After her cat Dolce had been missing for almost two weeks, Rachel Panay called on a modern-day Dr. Doolittle to help the
pet find its way home.
But this Dr. Doolittle, who lives in Seattle, is a long-distance animal psychic. Panay's cat was lost at a McDonald's parking lot, just off
Interstate 95 near Sebastian, and animal communicator Annette Betcher said she was able to speak telepathically with the cat about its
whereabouts from across the country.
Annette Betcher, who has never been to Indian River County before, talked with Panay on the telephone about the brown and white tabby. Betcher started talking telepathically with Dolce a few days ago.
"The cat told me where it went," she said.
Speaking from her office in Seattle Wednesday, Betcher said Dolce told her there were bright lights around and that she was in the deeper woods -- not the little woods -- near the McDonald's. The 1 1/2-year-old female cat also could feel the ground moving beneath her, a reference to the interstate.
The cat said it was getting some things to eat, Betcher said. People from the nearby mobile home park may have been feeding it, she said.
Betcher marked three places on a map of the area where she felt Dolce was hiding. Humane Society workers put out traps in those exact places, using Dolce's favorite food and a piece of Panay's sweatshirt as bait.
Within two hours, Dolce was found Tuesday in one of the newly placedtraps.
Panay was on her way from Miami to her new home in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 22 when she stopped near Sebastian for a short break.
Apparently, her cat Dolce also needed a break from the car because it bolted away. Panay couldn't coax the cat back to her and reluctantly continued on her way.
But Dolce never left her mind. She called the Humane Society every day to see if the cat had been found. Finally, she said she turned to
Betcher, who has been communicating with animals for about 30 years. Betcher was referred by a friend, she said.
"I was thinking I had no other hope, so why not?" she said. "I was thinking, 'I have nothing to lose.' "
Panay is expected to return today to Indian River County to retrieve her cat. Dolce is fine, although it has lost significant weight and is
dehydrated, said Joan Carlson, executive director of the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County.
Betcher said she had to convince Dolce to go into the trap, which she called a box.
"If you tell them it's a trap, they won't go in," she said.
Carlson said the Humane Society helps pet owners who have lost animals if they are from out of town or unable to search for the animal on their own.
"We have had animals lost and found a year later," Carlson said. "We always tell people never to give up looking."
Ilka Daniel, field investigator for the Humane Society, said she wasn't skeptical when Panay told her about the communicator.
"We knew communicators had been used in past cases," she said.
Betcher said she has an 80 percent to 90 percent success rate at finding lost animals. She charges $55 per lost pet. A regular telepathic
communication with a pet costs $60 for 45 minutes.
"I am happy (Dolce was found)," she said. "It could go the other way."
as written by Colleen Wixon
staff writer for the Publication Press Journal
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY