Long-time animal lover, Babs Fry, is a real-life pet detective. She found her calling after learning about the ASPCA’s shocking statistic that an estimated 3.3 million dogs enter into animal shelters nationwide, yet only 620,000 of them are ever reunited with their families. That leaves millions of dogs lost – their owners frantic to know what happened to them.
Fry herself knows what it feels like to lose a cherished pet. Five years ago, she lost her beloved rescue dog, Prada. And while she did everything within her power that she could, extensively searching the neighborhood and posting fliers, all before she brought in an expert, who showed her how to “think like a dog.”
Fry is from San Diego. She told the New York Post, “I was, at that point, desperate enough to listen.”
Since then, she has earned herself quite the reputation and nickname as “Bring ‘Em Home Babs.”
The pet recovery specialist frequently takes calls and works with panicked pet parents at all hours of the day – even traveling hundreds of miles in order to conduct a search. Fry estimates that on average per day, she receives about six to a dozen calls or questions, plus all the hundreds of tags on her Facebook account.
She often best helps people to locate their missing dogs by giving some simple advice, and advises, “Get home and get those doors open.”
Dogs are animals who are “bonded” to a family’s scent, therefore they will follow your scent to wherever. If they’re outdoors then this can get a little complicated.
Fry says, “When you go out looking, you’re spreading your scent around.” This can sometimes lead to them going the wrong way.
Fry also warns neighbors away from approaching a lost dog, as this could scare them and cause them to run away. Instead, her advice to neighbors is to call the pet’s owners.
Of course, when in doubt, it never hurts to set out a trap of a dog’s favorite treat like rotisserie chicken or bacon.
Fry explains, “If a dog’s around either of those smells, there’s no denying it.”
Fry has admitted that all of her cases “take up a part of me emotionally,” but sometimes there are some that move her to go above and beyond in order to reunite a family with their missing dog. One of these cases was Shelby, a cattle dog.
Shelby’s owner lost her while camping in a remote area of the Eastern Sierra when Shelby got scared by fireworks. Fry will do anything for her clients, but this particular owner – a paramedic who’d recently been widowed after working together with his wife on a job – made her feel even more determined to help a man who’d said he “saved a dog to save himself.”
For weeks, both Fry and her client returned the area in order to search for Shelby, put up flyers, and talk to park rangers. The pet detective was pulling out all the stops in order to attempt to lure back Shelby.
Unfortunately, as Fry found, bears also seem to enjoy the treats in the traps that Fry set out to catch Shelby. This made Fry fear the worst-case scenario, but nonetheless, she persisted – even going as far as to get familiar with the bears’ natural schedules in order to set up her traps while they were sleeping.
Fry herself slept in a trailer for days while on assignment, saying, “I had not showered in a week and [was] covered in chicken grease and Liquid Smoke.”
Then, one day, the traps miraculously worked and Shelby returned.
“It’s a gift. It’s a blessing I can’t put into words,” Fry mentioned to New York Post.
Fry has stated that one of the most important aspects of her job is that she’s a sort of “therapist” and “coach” to her clients, urging them not to give up home.
“We don’t quit on our dogs,” said Fry.
Amazing woman – very inspirational!