Colin Butcher - Molly Author

Molly is the incredible true story of a British detective agency that finds missing pets. One of the partners just happens to be a cocker spaniel.

What inspired you to turn Molly’s story into a book?

We have a strong following on Facebook and people often ask for information about our investigations. I have also run a blog for about 10 years and this resulted in numerous requests from journalists to contribute to their articles. People really enjoy reading about what we have been up to. Therefore it seemed a natural step to take for Molly’s story to feature in a book.

You spent 10 years in the Royal Navy and then had a career as a police officer. Molly is a rescued cocker spaniel. How did you end up together as pet detectives?

I had always intended to work with animals; it just took a long time to find a career that enabled me to do so. In 2003, I formed a private detective agency that offered a specialized service in recovering stolen animals. Over the next few years the demand for this service soared, so I formed the United Kingdom Pet Detectives (UKPD) in 2005. Initially we only worked on cases of stolen horses and stolen dogs, but over the following 10 years, we started to work on all animal related crimes. Molly joined the team in 2016 to help us improve our recovery rate on stolen and missing cats and has now helped to recover 91 missing cats.

Why was it important for you to find a rescue dog for your partner, rather than go to a breeder?

I grew up in Malaysia and Singapore surrounded by unwanted dogs cast out onto the streets and left to fend for themselves. Despite their plight, most of these street dogs were extremely friendly and incredibly smart. This experience, added to the fact that my parents always took in rescue dogs, has remained with me throughout my life and impacts on every decision I make on pet ownership. All the dogs I have owned have been rescues.

Your agency rescues all kinds of pets, but finding cats is your specialty. How did that come about?

This is explained in detail throughout my book, but in summary, it was primarily due to the fact that 50 percent of our enquiries came from owners of missing or stolen cats. I felt that we simply were not offering a good enough service, and we should do more to improve our success rate. I had worked with drug dogs whilst running a drugs enforcement team in the police, and it was a logical step to take to bring a canine pet detective into our team.

Your first case with Molly was exciting, complete with a chase scene! Tell us about another memorable case.

All our cases are memorable and every investigation throws up something unique and special. Each Friday we publish details of previous investigations on our Facebook page, The Pet Detectives Community. There are also other examples on our website thepetdetectives.com.

Perhaps a great example to give would be the case of a cat named Molly, who belonged to an elderly woman who was rushed to hospital after a stroke.  Molly was placed with the woman’s nephew at a different address, but did not take to well to the sudden house move. She jumped out of a window, escaped into the night and survived as a free roaming cat for six months until she was spotted in a nearby hamlet by a sharp-eyed elderly cat lover. All the houses in this hamlet were dotted around the local cricket pitch, and each day Molly would complete a circuit, visiting many of the small cottages and saying hello to the owners (and being fed by most people she greeted). It took our Molly (Cat Detection Dog) just a day to track Molly down, which is how we discovered she had made so many new friends. This case is so memorable owing to how the two Mollys had such a big impact on the residents of this quaint, quintessential English hamlet.

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