Yesterday, late evening, our GSD got lost.
We went in a panic mode. It was dark, and there was no way we could see his dark form in the darkness unless we developed X-Ray visions. We called out his name, hollered our lungs out, whistled – no dog. A jumble of thoughts were running through my head “OMG, how could I leave him out like that? He NEVER leaves our house, no matter what, so what happened? OMG, what if he followed a trail of deers into the woods? What if he was attacked by bears (there are NO bears around, still), what if he went out onto the road and got hit, maybe someone picked him up, THANK GOD he is Microchipped…..”
My still panicked ears picked up some whining. Turns out, all this while, he was sitting on our back porch downstairs, patiently waiting for us to open the French doors to the deck so that he could come in.
It is all because of this annoying snow and cold. It so happened that I let both my dogs out through the front door (our deck stairs and the way to the yard through there, where they normally go from, is completely useless as of now) for their ablutions, and stepped back in to wear a cap because the wind was hurting my ears. And, promptly forgot about leaving them outside because my younger one chose exactly that moment to come to me with a pressing problem that required my immediate referring skills.
About 20 minutes later, my husband came in from office, and as soon as I saw him, I found something missing. There was no flurry of furs and exuberant whinnings that ALWAYS accompany his entry. The dogs!!
I rushed out to the front door and opened it to find my Rottie sitting there all hunched up and more than eager to step in. But no GSD. Refer to para #1.
So what happened was when I did not open the front door, he went back, pried open a fence gate that was partially open because the snow had blocked its way, and came back in to the French doors that lead in to our living room. As I said, he never leaves the house, so he was only trying to get back in as quickly as possible. Using his big brains I suppose, only to be stuck there because the doors were locked.
In all this, one thing that went into my mind – THANK GOD they are microchipped.
I had a great deal of reservations for getting them microchipped. I wasn’t sure if I wanted a chip in their body. I was sure I was going to keep a close watch on them so they never get lost.
But all this changed when my Rottie, 10 months old at that time, disappeared almost four years ago through an open yard gate. She took it on herself to visit a park a mile away that she loved, and then followed a pitbull and its owner all the way back to their house. A day earlier she had eaten her collar, her tag, her leash as well as my GSD’s leash (she still has a penchant for those, though now she only does it when she is very anxious). So she did not have any identification on her.
A search ensued and three days later we had almost given up hope when a lucky break from a friend from another neighborhood told me about sighting a dog very similar to my Rottie. She also thought the dog was still in that neighborhood. We rushed out and knocked practically on every door. The blessed guy had put up a poster of that lost dog on a light post, and eventually that was what guided us back to this very adventurous puppy who I had spent two entire nights bawling my eyes out on. She, on the other hand, had a great time there (no loyalty I tell you!). They had fallen so much in love that they had decided to gift her to his parents in San Diego!!
He then told us that we should get her microchipped because we might not be as lucky next time.
Back to yesterday. Now my Rottie is very happy sticking around our door. She knows we are her ‘pack’ and she is one of us. So she waited patiently outside the door. However, an overwhelming exciting sight (like another dog or even a skipping bunny rabbit) could still have led her away from the house, into an unknown territory where she might have been picked up by a good Samaritan.
What would that good Samaritan have done? Taken her to the nearest vet hospital or shelter of course, and see if she could be identified. She would be. Because this time around, she was microchipped.
Our GSD never gave us any cause for concern because he never leaves the perimeter of our house ever. Still, my mind rests easy knowing that he too has an identification that will lead him back to us were he to get lost somehow. And that was my foremost thought yesterday too.
So what IS a microchip? As the name suggests, it’s a tiny chip, the size of a rice grain, that is placed between the shoulder blades of a dog (or cats and all other pet animals). It has unique ID number that is registered in an online data base, and enrollment form is filled out that has all the details of the animal and its owner.The owner’s contact details are attached to the chip ID, linking the animal back to the owner. The owner then receives a certificate of registration.
The chip is administered with a syringe and is very quick. Once in place, it stays there for the life of the pet. Microchip scanning is used by everyone with authority in the animal kingdom – be it vet hospitals, or kennels, or rescue organizations. Our microchip is registered with Banfield, the pet hospital run by Petsmart. No matter where my dogs are, a scan on their microchip will connect them to Banfield through a national registry, who will not only store the information, but redirect it right away to us.
It is quite inexpensive too. We have a pet insurance plan for both are dogs, so it cost us less that $30 each to microchip them. But you can get your pet microchipped anywhere between $25 to $60.
So should you get your dog microchipped? If I were you, I would say, ‘yes’. But that’s just me.