Finding Lost Pets - Pet Search and Rescue

International K-9 Search and Rescue uses trained search dogs to search for missing and stolen animals including domesticated pets as well as livestock. If your pet is lost and you've signed a contract for us to help you find it, we will:

  1. Take a report from you including a missing pet description and profile.

  2. Obtain a scent article belonging to your pet. (Some kind of fur, hair, blanket, or collar that only that pet has touched, worn, or laid on).

  3. Start tracking the missing or stolen pet with a trained search dog team.

CLICK HERE to get a contract now.

Dog found and reunited with happy guardians.

Dogs and guardian reunited after Valorie tracked them for 6 miles.


A Bull Mastiff being
rescued from a 40 foot dry well.

Click on the following links for more information about finding your pet:

A found pet:
Thank you again for finding Pookie for us. I wish so much I had known about your service 3 days earlier and I think we could have found her alive. I know her time on earth was going to be limited but knowing she died all alone without us is hard for me. But it was good to find her so we didn't have to wonder and worry about her and we could bring her home to bury. I will certainly recommend your services to anyone in our situation.
Please send me a picture at your convenience.
Onalee and Jerry Wasserburger

We aren't cheap but you are getting 29 years of professional K9 SAR experience. I haven't raised our prices in 19 years.

We aren't a member of the Better Business Bureau, but we do hold an A plus rating with them.

Note: I have two search dogs. I'm only allowed to fly with one in cabin. Because of this, I do not have a credible dog sitter that I can trust to leave my other SAR dog with while I respond to private searches on the east coast, or mid west calls, this means I drive to most of my searches.

The cost? Unless you are willing to hire a PRIVATE JET which costs thousands of dollars so I may fly both SAR Dogs in cabin, I will be driving.

I charge $25.00 dollars per hour driving time each way. (Round trip) So go to map quest, Map quest from Longview, Washington to your location.

Example: Longview, Wa. to Seattle. 6 hours round trip x $25.00 = $150.00 (Must take in consideration (rush hour traffic-construction etc) 

Then ad the cost of fuel 128 miles each way x 2 (round trip) = 256 miles divide by one / third (Cost of fuel) = $86.00

Meals $40.00 per day.

Search time $200.00 per hour. (96% of my searches last one hour or less). 1 hour x 200 =$200.00

Total owed $476.00 then if you are paying by credit card (We don't accept checks of any kind). Cash or credit card payments only. You must ad the paypal or credit card fee of .0459%

.0459% x $476.00 =$22.00

Total bill will be $498.00 

If you are asked to make a deposit before we respond, you may then go to our web site at click on "Donate or Payment" button. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page where you'll see a credit card button. Click on this and it takes you directly to our PayPal account. There you must make your payment in full. (Only after you have requested and received our contract and have completed it and sent it back.

If the trip is longer then 4 hours each way, I may ad a night stay at a motel. (Ad $120.00) per night of stay.

NOTE: If you live in the midwest or east coast, Please feel free to email me directly for assistance.

Please do not CALL MY OFFICE BEFORE 1200 PM your time which is 0900hrs. Pacific Coast Time.

And do NOT ask me if we have any SAR teams on the east coast that search for lost pets, we don't. 

There are NO Credible SAR Dog teams that search for pets on the East or SE coast or mid west at this time. 

We respond from the West coast.

We average 550 to 750 SAR Call requests a year for missing persons and lost pets. I do consulting work with an 85% success rate for $20.00.

The average costs for pet searches by city. Cities we respond to on a regular basis.

Vancouver, Washington & Portland, Oregon 2 hrs driving time (round trip from Longview, Wa.) $50.00, Fuel $35.00, 1 meal $10., Search time $200.00, Credit card fee $14.00. Totals: $309.00 

Moscow, Idaho. 15 hours Driving time from Longview, Wa. $375.00, 1 night motel $150.00, 808 miles driven $270.00 fuel, search time 1 hr $200.00 meals x 6 =$80.00, Credit card fee $48.00 = $1,123.

San Fransisco, Ca. 25 hours driving time from Longview, Wa. $625.00, 2 nights motels $300.00, 1363 miles fuel $460.00, meals x 3 days $120.00
search time $200.00, credit card fee $75.00 = $1,780.00

Reno, Nevada. 1254 miles round trip $420.00 fuel, 24 hours driving time round trip $500.00, 2 nights motel $300.00, 6 meals $120.00, search time $200.00   $1480 credit card fee $68.00 Totals: $1608.00

Los Angeles, Ca. 48 hours driving time round trip $1200.00, 2,050 miles round trip fuel $685.00, Motel x 3 = $450.00, meals x 4 days $160.00, Search time $200.00 = $2699.00 credit card fee $120.00 =$2815.00 

Bozeman, Montana. 30 hours driving time round trip $750.00, fuel 1570 miles round trip =$530.00, motels x 3 = $450.00, Search time $200.00, Meals 4 days $160.00 = $2,090.00 credit card fee $90.00 =$2,180.00

Fort Carson, Colorado. 2750 miles round trip, fuel $925.00, 48 hours driving time $1200.00, motel 450.00, meals x 4 days $160.00, Search time $200.00, =$2,845.00, Credit card fee $130.00 Totals: $3,066.00

20 years ago I was asked to write this article for a pet magazine about how to travel with your pet safely. Hereís an updated version.

Fact: I.K.9.S.A.R.S. receives between 500 and 750 calls each year regarding missing persons and lost pets from around the world.
During the holidays our calls increase involving the search for pets and sometimes people who disappear from accident scenes. The main reason is that people are often traveling on icy, wet, snowy roads and become involved in MVAís. (Motor Vehicle Accidents).

With this many calls, Iíve documented a 99% success rate of either determining what really happened to the driver, and their human and animal passengers in the vehicle(s) involved in the MVA.
Some are picked up and transported to a nearby hospital or vet clinic. Others are taken away from the scene never to be heard from again. Most people and pets are still on scene when EMS, Fire, and Police arrive on the scene.

What about the pets? 90% of the pets are still inside the vehicle. 5% are ejected or trapped inside the vehicle and they are found seriously injured or killed because their owners think ahead and fit them for a seat belt or place them in a travel kennel.

Think about this. A vehicle traveling at 55 mph means your 5lbs or 55 lbs pet is also traveling at 55 mph. Upon impact you now have a 5lbs or 55 lbs missile. Often the pet strikes the driver or passengers injuring or killing both the driver, passenger, and pet.

Fact: Seat belts for pets have been around for over 30 years. You can buy a harness at Pet smart, Petco, or other pet store or order them online. Never secure your pet by a collar. If there is a sudden impact you can kill your pet. The collar will snap its neck or injure its throat causing it to suffocate from traumatic injuries.

In fact we donít even allow our search dogs to wear collars anymore. We lost two from choking to death from collars. One got caught on a fence the other on another dogís jaw while playing. Both were supervised during the incident and were not able to be saved. Thus, no more collars for any reason.
Our dogs are all micro-chipped, and their id, rabies tags, and county license tags are all connected to their harness.

You are required by law to seat belt your two legged children. Why wouldnít you seat belt your four legged children? In many states itís the law. Yes you can be issued a citation for not properly securing your pet inside or outside the motor vehicle (Bed of pick up). The days of allowing your pet to ride freely in the back of the pick up or loose inside your vehicle are over. And itís a good thing. This protects you, your passengers and the pets.

For photos of how we suggest you secure your pet(s) in a seat belt are viewed on our web site at:
Make sure you allow enough room in your seat belt system for the pet to stand up, stretch, turn around and lay down again. When you stop at a rest stop, restaurant, or for any other break, remember to unlock your pet from their seat belt system so they can get up and stretch.

While itís not a bad idea to secure your pet in a travel kennel thereís some important things to remember.
Make sure the kennel can be opened by either side of the kennel. If not, take the nuts, bolts out of the side molding and restring the holes with parachute cord. Duct tape a pocket knife to the kennel (unless the kennel is used in flying your pet). In the event of a major accident and in the event the vehicleís back doorís or side doors canít be opened due to damage, the driver, or passenger can crawl back there, cut the crate open by cutting the parachute cord and free the pet immediately.

NOTE: Make sure you tied down the crate inside the vehicle so it doesnít fly through the air in the event of a MVA.

Dog screens. Example:
While this is an improvement, if the pet isnít seat belted it still can be killed or injured if not seat belted in. Something to think about.

Before you travel:
Microchip your pets. In Portland, Oregon we get back over 3000 pets a year from micro-chips. Once your pet is chipped, please make sure you have the vet scan the chip to see that is in place. Some migrate and must be replaced.

Next, when you get home, get online and register your petís chip and your emergency contact information. Many folks forget to do this. So when the animal is found, often the vetís office or animal control doesnít know who the animal belongs to.

When you register your petís emergency contact information, itís important to document your current name, home address, and home and cellular phone #ís.
Itís important to register your information with the microchip company and separately on a dog tag attached to the harness. Note the next of kin, or an emergency contact personís name and phone number. This is because if you are injured, dead, or canít be contacted for some reason, rescuers can contact this person and find out what to do with your pet.

ID YOUR PET. Itís also not a bad idea to photograph your pet from different angles. Comb out their fur, place this information, a copy of their rabies certificate, and shot records, your next of kin or emergency contact information in an envelope documented (I.C.E.) In Case of Emergency. Keep this inside your vehicle next to your vehicle registration. This will show any EMS, FIRE, or Law enforcement employee what to do with your pet(s) in the event of your death or injury. If the pet becomes lost it gives experts like myself a scent item for the search dog(s), a photo, and id information on what your pet looks like to conduct an immediate search.
Make sure you travel with extra pet food, water, clean up bags, toys, and leashes for your pet(s). Take a pet first aid kit and first aid class before you go.

During travel. Plan ahead.
Iíve driven over 1,000,000 miles by vehicle to respond around the USA to searches for missing persons and lost, stolen pets. Iíve also flown over a 1,000,000 miles with my search dogs flying IN CABIN as my service animals under Federal regulations to respond to international incidents.

Hereís what Iíve learned while driving. Plan ahead. Make sure you reserve your camping sites, motels, etc with animal friendly hotels, motels, camp sites. When you get out at a rest stop, keep your pets on leash. I carry a bite stick. This is a 3í stick to protect my dogs from aggressive dogs and their stupid pet owners.

This way if my dogs are attacked, (which has happened over 300 times during travel and searches) I can ram the stick down the attacking dogís throat, giving it something to bite while I reach for my mace, knife, stun gun, or firearm to end the attack. (Make sure you research the state laws on use of force and carrying weapons.
Out of over three hundred documented attacks, only one dog made it past the stick and bit my dog. Most are stopped when they see the stick coming at them. Donít hit the dog with the stick, ram the bite stick into its mouth. This prevents injury to you and your pet.

If your pet needs to take daily medications, flea control, diabetes meds, etc. make sure you plan ahead for this. Take a pet first aid course. Watch for bites from animals, insects, spider, scorpions, ticks, snakes, etc.

Note: FLEA COLLARS donít work. Donít waste your money on them. Look at other flea and heartworm protection. Watch out for diseases that can affect your pet. Flu, parvo, distemper, etc.
Make sure your pet has shade in the summer and heat during the winter.

After you have arrived at your destination: Give your pet a break. Let them take care of person business and then make sure they have plenty of food, water, and shade.

What to do if you are involved in an MVA with your pet.
First make sure you arenít injured, if you are, treat your injuries. Then rescue your pet(s). If you are incapacitated, injured or killed that is why the ICE info is present for your pet(s) to be rescued. Train your children what to do in the event of an MVA and if you are incapacitated.
Turn your four way flashers on. Turn your engine off. Unhook your seat belt. Stay with your vehicle if you can.

Fact: Most vehicles wonít catch on fire after an accident. Working on scene of over 4,000 MVAís as a police officer and EMT, Iíve seen three vehicles catch fire. Itís not like TV and Hollywood movies which makes you believe every vehicle that runs into something is going to catch fire. They wonít. But be ready to get out if you can should the engine start smoking. Unlock your seat belt, then your children, and pets. If you must exit the vehicle, grab your ďGO BAGĒ. (View our ten essentials) for the ďGo BagĒ contents.
Keep your pet away from any leaking fluids from the vehicles. Keep then on leash and treat them for their injuries.

Stay out of oncoming traffic, Sit down, exchange information as required by law.
If your pet is missing because you didnít think ahead of their safety, follow the guidelines below.

Fact: 99% of the pets that run from an accident scene stay within 300 yards of the scene. If they are injured or can move they will want to get away from the scene because itís scary. Scary noises, smells, broken glass, leaking fluids. Sirens, strange people.
Once the animal calms down they will go back to the site where they last saw their owners (Handlers). I call them pet partners. If you are a volunteer searching for someoneís lost pet please do the following immediately.

Inspect the vehicle involved. Look under the seats and under the dashboard. Make sure the pet isnít trapped under the seat or dashboard. In high speed impacts this is a common place they get trapped inside the vehicle.

Next walk the area with 100 yards. 99% will stay in that area. Most will hide in briars, thick vegetation. Iíve found most with 200 feet from the accident scene hiding in the bushes while their owners walked right over the top of them.

Donít yell the pets name. Itís in shock. A pet can hear your heart beat from several feet away under ideal conditions. Imagine itís injured, scared and now strange people are yelling at it? The best thing to do is once the vehicle has been cleared, sit down after the police and vehicles have left the scene. Set up a home away from home for the pet. A tent or lean too.

Have the pet partners / owners leave something that has their scent on it. Urine is the best thing to have. Place it in a spray bottle then squirt the area down. Once squirt every 6 feet the size of a quarter. Dirty socks, hats, jackets, underwear work well too.

Next, if you can bring the kennel or a kennel out to the scene. Place it 100 yards away from the roadway if you can. Place the partners scent inside and around along with food, water, toys. Next post a large 3íx3íĒAĒ framed sandwich board sign with a photo of the pet saying ďReward for safe return no questions askedĒ. Then a contact phone # of a rescuer involved in the search for the pet. If you can, bring out a search dog.

Scent can be tracked for up to a year. Some animals travel. About 2% decide to follow the ambulance or head home. Dogs can travel up to 30 miles a day. Cats can travel up to 9 miles a day on an average. Ream more on how to find the lost pet by reading this link:

If you find the pet, sit down immediately. Get down on its level, bring out some food, water, and have a picnic. I donít care if your ass deep in snow, do it. Let the pet come to you. This is what works. There are times the animal is so in shock that you must drug it. Talk to your local vet about acepramizine or Benadryl to calm the pet down.
If you can set up a motion detector GAME Camera. this can help you determine if the pet is coming around and how often.

Look at a live trap if you can. Make sure you check it twice a day.

Once recovered, captured make sure you have a veterinarian examine it and treat it for any injuries.

Good luck and happy travels.

Mr. Harry E. Oakes Jr.
K9 SAR Coordinator.

This email in from jennifer Horman Osb.:

"Thank you for providing detailed info from your website re: difference between pet detectives and credible search n rescue ops. 

Despite expressed reservations of many, last week a friend hired Karin Tarqwyn Pet P.I. to find her lost bull mastiff. Thus far she's done nothing but isolate the dog owner from all the volunteers previously helping out, we cannot confirm anything she claims about herself, she's not even here in Oklahoma but sent someone from Memphis with a couple of dogs (they call this the "tracking team"). Though that person only stayed out for an hour and would not go into the woods so we could show her paw prints, they now claim they found the prints & are well on their way to finding the dog and are pawning off my map of perimeter with locations as their own.

Would you say she fits into the pseudo-pet detective category? Any adivce on how to stop the bleeding so we can find the dog, get Karin outta here, and salvage friends bank account?"

My response:

We get emails weekly from people who have used pet detectives in LA, Ca. Ok City and Seattle Wa areas. They are frustrated as these PET DETECTIVES mostly trained from the MARS group
Won't provide them with a search contract so they know ahead of time what they are getting ahead of time. (What kind of services to expect). Won't let them go on the searches with them. Won't supply them with an after action search report to document for court purposes should it come to that later on what did happen to their pet and where.

This is why we strongly urge every one to check out these people's references.

International K9 SAR Services are NOT pet detectives. We are in fact real search and rescue K9 Tracking team that tracks both people and lost pets.

Recently a client in Shelton, Wa. spent money on a pet detective who calls himself "3 labs K9 tracking team": His search dog led the family all over the place but didn't find the missing dog.
Then her husband hired us to come in. Our search dogs tracked from their home right to the entrance of the water treatment plant. Once the video was inspected from the security cameras the dog was seen going under the fence right where we tracked it to. Sadly it had drowned in the holding pond there. 

2014-9038-102(A). 03-98-2014 Lost dog Shelton, Wa. Kathy Jones Walker Park Rd. Shelton WA Chanel Red saluki with black muzzle, and black and white markings.16 months old. Chip is AKC. red collar w/black and gold trim Team; H. Oakes SAR Dog Willow SAR Dog Tyler K-9-1. We were 100% on our track. Dog found inside Shelton water treatment plant dead. Drowned in pond. 

So you get what you pay for. We provide contracts before we respond so you know what to expect. We have hundreds of references from 28 years of finding missing people and lost pets posted on our web site.

We provide a receipt, invoice, and search report after each search and we'll gladly testify in court on your behalf should the need arise.

Harry Oakes
International K9 SAR Services.
Harry Oakes Search and Rescue (SAR) Coordinator.


Scent. All search dogs will pick up the freshest scent of the animal, and track it instinctively. As a human or animal walks along, it sheds approximately 10,000 pieces of scent per minute. This scent falls to the ground and stays there until the wind and air currents move the scent to nearby dirt, sand, brushy vegetation areas. The scent is held there until it fully dissipates about a year later. When an animal or human walks in one specific direction it's laying down scent that the trained search dog can track up to 365 days later, even in the rain. Rain actually helps the scent. It brings the scent closer to the ground surface, keeps the search dogs nasal passages moist to help the dog retain the scent, and it will liven the scent. 

What hurts scent? Heavy vehicle and human traffic contaminates the scent. Heavy rains of 2" per day may wash the scent down. Heat dries out the scent and the search dogs nasal scent receptors making it harder for the search dog to track. Cigarette smoke contains a poisonous drug called Nicotine. Nicotine is an anesthetizing agent that can numb up the search dogs scent receptors by 95% and make the search dogs basically useless. If you smoke around your pet, the second hand cigarette smoke poison that you are putting into their little lungs (Nicotine) can also alter the missing pet's scent, and prevent a search dog from tracking it. That's why all of our team members are non-smokers. That's also why you are never allowed to smoke around our search dogs or their handlers. You are also exposing your pet to many types of respiratory diseases and cancer.

Can search dogs track at night? Yes, of course we can. In fact we prefer to track at night. Air molecules stay lower to the ground at night and there are fewer scents to contend with in the evening. 

False tracks. A false track happens when the animal walks one specific direction, then the pet owner or someone else, walks on top of the pet's scent (usually in or around the home). This transfers the pet's scent onto the bottom of the person's footwear and when the person walks or drives a different direction, this person is now giving off a fresher scent of the missing pet to track. This is called a false scent trail. There is no way to prevent this from happening, it's a fact of life. The only way that you can keep this from happening, is to call Search and Rescue out immediately before you do any looking, so as not to contaminate the track.

What happens when the search dog tracks to a specific location and we can't find our pet? This happens on many of the tracks. The pet will walk to a specific location and by the time we get called, respond, and perform our track of the missing pet, it has already been picked up by a well meaning person to be cared for. The search dog will give you a direction of travel of your missing pet and the location of where your animal was picked up. You can then post your lost pet posters in this area. 60% of our clients get their pets back this way. This saves you time, money, and works really well. 

What if the search dog tracks my pet to a specific location and we get reports of sightings in a completely different area? It is not unusual for someone who is well meaning to pick up a lost animal. Soon the animal becomes too much responsibility for the person to take care of. They then may take it away from their own home and let it go. Usually at a nearby park, school, or business. They may take it back to where they found it and set it free, hoping it will find its way back home. Or the pet may just break free from the person and try to find its way back home.

How do we know the search dogs track was accurate? There is never a 100% guarantee that we'll find your loved one. We'll give it our best efforts. A SEARCH DOG doesn't know how to lie. That's why their testimony in a court of law is accepted, with training, testing, and mission documentation. A search dog is trained to follow the track or trail of the scent given to them by their dog handler. A mutual trust exists between the dog handler and the search dog. There a rare times where the search dog ends up following a false track. This happens approximately once in every 300 searches and it is usually caused by cross contamination. 

Harry Oakes started in SAR, May 1972. with Multnomah County Sheriffís Office with MCSO LE Post# 900 / 631. Portland, Ore.

1974-1977 US Army Military Police assisted in MAST Medicvacís.

1978 Worked as a SAR Coordinator with Morrow County Sheriffís Office in Heppner, Oregon.

1986 active member / instructor with Portland Mountain Rescue and co-founded the search dog program Oregon D.O.G.S. for the state of Oregon in 1986.

1987. Harry then founded the Non profit K9 SAR team of Mountain                                   Wilderness Search Dogs.

1997 Founded the for profit professional International K9 Search and Rescue Services.

Here's the break down of Harryís SAR Calls. All documented, and all accepted in the courts of law. Reviewed and verified by the Oregon Department of Justice. 

Since 1986, I've received over 11,255 SAR calls around the world. 
Again all these cases are documented by date, times, locations, names, places, agencies and have been reviewed by the Dept of justice, local law enforcement and other agencies and has been authenticated.

Finding just one person alive or dead gives a search dog handler credibility. Harry Oakes has a documented 99% accuracy level at finding the victim or determining what really happened to them and where.


Please contact I.K.9.S.A.R.S. for current updated SAR missions list and stats at


Copyright © 2005 International K-9 Search and Rescue Services. All rights reserved.