What Real-Life Pet Detectives Think of ‘Ace Ventura’
If the classic 1990s Ace Ventura movies are to be believed, a pet detective spends much of their time cosplaying as delivery people, speaking from their assholes, crawling out of the anuses of mechanical rhinos and, on occasion, rescuing animals.
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But given the utter ridiculousness of Jim Carrey’s two Ace Ventura films, it’s probably safe to assume that they’re not the best representation of actual pet detectives. So what is it that they do exactly — beyond the obvious (i.e., locating lost pets and returning them safely to their very worried moms and dads)? I sniffed out a few real-life Ace Venturas to find out…
What does a pet detective actually do?
Kelly Brach, Pet Detective in Long Island since 2018: There are so many different variations of what people do to assist with finding lost pets. There are Facebook forums, and there are people that go out and look around and help owners hang fliers. I have trained canines who are imprinted on pet odor instead of drugs or bombs or humans. I give the dog a scent article for the pet I’m working on — like a bed or a toy or something — and I say a special word to have them smell it and look for the pet.
Laura Balducci, Pet Detective in Long Island since 2015: I act as an advisor for people who have lost pets. There are some basic things that you do, like contact local shelters and vets and hang fliers in the neighborhood. You’ve got to act fast though — time is your biggest enemy when you’ve a lost pet.
Bonnie Hale, Pet Detective in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex since 2006: When I started out, I’d look for anything I was called for, but as I’ve become more in demand, I now specialize in cats because cats are a lot more findable. For one thing, cats hide and dogs run. Also, cats don’t usually get picked up in the first three to five days of being lost, but dogs do.
I like to warn people, though, that there are a lot of scammers in this business who will take money from pet owners, claiming to be a pet detective and never show up. I hate them more than I hate Ace Ventura.
What’s the most exotic animal you’ve tracked down?
Brach: One of my dogs tracked a duck — the duck’s name was Jamal, which was hilarious. I’ve also tracked a snake and a couple of lizards.
Landa Coldiron, Bloodhound Handler in Southern California and Author of The Bloodhound Handler — Book One: Adventures of a Real-Life Pet Detective: We just had a case in San Diego for a tortoise that went missing. The place the dog led us to had raccoon prints there. Unfortunately, raccoons love to eat tortoises.
I also had a case for an exotic parrot that went missing from a veterinarian’s office, which eventually was found. I’ve gotten calls to track down Bigfoot and lost gold and things like that as well. But I don’t take every case.
Hale: An anteater. No, we didn’t find him.
What do you think of Ace Ventura?
Brach: When I got my first working dog, all my brother did was call me “Ace” — he’s an asshole, but I love him. I love those movies though. They’re hysterical.
Coldiron: He was hysterical! Plus, it brought a lot of awareness to lost pets. He definitely helped the cause.
Hale: I never did see Ace Ventura when it was in theaters, and once I became a pet detective, I made a vow to never see it. I just find it so stupid.
Do you ever speak out of your butthole?
Coldiron: No, I never talked out my butthole.
Balducci: No, I haven’t, but I love that scene and I love Jim Carrey.
Brach: I try not to, but there are some times that I have.
Hale: I’m talking out of it now.