Lead K9 Handler/Investigator Judith Britton
When my Search & Rescue Team Commander forwarded me an email about a Lost Pet Recovery Service seeking a K-9 Handler with background in Law Enforcement & Communications, my seemingly scattered skill sets slipped into perfect alignment! As an Orange County Deputy Sheriff I was 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.
Transitioning from human to pet searches was a tough decision. In the final analysis, I realized that many search for missing humans, but very 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, Idaho Private Investigator, member of the Missing Animal Scent Dog Network (MASDN) & hold a Missing Pet Partnership Missing Animal Recovery Certificate.
Since 2011, as a K9 Handler, I am blessed to have searched for 350+ missing pets, from the East Coast to the West. Though challenging, the work is incredibly rewarding – 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 & the incredible bonds we share with our beloved animals!
Associate K9 Handler/Lead Strategist Kevin Britton
Growing up with scent dogs, it seems appropriate to come full circle and again have them at the center of our home, hearts & lives. The dogs of my childhood were Dad’s rather unusual hunting hounds. When he would get a call from the Highway Patrol about a Mountain Lion, injured or causing a ruckus, off Dad, his buddy & their scent dogs would go to track, net & transport the Big Cat to a rescue run by a kindly dairyman in L.A.
Though the missing domestic dogs & cats we trail are smaller (except perhaps a few of the Savannahs!) the work is no less rewarding!
Though a relatively new full-time member of the Lost Pet Tracker Team, I’ve been avidly involved part-time as a volunteer Navigator & Strategist for nearly a decade – very educational! Also educational were skills learned in Law Enforcement (OCSD & Fullerton PD) and as a Charter Member of Riverside Emergency Animal Rescue System.
As Lead Strategist, my job is to help you strategically create & guide you through a manageable & sustainable search protocol. I will educate & equip you to work smarter, not harder – minimizing the physical, mental and emotional burnout inherent to missing pet searches. Timely execution of case-appropriate search techniques is paramount to success! My role is to provide these techniques for expedient implementation, eliminating the frustration and confusion of trying to figure out what to do next. As your search evolves, I’m here to re-strategize. If you’re discouraged, I’m here to listen. When you’re confused, I’m here to help reestablish order and perspective. In short, I’m here…
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!