Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Harry the Swansea Cat (or I Lost my Keys but Found the Door)

The modern world can be a wonderful place. Oh yes, like most other middle aged men (I am gradually accepting my status) I can shake my fist at the evening news and moan about the government as well as the next man, but every now and then a strange story comes along that makes me laugh.

We used to say "only in America," but the truth is that these strange episodes are happening with growing frequency over here in 'dear old blighty'. Just the other day in the South Wales Evening Post just such a story had me chuckling into my morning cuppa.

A firm of "pet detectives" were called into Swansea, according to the very same morning paper, in search of an eight-month-old cat called Harry. What had he done? Were they going to get him in a cold and sterile room, shine a light in his face and question him over some dead goldfish? Or was there an evidence bag with a few lonely yellow feathers that had been found at the scene of a crime, at the bottom of a Swansea bird cage amidst the budgie guano?

No. Roll back a bit. These pet detectives are not (really) like their human counterparts. Well, they are human themselves (now that would be weird!), but rather than quiz felines, canines and aquatic life on crimes committed (wouldn't you love to see the latter being questioned - would they "do a runner" to the shipwreck?), like some Pit Bull who's been running an international drugs cartel, they look for missing pets. Not quite as exciting. Hardly Miami Vice.

Now I am fully aware that a missing pet can cause upset. We all grow to love our pets, unless we are the inhuman breed of human that enjoys making animals suffer (a step away from enjoying making humans suffer). The more attentive amongst you (hi mum) will recall how upset the Hurley household was when our very own Pussykins got run over outside our home. However, there is something so very "American" about calling in the pet detectives to find a missing cat. The firm in question travelled all the way from Birmingham (I can only surmise how relieved they were to get the opportunity to get away from Birmingham).

It is so very 'British' to put up signs for a 'missing moggy' on lamp-posts and so on, with a small reward for info leading to the tracking-down of said feline. Not that it doesn't stop local councils threatening fire from the heavens against those who do so (don't they have ASBO*-brats to worry about?). Sorry Mr. Council Man, I have left the lid of my wheelie bin ever so slightly ajar: "Off to Colditz with him! Life - no parole." Meanwhile the idiots who weekly scratch cars seem to walk through the raindrops. Too difficult to catch I suppose, or at least too difficult to deal with (10p a week off their dole money and another ASBO). The Catholic Church used to say (I hope it still does) that 'defrauding the working man of a just wage' is one of the sins calling out to heaven for vengeance. I forget all the others, but one was homosexuality - not very pc (thank God - literally). Today it seems the worst sin is to leave ones bin ajar, to use one's car or to suggest that homosexuals shouldn't adopt (but enough - the Stasi will be knocking on my door!)

No - in what GK Chesterton would have dismissed as a "fad" and which teeters on the very edge of making our pets into little humans (pet cemetery anyone?), the owner of the missing moggy had the Pet Detectives out and about, searching for the family pet. As much as I understand how upset someone might be at this turn of events (our littlest has been upset over a missing rabbit and chicken - but she has the excuse that she is still in single figures), the day is coming when we will have memorial tablets on the walls of churches for Felix the Cat, that is if Churches still bother with that kind of thing (everyone these days being canonised at the graveside by the vicar/priest/minister/vicaress/priestess/social worker who tells us all that the deceased is already in heaven, thus robbing us all of the greatest act of charity we can do, to pray for the dead; and robbing the dead of all the help they need) not to mention if the churches haven't all become carpet warehouses or pound-shops.

Animal Search UK: The A Team in safety vests
Yet despite the humour that Pet Detectives might evoke in and of themselves, or the idea of people travelling all the way from Birmingham to Swansea to seek out a wandering cat (oh - the carbon footprint! Let us hope they stopped every five minutes to plant a tree), the bit that had me chortling into my morning tea was further down the article.

The Brummies from Animal Search UK announced that their investigation had been a success because they had found... Well, let me reprint the words I found so amusing:

Animal Search UK professional pet detective Lucy Green, who acted as a search coordinator on the hunt for Harry, said that while they didn't find the cat they did locate his collar.
"It was a quite successful day," she said.

News that Shergar's saddle has been found has led to street parties in Ireland and headlines in the Irish Independent: "Shergar find: Quite Successful." The next time I lose my keys (a daily event) I will congratulate myself on locating the door they go into! Is that success in 2011?

Pet Detectives Join Hunt

* For bemused readers everywhere ASBO means Anti-Social Behaviour Order. Some say these court-issued "warnings" meant to stop criminal behaviour, are viewed as badges of honour by low-life criminals.


  1. How rude!! I am Luy Green said pet detective in your article and all I can say is if a client wants to pay us to search for their pet because they are unable to do so themselves - one of our clients was BLIND for example - think on before you slate a much needed service!!

  2. Rude? You've led a cossetted life :-) What a shame neighbours don't do what neighbours used to do which would negate the need of your travelling from Brum to Swansea.

    Any service that labels finding a collar a "success" is, in that instance, [if you'll forgive the animimal-horsey overtones] quite lame.

    BTW, I hope you gave the blind lady the service for free -- you being so altruistic and all.


No foul language please