K9 Handler/Investigator Judith Britton
When my Search & Rescue Team Commander forwarded an email about a Lost Pet Recovery Service seeking a K-9 Handler with a background in Law Enforcement and Communications, my seemingly scattered skill sets slipped into perfect alignment. As an Orange County Deputy Sheriff I was initially trained in search & investigative techniques. I taught OCSD Academy classes in Communications & Public Relations. As a Charter Member of the Riverside Emergency Animal Rescue System I gained experience with the evolving national Incident Command System, learning to handle & transport an exotic array of animals. Training gained as a member of the K9 Search & Rescue Team’s California Human Remains Detection Division enhanced my abilities as a K-9 Handler, paving the road to Field Certification with New Mexico Search & Rescue. Search K-9 Melanie & I honed our skills at numerous SAR conferences: SAR-City in CA, AZK9CON in AZ, ESCAPE in NM, SAR-CON & NASAR in NV.
Making the transition from human to pet searches was a tough decision, but in the final analysis, I realized that many search for missing humans, but frighteningly few search for lost animals, and since far more animals go missing than humans, I opted to change paths. I am a California Licensed Private Investigator, member of the Missing Animal Scent Dog Network (MASDN) & hold a Missing Pet Partnership Missing Animal Recovery Certificate. Since 2011 I am blessed to have traveled throughout the Western United States, working 300+ Pet Searches. Though challenging, the work is incredibly rewarding, and our lives are profoundly enriched by our clients – their fierce dedication to finding their missing pets is an ongoing testament to the strength of the human heart and the incredible bonds we share with our beloved animals.
Lead Strategist/Office Manager Sarah Bolin
Both animals & computers have been passions from an early age. Strategizing search protocols to bring home missing pets blends my abilities & zeal for both. I hold a BA in Journalism. When hired for my technical writing & computer skills to create effective search & signage maps, and manage social media, this work kindled my desire to play a more active role in missing pet recovery, so adding to my skill set, I attained a Missing Pet Partnership Missing Animal Recovery Certificate.
Having personally experienced the heartache of a missing pet, I sincerely empathize with families while strategically creating & guiding them through a managable & sustainable search protocol. Feedback from families is often that the turning point in their search was when they began to work smarter, not harder! Timely implementation of case-appropriate search techniques is paramount. My role is to provide these techniques for expedient implementation, eliminating the frustration, during the often confusing & time-consuming process of trying to figure out what to do next.
A rescue at 12 weeks, Mellie’s stellar performance in a tracking class as a pup begat an invitation to join Search & Rescue when a 17-year veteran SAR Trainer observed she hadn’t seen such a keen noise & solid brain – in the same dog – for many years. Mel is a Shepherd, Retriever, Ridgeback mix with a strong work ethic & playful personality.
Zeppelin is also a rescue whose nose has proved his forte. He is a German Shepherd, Border Collie, English Hound, Greyhound, lovable mongrel. Remains Detection is Zep’s specialty. Zep (aka Houdini) possesses an intelligence surpassed only by his agility; the day we met, Zep demonstrated his ability to jump a six-foot fence flat-footed!
Tango is a German Shepherd Mix specifically bred for scent-work. He is a broad-snouted big strapping boy with an even bigger passion for running scent-trails. At eight weeks, Tango was introduced to scent training, and he immediately & enthusiastically affirmed his heritage. Watching Tango run a scent-trail is truly poetry in motion!
Sierra, also a Shepherd Mix bred for scent-work, her skills sharply honed from puppyhood, consistently bears witness to her possession of a keen nose for both trailing & air-scenting. She is particularly adept at establishing scent and navigating complex scent-fields. Though the smallest-in-stature of our K9 Team, she is big-on-bold!