5 min read

10-Year-Old Pet Detective Solves Her Very First Case

"She came home out of breath, excited and shaking: 'Mom, I think I found him!'"

Meet Bella Salvino — a little girl with big heart for animals, and a clear knack for solving mysteries.

Jacqui Salvino

The other day, 10-year-old Bella and her mother found a flyer on their home's doorstep.

A cat named Alfred, belonging to one of their neighbors, had gone missing and his owners were desperate to find him.

Jacqui Salvino

Though Bella had never met Alfred before, learning of his disappearance struck a nerve.

“She took the poster inside and put it up on her wall,” Jacqui Salvino, Bella’s mom, recounted to The Dodo. “She talked about Alfred a lot. She even cried because she felt so much empathy for his family, for him.”

But Bella didn’t just sit around feeling bad. Bella decided to act.

Jacqui Salvino

That weekend, Bella turned pet detective — taking on the case of the missing cat as if Alfred were her own. 

“She jumped on her bike and started combing the neighborhood, calling out for the kitty,” Salvino said. “She was determined to find him.”

Understanding that Alfred was likely scared, Bella stopped to investigate every nook and cranny she thought he could be hiding in.

Then, while searching a storm drain, Bella saw this:

Jacqui Salvino

Peering back at her from the shadows was a frightened cat who looked an awful lot like Alfred.

“Bella came home out of breath, excited and shaking: ‘Mom, I think I found him!’” Salvino said, admitting she was skeptical at first. “She took me to the spot where she saw him last.”

This time, armed with some cat treats, a pet carrier and plenty of patience, Bella was able to lure the kitty out for a better look.

Jacqui Salvino

After snapping the cat's photo, Bella and her mom then sent it to the number of Alfred's owner listed on the flyer.

And sure enough:

Jacqui Salvino

After earning Alfred's trust, Bella was able to coax him into the pet carrier, safe and sound.

She'd done it.

Jacqui Salvino

"Bella returned him to a tearful and grateful owner within the hour," Salvino said. "Alfred was home. He was safe, and reunited with his family."

Jacqui Salvino

Alfred's family couldn't have been happier to have him home — knowing they had Bella's caring and determination to thank for that.

"This was a defining moment in both of our lives, one I will be forever grateful for," Salvino said. "The power of kindness is undeniable."

Jacqui Salvino

Following Alfred's successful rescue, Bella has no plans to hang up her hat anytime soon. In fact, after learning another local cat named Pyper is missing, too, our intrepid young pet detective has decided to take on that case as well.

"Bella is asking to go and start looking for Pyper over the weekend, so we will likely go out as a family and see if we can find him," Salvino said. "This little girl, my tenacious warrior."