love animals.
You may also want to consider working as a kind of pet consultant.
This would be the other side of working as a pet detective. Instead
of finding lost animals, you would help people to find the perfect
animal for their needs. For example, you might work with clients
who want to find a particular breed of dog and help them to find
where one might be available for sale. Or you could even help
people to decide what kind of pet they would be comfortable with
based on an interview with them about their interests and their
Qualifications / Requirements
Like many jobs profiled at this site, there are no formal
requirements for becoming a pet detective. Few states and municipalities
have licensing requirements (some states may classify you as
legally being like a Private Investigator, which does require
licensing, though most pet detectives work without state licensing).
That said, there are training programs available for becoming
a pet detective that will help you to learn more about the industry.
Start by talking to other pet detectives about the business.
Find out what they do and ask if you can apprentice with them
to learn about the business. You may even want to start out by
taking a job with a pet detective agency so that you can gain
the all important experience that you need.
Missing Pet Partnership A national organization
that certifies pet detectives.
University This company actually provides professional
training for becoming a pet detective. Remember however that
this is not a college degree in spite of the name and the degree
is not "accredited" in the way a degree from your local
state university might be.
MSNBC: When Your Pet Goes Missing, Call a Detective
While this is intended for consumers who need to find
a detective rather than those interested in becoming a pet detective,
this article also provides some great information on the business.