Searching for Sookie the cat

Hounds called in to look for missing cats

Pet tracker Al Maclellan and his bloodhound Jed.

Even in pelting rain that marks the onset of fall, Jed, the blood hound, is single-minded.

He wants to work –  sniff, sniff, sniff and track.

Jed has been back to this Pitt Meadows neighbourhood at least six times since he was first called in to look for Sookie, a missing Bengal house cat.

Jed’s owner, Al Maclellan of Pet Searchers Canada, is in the business of finding lost dogs and cats.

The pair tracked Sookie’s scent to a cul-de-sac on 191B Avenue, off McMyn Road.

Jed could smell her on the grass just outside a block of apartment, but then the scent disappears.

“Either someone or something picked her up,” says Langely-based Maclellan, who was paid for an initial search by Sookie’s owner, but has been returning to the neighbourhood on his own dime because he’s sure the cat’s nearby.

“There are no signs of predator attack. If any cat’s going to get away from a coyote, it’s a Bengal. They are very agile and have a wild instinct in them.”

Maclellan grew up on a game farm in Ontario, where he learned to hunt and track with his father.

It wasn’t until he lost his own dog that he realize he could perhaps use dogs to find lost pets.

The recent finds listed on his website include Jody, a Chihuahua, who escaped from a backyard in Cloverdale but was sniffed out by Jed in 20 minutes; Boo, a Persian cat missing for four days who was found in two hours; and Buck, a Labrador- German Shepherd cross who was lost in Maple Ridge for two days but found by Jed in two hours.

The finds listed don’t include the pets Maclellan has located, but who’ve met their demise in the jaws of a coyote, cougar or bob cat.

Just recently, RCMP  warned the public about cats being mutilated in Maple Ridge.

“A lot of pet owners just want that closure,” says Maclellan, who also uses trail cameras, puts up weather-proof posters, scours free online listings and will even set up a trap to capture an elusive pet.

To most people, pets are family and Maclellan doesn’t mind getting dragged by his bloodhounds through thick bush, muck, snow, up mountains and into marshes to find them.

Sookie, who liked to stroll near her owners’ townhouse complex during the day, most likely scaled a fence and wandered on the side walk along McMyn Ave. before strolling into the cul-de-sac where her scent disappears.

Maclellan was called in five days after she went missing, on Aug. 27, and used Sookie’s bed to find her distinct scent.

Tori Mansfield, who got Sookie as a gift for her birthday last year, isn’t ready to give up on her Bengal with piercing green eyes. She’s positive Sookie, who is quite the looker, has been stolen.

“Life without Sookie has been tragic. Not knowing where she is or if she’s being treated OK breaks my heart,” says Mansfield.

“We will never get another animal, nothing could replace her. I can’t even look at pictures of her I get too upset. I am hoping for a miracle that someone will be kind enough to bring her back to us.”

• Contact Tori at 604-790-8939 or Petsearchers Canada at petseachers.webs.com if you find Sookie.

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