A search dog is a very specific tool that might not be suitable for all missing pet situations. As with most projects getting your pet home may be one of the most challenging projects you have faced and multiple tools may be required in order to be successful.
It is important to have a scent specific article. This is an item that has ONLY the scent of your missing pet. Best options for a scent article is something that has come in direct contact with your pet: bedding, collar, harness, hairbrush, toy and pet clothes. If you have multiple pets, it is imperative that the scent article not be contaminated with another pet’s scent! The search dogs can distinguish between multiple scents. But if your other pet’s scent is in the area being search, it makes it very difficult to determine which scent the search dog is alerting to.
The search dog will start at the last known place you witnessed your pet. The search dog will attempt to find the direction of travel (which way the pet went). If the search dog establishes the direction of travel he will attempt to follow the trail. The search dog will not trail for extended distances. The purpose of using the search dog is to help locate the area your pet has traveled through and the area your pet may possibly be residing.
In cases where the search dog is not able to pick up the pet’s trail, the search dog will do a search of the area to look for the scent of your pet. The search dog does NOT usually walk up and find a pet unless the pet is deceased. In the case of living pets, the search dog is trained not to get close enough to frighten the pet and force the pet out of the hiding place; but there is the possibility that this could happen.
The goal for using the search dog should be to find the location your pet is at or determining the pet is no longer in the area. At that point instruction will be provided as to what methods should be used to safely get your pet home. This may involve the use of more signage, talking to neighboring home owners, use of wild life cameras and in certain situations trapping. If you are unable to follow through with the instructions provided, either on your own or by hiring us to provide this service for you, the use of a search dog may not be your best option. Using the search dog alone will most likely not result in getting your pet home.
The search dog can only work a limited amount of time and that is governed by terrain and temperatures. When the search dog has reached his limit or has done all he can, the search will be concluded. Trying to push the search dog beyond his limits will only result in information that will be of no value in your search.
Valuable information the search dog may provide:
Your pets initial direction of travel
If your pet is still in the area
If a reported sighting is truly your pet
Evidence that something detrimental may have happened to your pet
Our main goal is to help you find your pet. We offer the Search Dog service to assist you in finding your pet and providing you with useful information to aid you in your search. Unfortunately we can make no predictions or guarantees on how the search will go or the outcome. We do promise to do our very best to help you get your pet home. For more information about the search dog service, please call 386-243-4074
Patricia Totillo Private Investigator
License C 1700061
Agency License A 1700137
Great information from Sheriff Ivey and Junee. Especially proud because Junee is such a great PR ambassador and Olivia's relative :-)
Pat...Thanks for your call last night. We followed all your suggestions and our neighbor's and around 2 am Emmaline came mewing up the stairs and hopped on the bed with her enormous purr. --Betty
Well, Pat, I so appreciate the advice you gave me and I passed it along to my sister because I knew you were/are a professional in this area. Just because she didn't find her cat right away when calling his name, (I told her to talk in a normal voice) she gave up and started a campaign that took her days to put together with a lot of resources. And he was only a couple of houses down. Thanks again, Pat, for taking the time to give me all those tips for finding a lost cat. God bless you!
Hi Pat, it's Tanya. I had called you on about my daughter's dog… her husky. I just wanted to let you know we found her last night. She was thirteen miles actually almost to my property like we discussed. I can't believe it. She was just running. So I just wanted to let you know we found her. Thank you for all the advice was wonderful advice. So I really appreciate all your help. Thank you so much again.
Patricia Totillo- your dogs were spot on- and correct!!!! Whitney
Thank you for your time for finding Hunter, without you, it would not have happened.
Thank You !!! Dale
After surviving her encounter with a hive of bees and three days hiding in the woods, Daisy is HOME! The Search Dog lead us to within 50 feet of Daisy and indicated Daisy was close by. Daisy stood and ran but she was ALIVE. Daisy ran into an apartment complex and a very nice lady was able to grab her leash and called the family.
From Daisy's Family:
I cannot thank you enough for coming today! My whole family is so relived and thankful she is safely back home.
If there is anything, I can do to help you or write a review somewhere let me know. I put a post in the Lost Gainesville Pet page saying how awesome you are and that I would highly recommend.
Daisy finally snuggled up in a heated blanket and crashed. We’re so happy to have her back.
Thank you so so much!!
A lovely note from Daisy's family ~
Hi Pat, it’s Jen from Daisy’s family. We are so grateful for you and your dogs’ service to our family. Words don’t express how deeply we mean this. Daisy has seen our family through some tough times and in some ways is a “glue” that binds us together. She brings our entire family such joy! Knowing that she was in the woods alone and suffering from her stings, was just unbearable. Truly thank you for what you do. We would love to post reviews for you wherever is beneficial for you. This is a pic of Daisy taken immediately upon returning home. She got her ball & just wanted to play. She did take a good nap after though.
FINALLY, SHE IS HOME!
Hersey bolted out the front door on 2/4/2019. She had spent the past 6 years as a breeder and was rescued from that hell the end of December. She had not experienced a life with human contact every dog deserves. She was afraid of everyone and everything. After six weeks of vet care and a loving home environment, she was finally on her way to the life she so deserved when this happened.
On 2/8/2019, the Search Dogs were deployed to assist in finding her. The Search Dogs were able to confirm the area Hersey was hiding at and the route she was traveling. This information was vital but only the beginning. Because of her fear of EVERYTHING, Hersey would not go near a trap. In this case, other trapping methods were risky. We knew she was relatively safe where she was and did not want to force her out of the location. Various technics were used to draw Hersey back home. On 2/10/2019, Hersey appeared back at her home. We thought this would be the happy ending; but Hersey was just too scared and would bolt at any sight of a person. For the next five days, various methods were used to give Hersey the confidence she needed to take the final steps into the house. Finally, this morning, the ending everyone was hoping and praying for happened.
Hersey is home because of the dedication and hard work of her foster Mom. Her foster Mom truly worked day and night to get Hersey home safely.
Just wanted to say thank you for all your help and endless advice in helping bring Hershey home.
This has been a humbling and learning experience for us. One I hope we never go through again.
AM was tireless in her efforts to bring her home safely, to which we are grateful.
Again many many thanks for you and Tango and Olivia’s help.
This is the Pet Tracker, Patricia Totillo, who helped me find Brindi! I cannot say enough about this extraordinary lady! She was the one who put the calm back in me and my heart when I was on the verge of despair. She was the one who explained that after the horrible storm last Sunday night that Brindi was resting, recooping, and getting ready to find her way back home...she was right! She was the one that told me the "Mom's" instincts were 9 out of 10 times correct and when I didn't see that Brindi was hurt, or worse, when I saw her coming to us in the woods, that I was most probably right...again, she was right. She called me back within minutes every time I needed her help. Pat was spot on about everything she told me...EVERYTHING! She was the first phone call I made after Brindi was back in our home safe and sound and I could not have been happier to make that call. Again, she called me back within minutes. She was the first person I wanted to tell, I needed to tell. She will be FOREVER in my heart. I will forever be thankful to her and her talents. Thank you Melanie Black Long, for continuing to call places to help me find her and then continuing to call her asking her to help me. I love you and your determination to keep on this until you were able to connect me to Pat. You, my sweet friend, are a hero in my book. You got me to Pat and Pat got me to my girl! I love you!!!!
From 4 Lucky Dog Pet Rescue
K9 Search and Rescue of Orange City was directly responsible for us finding our missing rescue dog Annie on Day 6 from when she went missing. From the moment the search dogs arrived on scene that morning (Day 6), we think someone in the immediate vicinity of where the dog escaped began to get very nervous, because someone started pulling down our large laminated signs from the stop signs￼ (not the county). The search dogs never could find an exit point from her last known position￼. It was like her trail just stopped. Both dogs found the same trail from the fence to the last position and from there nothing.￼ It didn’t stop Pat Totillo from searching however, and we kept expanding the search out for 4 hours...a full hour past the time frame we had agreed upon￼. Our second to last stop was the squash field directly behind her last known position in a nearby cul-de-sac. All the neighbors were looking at us when we kept coming back and kept coming back to the same spot and working the dogs in the same area where she was last seen.￼ Finally after 4 hours, Pat and her search team left, with a heavy heart and much disappointment. Within 30 to 45 minutes after the search team left, we received a call from a family driving by that saw her on the other side of the road from where we had parked the van with the dogs on Trappnell road (by the squash field. She took off running down a strawberry field on the opposite side of that road. Annie was flushed out at the end of the field, turned around and sent back up a row to where the family that phoned in and her foster Kelli were waiting and they were able to grab her￼. Annie’s buckle collar was missing, she was NOT thin and weak, she actually seemed like she had eaten well and she was not thirsty. Our conclusion is that the K9 search dogs were correct when they couldn’t find an exit point out of the cul-de-sac she was last seen in, she must’ve been picked up by someone in the immediate area that was trying to hide the dog from us. We also believe they got very nervous when the search team was on scene for four hours in a van that had a logo on it that looked very official￼, and they finally released her, fearing they would be in trouble when found out. Highly recommend using Pat and her dogs Tango and Olivia if the circumstances surrounding the lost pet meet the proper threshold for a search of this type. Thankfully ours did and we have a great Happy Ever After...to share with everyone!!
This is Diane, the woman from St Petersburg whose adopted dog bolted after his retractable leash was dropped last Wed. You spent over 30 minutes of your valuable time on the phone with me for which I am truly grateful.
He was found in the mangroves 29 hours later, unharmed and happy to be safe and warm. I just wanted to thank you for taking your time to give me invaluable information and, most importantly, hope. Everything you said about dog behavior, best practice search protocol, and most likely scenarios with missing dogs proved to be true in his case.
Thank you for all you do to bring hope to pet lovers in Florida.
All the best,
Good evening Patricia. First of all I want to thank you so much for coming out and helping me with the search of my dog. Tango and Olivia did a great job and I hope they are not too frustrated in the final results. Words cannot express how happy I am. Even if we didn't find her it did bring me a few answers. My heart is at peace and you and your dogs deeply contributed to that. Thank you so much for everything you do. Olivia tango and yourself are an amazing team and I really recommend your services to anyone who can afford them. Thank you thank you thank you 🐾