Dexter is a stray dog who came into my life recently.Â My hubby and I had had a dog, a lovely yellow lab called Avery, and she died of cancer four years ago.Â We’d been talking about bringing another dog into our family, but the time hadn’t seemed right.
And then three weeks ago, a stray dog appeared in the yard of a dog-owning neighbor.Â The stray was handed over to the joint care of me and my hubby, and another neighbor who had recently lost her own dog.
He had no tags on his collar, and no microchip, so we launched a massive campaign to find his family.Â We posted with the city animal services and the Humane Society; we made him a trending topic on Twitter.Â We put up ads on Craigslist and Kijiji, and posted on Facebook.Â We blogged about him. We made posters and distributed them around the city with the help of friends and family; we toured him through all the local vets, pet shops and groomers.Â And nothing.Â No one knew the little guy, and we had no idea where he had come from, or where he belonged.
After a week of searching, we had a tag made with the name Dexter and our phone number on it, and he moved in with us.Â We’re thrilled to have him living with us, and he seems to be enjoying it. He’s a good dog, and someone had clearly cared for him: he’d been neutered and he was healthy and groomed.Â But someone, somewhere, has lost a beloved family pet.
If he had had a microchip, he could have found his way back to his family.
I told Mandy this story, and she told me the story of her cat, Roxy.
Roxy, too, was a lost animal, and Roxy, too, was chip-less. Mandy rescued Roxy from the streets when she was a kitten – she was sick and injured, and likely wouldn’t have survived if Mandy hadn’t taken her in.
We’re glad that these particular lost animals landed with people who could look after them, but as any shelter will tell you, that doesn’t always happen.
I know that Knitty readers are animal lovers.Â The help you’ve offered in the course of the search for Dexter’s family is proof of that.Â And I know that many Knitty readers have pets of their own.
The lesson in this is that if you have pets, please have them chipped.Â A tiny little microchip is injected under the skin of the animal, usually around the shoulder or neck area.Â The microchip has an ID number which is registered in a master database, along with information about the animal and its people – a description of the animal, and contact information for the animal’s owner and vet.Â A vet can do this, or any animal shelter or rescue organization.Â A scanning device can find the chip and instantly access the information about the animal – and any vet will scan a lost animal, free of charge, to see if it has been registered.
It’s quick, inexpensive, and utterly painless for the animal.Â And it means that your lost pet can find its way home to you.