BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A local family has hired a pet detective to solve the case of their missing dog.
Ruca, their 8-year-old Shih Tzu went missing last week when she dug a hole under the fence. The dog was not wearing a collar at the time. The Horton family is beside themselves with grief.
"From the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed, I have been doing everything I can to find her," said Brittney Horton.
Now they have pulled out all the stops and hired Pet Search and Rescue to help.
"It reminds us of the movie, Ace Ventura Pet Detective, that made us laugh," said Horton.
But actually, it's no laughing matter for the family. Horton's husband gave her the dog just before he was deployed to Iraq eight years ago, while they were still dating.
"She was my constant companion, my buddy when he was gone," said Horton.
A team of three trained professionals, with pet rescue and law enforcement backgrounds, all came together to do the job.
Pet Search and Rescue specializes in helping people find their lost pets and uses a variety of techniques, including highly trained search dogs.
"My life's purpose is helping animals, and this is a great opportunity for me to do that. When a pet goes missing, there is very little help out there for the owner," said Annlisa Berns, pet detective.
The cost to get the team on scene starts at $300. The team has located hundreds of lost animals over the years, throughout the country.
"We have a very good success rate even two weeks after a pet is missing. We advise people to aggressively search for a minimum of six weeks," said Berns.
The family is offering a $500 reward for Ruca to be returned.
Anyone with information can call 661-679-6373.
The pet detectives can be reached through their website www.petsearchandrescue.com.