HAYNES: In Antarctica it might be a penguin, in India it could be a mongoose and in France it could be a French poodle or a cat or just about anything. We're talking about pets -- all kinds of animals kept as companions by people. The practice has been common for thousands of years. Scientific research has shown that pets can boost people's morale and even lower their blood pressure.

But pets can be the cause of worry too, particularly if they get lost. That's when a pet detective can come in handy as Lilian Kim explains.


MELODY PUGH, PET DETECTIVE: OK, well then I'm going to come down there.

LILIAN KIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Melody Pugh works the phone, searches on foot and drives around town looking for clues to help back her latest case.

PUGH: And there's a hole underneath the house. Your cat could have got underneath that house.

KIM: Melody is a pet detective. Since she started three years ago, this animal lover has reunited more than 400 pets with their owners.

CHERI SAYAN, DOG OWNER: I was so relieved. I couldn't believe it. It was like my baby.

KIM: Animal control officers even call her for help. Here, Melody is helping to capture an injured Canadian goose.

PUGH: Kind of divert her. I think she thinks I'm looking at her.

KIM: Melody doesn't charge for her services. Her labor of love began after she lost her own cat, Norman . It took her 95 days to find him.

PUGH: My own sadness inside just to -- was almost a killer for me. And whenever I hear somebody else has a lost pet, I realize what they're going through. I know that firsthand.

KIM (on camera): Melody's secret to finding a lost pet is persistence. Hitting the streets, talking to neighbors and posting flyers are critical. But she says what's most important is to check out animal shelters on a regular basis.

PUGH: Listening to an after-hours recording is not good enough. Your pet could be adopted or otherwise if you don't go and look for yourself.

KIM (voice-over): Despite her overwhelming success rate, Melody does have 22 unsolved cases, refusing to give up on any of them. What keeps her going: the joy of reuniting owner and pet.

PUGH: You're too trusting, young lady, you need to stay home.

KIM: Lilian Kim, CNN, Bremerton , Washington .


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