We were moved when we learned about a woman who lost her dog four years ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Aranza Delgado’s poodle named Cujo and a group of puppies all escaped out of the backyard. According to KRQE News, Delgado had her animals all chipped. Cujo was found and returned but the puppies didn’t show up again. She assumed that someone must have taken the puppies, or she would have received a call because of the tracking devices implanted into the pups. Cujo was found wandering alone all by himself in Corpus Christi, 800 miles away from home. Nobody knows how he ended up so far away from home. The Texas shelter called Delgado to let her know that the shelter is holding him. The fee for transporting the dog back to New Mexico is $800. They gave her just a few days to figure out how to come up with the fee to have him transported or come and pick him up in person.
What happens if she can’t pay the fee?
If Delgado isn’t able to pick the dog up by the deadline, he will become the property of the Texas animal shelter. They will be able to adopt the dog out to somebody else. A GoFundMe account was set up to help the family get their beloved poodle back home before the deadline. After four years of wondering what happened to her poodle, Delgado was relieved to hear that he is alive and well, but the circumstances made it difficult for her to retrieve her beloved pet.
The case for microchipping
According to True Care Veterinary Clinic, it is a statistical fact that one of every three pets will either run away or get stolen. Lost pets and even those that are stolen frequently turn up in animal shelters at some point. Sadly, only 25 percent of the animals that go missing ever make it back to their original owners. This is a heartbreaking situation when it occurs, but there are a few effective ways to help protect your animals from becoming a part of these grim statistics.
The process for implanting a microchip into a pet is safe and relatively painless. The actual chip is no larger than a grain of rice. It is implanted via a syringe, the same way that your pet receives vaccinations. This is a lifelong means of identification that provides protection if your pet is lost and ends up in an animal shelter or at a vet’s office. Pet owners must register their contact information including the name of the owner, address, and telephone number. The name of the pet is also included along with some details about his/her history. A special scanning device that is called a radio frequency identification reader is simply waved over the chip. The information/data that is stored on the chip is displayed on the screen to help identify the registered owner of the pet. Information is stored in a nationwide database for easy retrieval. If you change your address or other contact information you can go in and update the information in the database to make sure that you can be reached if your pet disappears and is later found.
When is the best time to have your pet microchipped?
Most vets prefer to microchip pets when they are undergoing another procedure such as spay or neuter. Although anesthesia is not required for chipping, the injection that is performed under the skin between the shoulder blades can sting a little, because it’s like getting a shot. The sooner you can get your dogs and cats microchipped, the better. You can’t always prevent pets from escaping from the yard, and either getting lost or stolen, so it’s wise to chip them early in life, while they’re still puppies. This can help you to avoid the situation that Aranza Delgado found herself in.
Improved odds of return
Statistics show that cats that are unchipped and disappear from their homes have just a one percent chance of ever being returned to their homes. The odds increase to forty percent when they’re chipped. The statistics are even brighter for dogs. Only twenty percent of dogs that get lost or stolen are ever returned home when they are unchipped. Those that are chipped are returned about fifty percent of the time. These are odds that support the case for microchipping your pet.
Monitoring your pet’s whereabouts
According to PC Mag, a good option for concerned pet parents is to use a GPS tracker in addition to microchipping. Since the chip requires scanning to identify the dog and owner, it’s not a foolproof method, especially if the pet has been stolen. GPS trackers are either worn on the collar or as a collar, depending on the model. They send out a signal that can be tracked on your smartphone. No matter where you are, you can pinpoint the location of your pet and track his movements as long as the collar is still on him. This can be helpful when your pet wanders off. He may be just around the block, or possibly even a thousand miles away or more. These are long-range tracking devices that can lead you to the exact location of your pet. If he is stolen and the collar with the tracker is still in place, you can send law enforcement to the location to pick him up and return him.
We can take away an important lesson from Aranza Delgado’s story. Microchipping your pet can help protect both you and your beloved animal from permanent separation. For extra safety, a GPS tracker on a collar can help you to monitor your pet’s whereabouts to help you find him before he wanders too far away from home. While neither of these methods is foolproof, they do offer two useful ways to keep track of your pet and find him when he is lost.