NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Pet owners desperately searching for a lost animal can now turn to pet detectives for help.
It happened Wednesday in Southwest Nacogdoches County, where a trained dog is tracking a missing border collie. East Texas News tagged along.
Dog trainer Kat Manning was in a pack of many when she used tracking dogs to search for missing people, so now she's a pet detective.
"There wasn't anybody else that I knew of that searched for pets, and I felt a need for it," Manning said.
The owner of Dog Gone Detectives traveled with Banjo, a Shiloh shepherd, from Decatur to Alazan. It's there where Christi Cook lost her border collie, Bentley.
"You know, I miss my dog," Cook said with a sigh.
Banjo, once a lost puppy herself, is trained as a scent-specific trailing dog. She was presented the lost dog's favorite items.
"This is Bentley's little rug," Cook said.
"Banjo. Check it," Manning said.
"We train these dogs the same way that they train bomb dogs and dogs to find people," Manning said.
People responding to the owner's lost dog fliers in regard to possible recent sightings provide a starting point. The clues are important in this case.
"Because this dog has been gone for about three weeks, and her ability to follow a scent trail is only good for about two weeks," Manning said.
Clue 1 is a hole under a fence and a found collar that could be Bentley's. Manning thinks otherwise.
"I don't think that was his collar," Manning said. Why? She's not getting a scent trail."
Clue 2 is a possible sighting on Sunday in a remote camp area.
Banjo and Kat took off down a trail around a pond.
"She got a scent trail," Manning said. "She took off on it."
Neither dog or trainer want to give up.
Eventually, the tracking team called it a day. Surprisingly, the rain will help freshen any of Bentley's recent scents. Banjo picked up a scent, which gave Bentley's owners clues where to concentrate the continued search.
For more information on Dog Gone Detectives, click this link.