Exercise Your Inner Ace Ventura

Do you love animals? Have you ever felt the pain and despair of one going missing? Would you like to help owners who are dealing the disappearance of their beloved pet? If you’re someone who has a knack for details and loves a good mystery, becoming a pet detective could be a great option should you find yourself contemplating your next career change.

Brought to light best in the 1994 Jim Carey movie, Ace Venture: Pet Detective, the idea of being a pet detective is far from merely something found in the movies. In fact, there are hundreds of pet detectives around the country that make their full-time living by searching for missing pets (and reuniting them with their owners).

What Does a Pet Detective Do?

Pet detectives conduct their work much like that of trained private investigators or the police who search for missing persons daily. Employing a variety of sophisticated Missing Animal Response Services (MARs), pet detectives conduct search and rescue missions with high-tech equipment. They also sometimes work with trained dogs who can more easily pick up the scent of a missing animal then humans can. By using their skills to detect idiosyncrasies in physical evidence, pet detectives can have success rates as high as 70%!

How Do I Become a Pet Detective?

Believe it or not, there are actual training academies for those who wish to become a pet detective. Agencies such as the Missing Pet Partnership hold online webinars where you can virtually be trained on how to correctly employ MAR tactics to hone your pet detective skills. The Missing Pet Partnership’s training consists of 7 weeks of 2-3 hour, self-guided courses plus live, weekly chats with the entire class.

But before you sign up for any costly training sessions, be sure that your investment will be worthwhile. Analyze your skills (you need to be analytic, a great communicator and have some level of investigative skills in your background) and understand that a huge component of being a pet detective is working closely with the families who have lost their pet. If you’re not a people-person, this probably is not the gig for you!

How Much Do Pet Detectives Make?

Pet detectives usually charge by the case, with some bringing in as little as $50 and others bringing in thousands of dollars. If the latter figure leaves you a bit skeptical, consider the story of Steve “Bernie” Bernheim who spent months searching for his beloved pooch and who paid a pet detective $12,000 to assist in the search!


Good luck, Pennyhoarders!

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