Keeping dogs safe, happy, healthy

A friend recently told me about a pet detective. Her name is Annalisa Berns. She resides in San Bernardino County. She has an office in Clairemont, as well as a team of handlers in Ohio and Florida. There are only about 12 people across the entire country who are in this line of work.

Annalisa had always been an animal lover. While working at a good job in San Diego she realized it was not a good fit for her. She decided to adopt a puppy named Lilly. The dog promptly tore up her apartment, her flip flops, and chewed a window sill and door frame to name just a few things.

“I realized Lilly needed a job,” she said. “I needed the dog to focus, and to tire her out. I started looking for jobs for dogs. I contacted a woman who helped train her. I started my work with my search dog Lilly.”

Her first lost dog case was a dingo that had been imported from Australia.

Dingoes are reddish brown wild dogs.

“Lilly found where the dog was bedded down at night and where the dog drank water. With that information, I coached the animal owners how to use a humane trap and they caught the dog the next night.”

Finding cats is very challenging. Mainly she uses traps and search dogs.

Once, while talking to a cat owner, the lost cat came walking through the back door.

These are the things she normally hears: “I lost my pet when I had a pet sitter,” or, “they just wandered off,” or, an outdoor cat just didn’t come home.

She used to travel throughout the country, but now she only works in California. People hear about her mainly through word of mouth, and referrals from rescue groups.

Fees depend on the service. Phone consultations start at $19.99 an hour. An in-person search starts at $375.

Annalisa “absolutely recommends” clients use micro chips, “because freak accidents happen.” Many people don’t know what they are. When a pet goes missing she recommends to locate pets … dogs most prone to get lost are unneutered males.”

When asked about her favorite breed of dog, she said: “I like shelter dogs, mixed breed dogs, mutts. I love dogs with sleek furs and spots. Right now I have four dogs and a cat.”


On the subject of pets, I would like to share a story about a friend of mine from San Diego. She has three whippets, slender greyhound-type dogs. The dogs are named Rhythm, Dazzle and Ocean.

After seeing photos of Rhythm on Facebook a Dutchman wanted to breed Rhythm with his dog. His father has been a whippet breeder for forty years. He offered to send the dog and my friend to Holland. Her sister joined her on the trip.

To get Rhythm used to the noise of the aircraft she took him to the airport randomly two or three weeks before they were ready to leave. The airline rules say a dog has to be able to stand up and turn around in its cage. Rhythm seemed a bit shell-shocked when they landed but quickly recovered. The flight took nine hours.

Upon their arrival in Amsterdam the breeder took them to a wonderful bakery where they enjoyed pastries and hot tea.

The two women stayed in a comfortable travel trailer while they were there, and shared meals with the family. They spent four days in Northern Holland, and three days in Belgium where they watched dog races.

In March, Rhythm’s two puppies were born. One lives in Holland, and one lives in Germany. They are named Pebbles and Rabie.

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