Most pet parents know that a microchip provides safe, permanent identification for your dog or cat. The circuit, which is about as large as a grain of rice, is implanted under the skin of the animal between the shoulder blades through injection. The chip has a unique ID and comes with a registration certificate. Just like a car title, that certificate is proof of ownership and should be transferred with the animal when it goes to a new home. But that doesn’t always happen. So, it’s important to make sure your contact information stays current with your pet’s microchip provider.
My parents found this 95-pound black German Shepherd wandering the aisles of a pharmacy in their hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana a few weeks ago. Yep, I said pharmacy. He just sauntered in through the automatic door like he owned the place. They watched as he calmly left the store and ventured across seven lanes of traffic with no regard to the cars whizzing by. When he did this a second time to return to the CVS, they used a leash they keep in the car (always important to have with you, as well as other items listed in our What to Do if you Find a Stray Dog post) and brought him to their vet. The staff found a microchip, but it was registered to someone in Colorado Springs. After several phone calls, they were able to determine that the dog’s name was now Enzo but there was no local contact on file with his microchip. He wasn’t wearing a collar, so he didn’t have any tags.
Mom & Dad had heard horror stories of family pets being euthanized at the local Animal Control before the required 10 day waiting period, so they wanted to avoid that. They posted Enzo’s picture on the local lost pet Facebook page. They couldn’t bring him home due their own reactive dog, so they started driving around the neighborhood to check for “Lost Dog” flyers. They stopped in at another veterinary clinic just a few blocks away from the CVS and one of the techs instantly recognized the dog as a patient. They contacted the owner, who was there within minutes. She said she had just given Enzo a bath, which was why he wasn’t wearing his collar when he got loose. She and her two little boys couldn’t thank my parents enough. Of course, they encouraged her to update her contact information with the microchip company.
After another chance meeting at a restaurant last weekend, my parents learned the family has indeed updated their contact information on Enzo’s microchip.
There are two leading microchip companies with pet recovery services: Avid and HomeAgain. If you have moved or changed phone numbers since first registering your pet’s microchip, update your contact information so you can be reached in case of emergency. It could save a life!