Al Maclellan helps people find their lost pets using bloodhounds.
Owner and operator of Pet Searchers Canada, Maclellan runs the business out of South Surrey, at 19200 Street and 32 Avenue.
Maclellan said that bloodhounds have “the best scenting ability of all dogs.”
Most pets become an essential part of their family, and losing them can be devastating.
Maclellan said it is not cheap to hire them, but that it is a matter of perspective. People want their pets back, who they consider a family members. Some searches take a long time, and you cannot just give up, Maclellan said.
“Would you spend that money on taking the dog to the vet, possibly to keep him alive?” he asked.
Owners are doing the same thing when they hire Pet Searchers Canada, he said. They are trying to get their pet back safe and sound.
“When we actually bring the pets home, it’s nice to see the looks on their (the owners) faces, and the pain is not knowing is gone,” said Maclellan.
The cost to hire Pet Searchers depends on if they are searching for a cat or a dog. Costs range from $395 to $1,295, before tax.
Maclellan started the business because of his experience searching for his lost dog, Saxxon.
A winter storm knocked down a tree in his backyard and broke his fence. Saxxon was spooked and ran off.
While searching for Saxxon, Maclellan found many others looking for their pets. He would often give them tips on finding their lost pet.
After they found Saxxon, he started offering his skills and expertise to find lost pets. Before long, it became a full-time business.
Maclellan grew up on a game farm in southern Ontario, where he had spent years tracking and training hunting dogs.
So it seems he was the perfect man for the job of finding lost pets. He receives about 10 calls a day asking for help. The majority of the calls involve lost cats.
Depending on availability, some calls take his team to different parts of B.C., although most are around the Lower Mainland.
They currently have three bloodhounds, named Cricket, Tracker and Hunter, and three staff members – Al, his son Parker, and Parker’s wife, Arianna.
Along with the bloodhounds, the team uses a wide variety of tools to help find and capture the lost pets, including drones, humane traps, infrared thermal imaging equipment, camera surveillance and capture nets.
They have to turn down many calls because they do not have the staff or the dogs to help everyone.
Maclellan said they are planning to expand in Toronto, as he receives about three to five calls daily asking for help locating lost animals in southern Ontario.
This summer Pet Searchers Canada was invited to Umoja summer camps in Surrey to teach the kids what bloodhounds do, and how they help find lost animals. Maclellan said it was great fun for the kids and the staff.
More details about Pet Searchers Canada are found on their website, petsearcherscanada.com.