Tribute to AJ
Below is the tribute that Kat Albrecht sent on July 7, 2004 to friends and family after the passing of her beloved A.J. This remarkable bloodhound suffered from severe allergies, hip dysplasia, deafness, and liver disease. As it is with any prolonged illness, A.J.’s veterinary care was quite costly and was funded strictly by the proceeds from Kat Albrecht’s book. If you are moved by A.J.’s story, please consider making a donation to Missing Pet Partnership and make your check payable to “The Rachel Fund.” Contributions can be sent to:
Missing Pet Partnership
c/o Rachel Fund
P.O. Box 2457
Clovis, CA 93613
Kat's Tribute to A.J.
It is with deep grief that I share the sad news that A.J., my 12-year old bloodhound, was laid to rest today. In the end, it wasn’t his liver problems or all the masses that he had growing on his organs, but his hip dysplasia that caused his back end to fail. He was put to sleep wearing his bright orange POLICE vest along with the food he loved the most—a stem of broccoli! A.J.’s ashes will be spread in Santa Cruz along Navarra Drive over the exact trail he led me to track down a burglary suspect, his one and only felon find.
A.J.’s search history included many searches for Alzheimer’s patients, missing hikers, criminals, other lost people, and retracing the path in a few criminal cases where he provided useful information to investigations. He is the reason why I eventually became a pet detective—having escaped from my cabin in 1996, an incident that sparked the idea to train dogs to track lost pets. In 1998, A.J. was retired from police work and moved straight into tracking lost pets. His very first search, without any previous training on tracking dogs or cats, was the search for a missing diabetic cat named Marmalade who he found in less than eight minutes. A.J. went on to track a missing Jack Russell Terrier named “Bubba” and a few other lost pet cases before he was medically retired due to his hip dysplasia. A.J. received total hip replacement surgery in 1999 and lived out his retirement in relative comfort.
A.J. was featured in the PBS program and companion book Dogs With Jobs and although he was too old to play himself, he was also featured on the PAX program Miracle Pets (now shown on Animal Planet as Animal Miracles). Several of his searches are featured in my book The Lost Pet Chronicles, including the capture of the burglary suspect mentioned above. A.J. will be the feature dog in the next book that Jana Murphy and I are already outlining—The Bloodhound Chronicles (tentative title) will detail the criminal and missing persons cases that I worked with A.J. and the work of some other amazing police bloodhounds.
Of all the things I learned from A.J., the one thing that stands out is that he taught me how to TRUST. On so many occasions, he would lead me down a path that I believed that was NO WAY the missing person had traveled and yet, time and time again, A.J. proved that he was faithfully leading me on the correct scent trail and that my doubts were unfounded. I wrote an article titled Waiting at the Gate about one such search—a case where A.J. saved a man’s life and ultimately earned the National Police Bloodhound Association’s 1995 Lifesaving Award.
Since he was trained in urban man trailing and did most of his tracking work through populated areas, I am sure that A.J. is tracking a scent trail on the golden streets of heaven, following some tantalizing scent.
I love and will forever miss you my little “Budder Boy.”
Kat & Dogs