Whenever I speak to clients about microchipping, theres always one story that stands out in my mind.
There were fires in San Diego in 2007 that destroyed over 500,000 acres of property and over a million people were evacuated from their homes. In this flurry, many people either lost their pets or were forced to leave them behind.
A woman came in to our hospital with a Chihuahua that had shown up on her doorstep two weeks after the fires were over. She lived over 15 miles away from the fire affected areas, so she realized this little Chihuahua had traveled a long way. She brought the dog in to be examined, and the little dog was dehydrated, thin and had burns on all of his paw pads.
The first thing we do when a lost pet comes into our hospital is look for a microchip. We scanned him and a microchip number was found with a corresponding phone number. We started the Chihuahua on intravenous fluids, antibiotics and pain medication to keep him comfortable and within hours, the owners of the Chihuahua were notified and were on their way to our hospital to come see their little dog, Peanut.
Peanuts family came into the hospital and cried as they took Peanut in their arms. They shared their story of only having 30 minutes to evacuate before the flames engulfed their entire home. Peanut was scared in the shuffle and was hiding somewhere where the owners couldnt find him. They were forced to leave him behind. They gently rocked Peanut in their arms and the feelings of guilt for leaving him were replaced with happy feelings that he was home. They had been reunited, despite the odds.
When I discuss the importance of the microchip, I like to share Peanuts story with dog and cat owners. Dont let your pet join the lost or stolen statistics.
Here are just a handful of reasons to microchip your pet:
1. If a pet is lost, he or she can easily be identified with a microchip: Just like in the case of Peanut, often times pets can be reunited with their owners in a matter of hours after a tragedy strikes
2. Holidays can be chaotic pets can get lost in the hustle and bustle: Whether it is holiday deliveries, guests constantly opening the door, or just general holiday excitement, pets can easily slip out unnoticed, before their owners realize they are gone
3. The procedure is quick and painless: Bringing pets in for the microchip procedure is quick and easy; the chip can be inserted during any regular office visit, so no additional visit is needed
4. Convenience and clear communication: For those good samaritans who find lost pets and try to return them to their rightful owner, there is an ID tag on the pets collar that comes with a microchip, with instructions on the steps to take when a pet is found
5. A permanent assurance: Unlike normal pet ID tags, which are easily removed in the case of theft, microchips are unable to be removed from the pet; they are a permanent and safe alternative that gives pets a better chance at returning to their home
P.S. Microchipping is so important for the safety of your pet and for a limited time, Banfield Pet Hospital is offering an online coupon for 50 percent off the normal cost of a microchip ($17 value) which includes lifetime registration. This coupon is now available on Banfield.com until November 30, 2011.