Nothing is more heartbreaking to a dog owner than their dog going missing. It can happen so easily, just by leaving a door or a gate open or the dog coming loose from their leash while out on a walk. When a dog goes missing, its owner may devote hours of their time to finding their beloved pet and take any measures necessary to reunite. On many occasions, the dog is quickly found. However, there are some cases where a dog is never found, or it is many years before they are reunited with their owner. Sadly, that was the case for a dog that went missing in Florida and turned up in Michigan seven years later.
When Sgt. Pepper Went Missing
Eaton County Animal Control says that Sgt. Pepper is a Yorkshire Terrier mix that went missing in Florida in 2014 when he was six years old. Although the details of how the dog went missing are unknown, it is known that his owner began an immediate search for him. The first step she took was to file a police report in the hope that somebody would hand her dog in and they would be reunited. Second, she notified the microchip company where she had registered Sgt. Pepper. It is likely that she also searched her local area in her attempts to find Sgt. Pepper. Her actions were to no avail, and she was not reunited with Sgt Pepper.
Sgt. Pepper’s Journey from Florida to Michigan
After going missing, the exact details of Sgt. Pepper’s whereabouts for the seven years he was missing are unknown, and they will likely remain a mystery. Despite not knowing the full details of what happened to her dog, the owner has discovered information about some stages of his journey. According to People.com, Sgt. Pepper’s owner saw an advertisement on Craigslist from someone who had found the dog. When she contacted the owner to say she would collect him, Sgt. Pepper’s owner discovered that the dog had already been claimed by someone who was not his real owner. After the upset of discovering her dog had been found but then taken by someone else, Sgt. Pepper’s owner hit a dead end in her search for the dog. She received no further leads about his whereabouts for many years. It is also known that Sgt. Pepper lived with a family for five years, and they were not aware of Sgt. Pepper’s stolen status. They moved to Michigan, which is how Sgt. Pepper came to be so far away from home.
Finding Sgt. Pepper 1,000 Miles from Home
In early July 2021, Sgt. Pepper was discovered in Charlotte, Michigan and taken to Eaton County Animal Control. How he became separated from his new family is not known. After he arrived at the animal shelter, the staff scanned Sgt. Pepper to check for a microchip. It was thanks to having a microchip that he was reunited with his owner. Although his owner had moved house since Sgt. Pepper went missing, she had the foresight to update the contact details with the microchip company as recently as February 2020. It clearly shows that she still hoped that she would one day be reunited with her dog. Thanks to the microchip, the staff from animal control were able to contact Sgt. Pepper’s owner. She flew out as soon as she could to be reunited with her beloved pet, and they have now returned home to Florida together. The family with whom Sgt. Pepper had lived for the last five years was also contacted. They understood that the dog needed to be reunited with his true owner. The staff at the shelter released a statement asking that people understood the situation. They also asked that people were sensitive towards the family who had to give up the dog. It seemed there was little hope of Sgt. Pepper being reunited with his true owner after seven years had passed, and they were more than 1,000-miles apart. Thankfully, this story had a happy ending.
The Importance of Having a Microchip Fitted
This story is the perfect example of the importance of having a pet microchipped. If Sgt. Pepper did not have a microchip, and his owner had not updated her contact details, then it is unlikely that he would ever have been reunited with his owner. Microchips make the process of reuniting a pet with its owner so much easier. Having a microchip fitted is almost painless for the animal, and it saves the owner the pain of losing their pet and the time that goes into finding them.
When a pet does not have a microchip, the owner may spend hours, days, weeks, or even months searching for their pet. It can involve a door-to-door campaign, putting up posters, using social media to raise awareness, and contacting the police and local animal shelters. In many cases, these actions are not enough to guarantee they will be reunited. Even if the pet is found by someone and taken to an animal shelter, there is no way that the staff can confirm their owner’s identity without a microchip. In some cases, it may lead to the animal being put up for adoption and living with another family. All these problems are avoided by the simple act of taking your dog to the vet or a local animal shelter to have a microchip fitted. Once the microchip is in and registered, it is easy and painless to scan a pet, check out the owner’s registered details, and contact the owner to come and collect their pet. As with the case of Sgt. Pepper, once a pet is scanned, getting in touch with the owner takes just minutes. The story also highlights the importance of updating your contact details with the microchip company if you move to make finding you easier.