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Spotting a “Lost Pet” poster tugs on the heart strings of every pet owner. The heartache of losing a pet is increased tenfold by never knowing what happened to it, and it’s a sad truth that of the 20,000 pets that go missing each year, many will never be found.
Sonny, a 13 year old cat from Bristol, went missing in 2007 during a house move. His owners were devastated at his disappearance, and returned time and time again to try and find their pet, who had been part of family, along with his sister Jess, since 1999. There was no sign of him, despite their efforts, and eventually, the family were forced to accept the worst. They hoped that he had simply found himself another home and resigned themselves to never seeing their much loved pet again.
Forward five years to March 2012 and the family received the call they had given up hope of ever receiving. Sonny had been taken in by the local RSPCA! He was then scanned by a vet who identified him by his microchip, and immediately contacted the family, who went straight to the surgery to be reunited with their pet. Sonny was taken home and he settled straight back in to family life as if he had never been away!
Sonny’s story serves to highlight the benefits of a unique identifier for every family pet. As long as the owners keep their details up to date on the central database, they can be reunited at any time, saving months or years of heartbreak for all concerned. The cost of registration is included in the charge for inserting the chip, and once registered, it is there for life with no annual costs to keep the registration live. Owners can choose to purchase an enhanced “Locate” service, which provides additional help and advice to owners should their pet go missing and includes unlimited free changes of address and addition of holiday addresses. Costing less than £2.25 per year, it’s a very small price to pay for peace of mind.
Vets and welfare organisations recommend that kittens and puppies are microchipped. It’s a simple low-cost procedure that can be carried out when the pet is in the surgery for vaccinations or neutering, and ensures that much loved family pets can be reunited with their owners no matter how long they have been missing, or where in the country they turn up. A small device, approximately the size of a grain of rice, is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades. It carries a unique identification number, which is registered with a central database. Vets, welfare organisations and local authorities use handheld scanners to ‘read’ the chips of stray cats that come into their care, and a quick check with the database can see pets and their owners reunited within hours
Sonny’s story was kindly supplied by Animalcare – makers of Identichip.