MEET Molly, the world's first dog trained to find cats. The UK firm, Pet Detectives, searches for missing animals and now Molly has joined the team.
Colin Butcher, of Pet Detectives, said they had been looking for an intelligent dog with a good temperament and, most importantly, didn't chase cats. The dog also needed to be fairly small so they could get into small spaces.
"I worked in the police as a detective inspector for many years, and had seen dogs search for drugs and bombs and help with murder investigations. I figured, if a dog can be trained to find amphetamines, then it can be trained to find cats," said Colin.
Molly, an 18-month-old black-haired cocker spaniel, was found on Gumtree, a UK classified advertisement site. And she was free as her owner couldn't cope with her. If cocker spaniels are not stimulated they become uncontrollable and Molly had three owners in under two years.
Colin said: "At first, Molly was anxious. But she had intelligent eyes and was a problem-solver. She was also hyper and fixated on catching tennis balls. She had the right temperament: a bright working dog from a breed with a natural disposition to search for game. We just had to channel that instinct into finding cats.
"She had to be 'cat-tested', so we took her to a farm with a dozen cats to see if she would chase them. She didn’t even bark. Her focus was on interacting with her handler."
Nine months later Molly was out on assignments. She is trained to pick up cats’ scents from their bedding. When she finds the missing cat, she lies down to signal success, so as not to scare them, but you can see her trembling with excitement. She gets rewarded with her favourite food, black pudding (a type of sausage).
Now Molly has become a bit of a media star and was interviewed on ITV's This Morning Show.
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