I received this wonderful letter recently from Mina's person:
To Whom It May Concern,
My cat Mina went missing and I was absolutely devastated. I did everything I was supposed to, I created flyers, checked shelters, checked vets, talked to the neighbors, called the AVID chip company, etc. I hired Jackie for many reasons. First, Mina is a registered emotional support animal and it is very important to my well being that she is with me. Second, I was leaving on a week long vacation to the east coast and I was afraid of what could happen during the time that I was gone.
Jackie, Dino, and my roommate Andrew went out to begin the search and it took barely over an hour to track Mina down. Partly by Andrew’s recognition of Mina and partly due to Dino eagerly sniffing around her hiding place, Mina was found and it was not long until she was back home.
Jackie was very flexible with my timing needs. She had very clear instructions and though I could not be there, I knew exactly what was going to be going on during the search. She gave me clear rules and expectations so there were no surprises. When Andrew brought Mina back in, Jackie was very kind and helped Andrew get bandages (Mina is quite feisty!). She provided food and other techniques to help get Mina out of her hiding place. I would absolutely recommend Jackie to anyone who is looking for a missing pet.
Thanks to Jackie and her dog Dino, Mina is back home with me and we could not be happier. I am very pleased with Jackie’s services and if it were not for her search techniques and experience, we never would have been able to find and bring Mina back home. Thank you Jackie and Dino for your hard work!
Mina is an 11 year old, 10 pound, indoor only Lynx Point/Tabby mix. She has a medium length coat with brown, grey, and white fur and has blue eyes.
She went missing suddenly on a Monday from a second story apartment in a highly urban part of Oakland, and we were called out to search on the following Saturday. It was completely unclear how Mina got lost since she was never seen leaving the apartment, but her person did go down to the trash can sometime that night and did not see Mina leaving the area. All windows were purposely only opened a couple of inches at any time to prevent her from falling or jumping out the windows. There were multiple cats in the apartment and none, including Mina had ever left the apartment.
There were no sightings of Mina after 8 PM Monday night, inside or outside, even after an extensive search of the apartment, buildings and surrounding gardens and streets.
Between the back door to the apartment and the outside is a series of indoor only staircases and hallways and storage units all behind multiple, self-closing, high security heavy doors. I checked each one of them and all were so heavy that I had a difficult time opening and closing them with just one hand. Two hands were required to first unbolt the lock and then pull on the door handle simultaneously. Without the bolt and handle being unlocked and pulled at the same time, the door could not open.
After checking the indoor hallways and storage areas, we went to the outside and I started to have Dino check all outside doors and driveways and gardens. Towards the back of this property, behind chain link fences was a very old and dilapidated red brick fireplace that was now covered from top to bottom in thick ivy and so was the area surrounding the fireplace for over 20 feet in all directions. According to the tenant, the fireplace was from decades earlier when the trash from the apartment was taken there and burned.
When we got to the area to check for scent, I saw what appeared to be a striped cat running towards the back fence, but the cat ran fast into the ivy. Her person was behind me as we approached and did not see the cat. I told him what I saw and he went ahead to see if he could find a cat. He did not see any cats, so I moved ahead to bring in Dino.
We found a hole in the wooden fence behind the fireplace that a cat could have easily gotten through to the neighborhood behind, and I had Dino check that. At this point, I was standing next to the fireplace and now the old fireplace was much clearer than when I was further back over 25 feet. See photo #1. Her person told me that he saw what appeared to be a small opening in the base of the fireplace that had a metal door that was open. See photo #2. I brought Dino around to that door and had him check for scent. He seemed to inhale a couple of times and he kept his head down, appearing to figure out something and then he started to whine and remained persistent on the door. I moved him away from the door, kneeled down on the ground thick with leaves and twigs and brought my flashlight to the door to look in. After a couple of seconds, I saw a striped cat staring back at me from about three feet back and the cat looked just like Mina!
Her person kneeled down on the leaves and showed the flashlight into the hole and declared the cat was definitely Mina! Woot! Woot! I immediately moved Dino away as far as possible so she wouldn't get scared by him. Her person tried to get Mina to come to him, but she wouldn't. He did say it appeared she did recognize him and was meowing. I offered him some dog food from my treat bag and she did become slightly interested, but not enough to move towards the door. He said that he had some of her food in a container in the refrigerator and I offered to go get it. He gave me his keys and I went to the apartment. Just as I got to the refrigerator, I heard him behind the back door yelling, "Jackie, are you in there?" and I said, "Yes!" He said, "Quick! Open the door! I have Mina and she is biting and scratching me!" I could hear a cat screaming and a man crying out in extreme pain. I quickly opened the back door and I scurried out the front door with Dino and I saw out of the corner of my eye a shadow of a cat flying into the apartment.
I went to my car and put Dino inside and ran back to the apartment to let her person into his apartment since I had his keys. Unfortunately, his hands and arms were covered in deep scratches and multiple bites. He said, "She started to come towards the food and I reached in quickly to grab her and pulled her out. I ran all the way to the locked back door with her scratching and biting me. Luckily another person was there to let me in that locked door and then I ran up the stairs to my back door, which is when I found you." I could see his hands were already starting to shake from the pain and the skin around the wounds was swelling. I said to rinse and clean everything really well and I drove to a local drug store and bought some Liquid Bandage to start to put on the cuts and bites. He said he also had some Neosporin to start to put on, also.
He had called his roommate, the co-owner of the cat, and she was so happy. I am not sure he told her about the bites and scratches, but he was so happy, he was almost grateful to have them and have his cat back.
Good job to everyone! Sometimes it takes a village to get a lost animal home!
Photo #1. Fireplace is at the far back behind the trees.
Photo #2 of the small metal door at the base of the fireplace.