Dogs can be trained to find and detect anything. We often see dogs working alongside law enforcement or the military in order to sniff out drugs, explosives, cadavers, etc. Sometimes, there are even dogs who work with wildlife or science research teams in order to track down animals in the wild for study and conservation. Either way, dogs have an incredible gift with their nose and coupled with their desire to please humans, they’re unstoppable.
In fact, one Cocker Spaniel named Molly is believed to be the world’s first dog who has been specifically trained to find and rescue missing cats! According to her handler and owner, Colin Butcher, she is a specially trained cat detection dog. Colin is the director of The Pet Detectives – a company specializing in the recovery and retrieval of stolen or missing cats. But they also search for other pets like dogs, etc. as well.
Colin has worked as a detective for many years, so during his time, he’s seen the phenomenon of a dog’s nose in successfully being about to search and find drugs and explosives, as well as people. Inspired by this, he concluded that perhaps a dog could be trained to find a missing pet since he would receive dozens of phone calls each week from families who were frantic to find their lost cats.
Colin finally put his plan into action after he rescued Molly. At the time, she was 18-months-old, and he’s seen her advertised in a pet listing that said, “needs a good home, cannot cope.” As it turns out, poor Molly had changed owners three different times in just under two years!
Following a bit of exploratory “cat” testing, Colin concluded that Molly had what it takes for the job. For a start, and probably most important, she didn’t chase the cats. And for an added bonus, Molly showed a passion for learning and working.
The only cat detection dog in the UK
8 months of training ensued at The Medical Detection Dogs Charity, and afterward, Molly was specialized in sniffing out cats.
As Colin told the Guardian, “We give her a scent sample from the house where the cat normally lives, and then she’s trained to match that. It only needs to be a tiny scent too.”
Since the beginning of the year, this good girl has aided in locating 11 missing cats – making the private detective agency’s success go up by a third. Well done, Molly!
“Many people said that training a dog to rescue cats was crazy; that all dogs chased cats and it couldn’t be done. Nothing has felt quite so rewarding as seeing it work. People are fascinated when they watch Molly at work, but she’s not fussed. She still doesn’t know that those things with four legs that she searches for are called cats. To her, it is just her favorite game,” Colin stated.
Below, there’s a video of a field training exercise, where you can see Molly show off her skills:
This footage is of The UK's only Cat Detection Dog trained specifically to find, injured, sick and trapped cats. This working Cocker Spaniel – trained by The Medical Detection Dogs Charity – is seen working during recent field trials searching for and locating a cat hidden within a stable. The Pet Detectives U.K.P.D.
Posted by The Pet Detectives Community on Tuesday, February 14, 2017