There would be nothing worse than losing a beloved pet and not knowing its fate. Animal lover Paul Hetherington, IN2K9 – K9 Behaviour Specialist, tells me about his volunteer work, finding lost pets and recovering pets killed on the roads or tracks. ‘I have a number of informers who let know if they’ve seen a dead pet. No matter what time of day or night, rain or shine, I’ll go and retrieve this animal. I take it to the nearest vet where they’ll scan the microchip, check the data base and inform the owners.’ www.facebook.com/groups/deceasedanimalretrievalgeelong/
‘I hate seeing the extremely sad look in the vet’s eyes when I turn up with a dead animal. A lot of people couldn’t do what I do, it upsets them too much. I do it for the animals and so the owners obtain closure. They may even collect their pet and bury it.
‘I’ve also become very good at finding animals that have been missing for weeks. It’s fun, you feel like a detective and I love the happy endings when I’m able to reunite lost pets with their owners.
‘There was one time when I became aware of a woman who’d found a dead cat, asked around with no luck and in a well-meaning way, decided to bury it. I got in contact and dug the cat up. I must admit I had a ‘what on earth are you doing?’ moment with that one. But hopefully the owners now know.
‘Then there was an extremely sad situation where I heard of an elderly lady who had come to Geelong just for the day from Mildura. Her poodle had escaped and unfortunately I found it dead on the tracks.
‘A down side is when people mistake objects like slippers to be a dead cat. I even turned up at one place in the middle of the night, having been told there was a dead collie by the road but it turned out to be a black and white bomber jacket. I can laugh about it now and at least be relieved it wasn’t another dead pet.
‘I love animals and have been training dogs for years. If you’d like to help by letting me know if ever you find a dead pet, my phone number is on my website www.k9help.com.au Please don’t tag me on facebook as I can’t keep up with all the times I’m tagged. Just send me a text.’
Photo: Phil Hines Photography, Paul and Sargent.