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Microchips help with pet return

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Contact Phil Junker at outdoorscribe@yahoo.com

By Phil Junker, Outdoors Columnist

More than a decade ago, two of my English Setter bird dogs disappeared in different incidents. One was never found, the other returned.
Then several years ago, my two rat terriers escaped from the motor home while parked in a remote section of a campground in North Little Rock, Ark. I spent a sleepless night until they returned just before daylight. Having perts disappear when traveling is especially worrisome.
I never knew if the two terriers, Augie and Buddy were chasing a deer or maybe found an attractive female somewhere on the other side of the woods. Anyway, it was a welcome sound to hear them at the RV screen door just before sunrise.
A year ago when we obtained a rat terrier pup, the vet suggested a tracking microchip. This summer, I decided it was a good idea and had one placed on Tyler.
A microchip implant is an identifying integrated circuit placed under the skin of a pet. The chips are about the size of a large grain of rice and are based on a passive radio frequency identification technology. It apparently is a simple, safe vet procedure for the vet. (I don’t think Tyler even knew the chip was implanted.}
There are several competing microchip registry firms. After a family vet, personnel at animal shelters or a breeder places a chip, it is tested and the ID number and information about the pet is listed with a registry service. Tyler is listed with a service called HomeAgain.
When a pet goes missing, several actions can take place. The owner of the missing pet can report it to the registration firm. If the pet is found and the chip scanned with the information reported to the firm, the owner and or vet will be contacted.
Among the information listed with HomeAgain is our e-mail address, and on a monthly basis, the service sends me an e-mail newsletter. The most recent one caught my attention. It contained information about five of the many 2010 successes reconnecting owners and their pets.
One of the successes was posed by a lady named Genevieve from Washington, D.C.
She wrote, “ Eighteen months ago I lived in San Diego when my dog ran away. I posted signs in the neighborhood, local stores, used a pet amber alert that called a radius of 10 miles and 500 calls, called all the shelters, and posted numerous ads on craigslist.org, but after four  months of searching, there was still no sign of finding him.
“Two months later, I moved back to Washington, DC, praying my dog had found a home with a loving owner.
“Two weeks ago, I get a phone call from the San Diego shelter, they scanned his chip and they found Zen! He was well taken care of, had recently been groomed, did not have any wounds and was as friendly as ever.
“He must have ran from the people who had found him originally him. A neighbor found him, turned him into the shelter, they scanned his HomeAgain chip and.....boom after 18 months missing...Zen and I are reunited and it feels so good.
“I had to have him shipped from California to DC, but ultimately, we haven’t skipped a beat. It took him 10 minutes to walk in the house in DC and he remembered he was home.
“Thank you HomeAgain for being such a reliable company. I have recommended your services to all my pet owning friends,” wrote Genevieve.
HomeAgain is my dog Tyler’s registry because it is used by my vet. Others probably are good as well. There is no guarantee a microchip will reunite you with a missing pet, but no doubt it will increase the chances.