Little Dog Lost – the importance of microchipping

August 8, 2009

On Thursday I received an email from Jeri.  Harry Griffith who is the breeder of Kip’s litter had contacted Jeri.  A litermate, Leo, who had been placed with a family in Albuquerque, was found trotting down the street, and somehow Harry had retrieved him.  Harry has remained the “back-up contact” on Leo’s microchip record.  I called all the numbers I had for the family with which Leo lives, and sent email, but could not reach them.  They take a vacation every year about this time, so I figured they were away and someone was dogsitting.

Yesterday on my drive home, I saw a poster with a cardigan photo, on a telephone pole.  I couldn’t read the print on it — and the traffic was awful, so I couldn’t stop the car.  My plan (since I knew Leo was safe) was to go back this morning and check for a telephone number.

A few minutes ago, Julie called me.  She had received my message, called her in-laws who were dog-sitting and, sure enough, someone had left a gate open, and Leo had exited the yard on Thursday.  Julie and her husband and kids have been at waterparks and other noisy places so she had not checked her cell phone in the last three days.  The in-laws were hoping to find Leo before Julie and Ron came home, didn’t want to spoil their vacation, so did not let them know.

If Leo had not been chipped, with the breeder as the back-up contact, I’m not sure what would have happened to him.  He might have gone to the animal shelter.  Someone might have just kept him (because he’s such a sweet dog).  I’m just so grateful that some dear person picked him up before he was hit by a car, and then they thought to scan for a microchip.

So, if your dog does not have a microchip, please, please, please spend the money to have one inserted.  Be sure you use a back-up contact who would NOT be with you on vacation.

All’s well that ends well!


  1. traci says:

    Oh. My. Gosh.
    Thank God Leo was found and is safe!!! Oh my heart stopped, Penni, just reading this. I’ve been fortunate to have had 3 dogs chipped by their breeder… I had Chance microchipped at a dog show not long after he was “of age” to show…. I think as a breeder, I would also chip the puppies before sending them off to their new families. Just for peace of mind.
    All’s well that ends well thankfully…

    • myeye says:

      Tom and Carolyn chipped the Alice/Hunter litter before the puppies went to their new homes. I will certainly chip the Chase/Phoebe puppies. It costs between $15 and $20 per puppy to insert microchips yourself — and, if you ask me, is worth about a billion dollars.

  2. C-Myste says:

    And it’s easy to do.

    Generally Tom has been the one to do it while I hold puppies, but Le’o and I did the Huxley/Kayla puppies without his help. I did 4 of the puppies and Le’o jumped in and did 3 of them. Then I did bulldog Gus and I don’t think he even noticed.

    I scanned Hux while in the process, and yep: his chip inserted at 8 weeks is still there nearly 5 years later.

    I have been called by animal control in the bay area when certain bad grandpuppies escaped from their yard. It works.

  3. Carol says:

    You’d be amazed at how many animals we’ve reunited with their owners when brought in to our veterinary hospital to have them checked for a chip! It works! All pets should be chipped!

  4. My dogs’ chips have my vet’s number as backup. There is someone at that number 24/7, as they do emergency as well as “regular vet hours”……

    I couldn’t agree more — every pet should be chipped……

    • myeye says:

      I wish my vet was open 24 hours. It’s a big practice with seven vets, but they are Monday through Friday only. They open early and stay late those five days, but wouldn’t be available to take calls at night or on weekends.

  5. Kathy says:

    All it takes is a loose gate latch, an errant visitor to the yard, and presto…dog gone! Bart especially enjoyed trolling the neighborhood and was adept at slipping out the gate without anyone noticing. Fortunately, we always realized that he’d gotten out relatively quickly, and an immediate scan of the neighborhood always proved successful! Whew!

    Over the years, we’ve had a few rescue dogs become separated from their owners too. The combination of an identification tag on the collar AND the microchip can’t be beat in terms of the best guarantee that your dog will find its way home quickly. Definitely worth every penny of the investment, and then some!

  6. Holly says:

    I chip all pups and I list myself as the alternate contact just for this reason. I am SO GLAD that this had a happy ending and Leo is safe!

  7. Jeri says:

    I’m so relieved that Harry was able to pick up Leo and make sure he was safe. I was on the road driving to the WR when I got the email about this, and frantically trying to find the family’s phone numbers to try to contact them, so Penni was a huge help as well.

    All of my puppies are getting chips (as well as Lizzie who has never had one), I have them sitting here ready just haven’t gotten to it yet. Unfortunately in Leo’s case, my phone number which was also listed on the chip must have been my old home phone number, because they told Harry that it didn’t work. So another reminder to make sure to update numbers, or make sure to use one that doesn’t change! I will be using my cell number on the chips for the babies.

    All’s well that ends well. I’m just so glad he’s safe and back with his family.

  8. Tony says:

    We have a lot of micro-chipping experience having spent a year trying to reunite lost & abandoned pets with their owners following hurricanes Katrina & Rita.

    -1- You should also check to see if the registration was ever sent and is accurate shortly after the microchip is implanted.

    Our local pound implants the chips but never actually follows thru with the registration. This occurs frequently.

    -2- The company “HomeAgain” is horrible. Avoid them if possible.

    • myeye says:

      Unfortuantely, Home Again chips contain the 985 International Microchip Prefix. If you are planning to register a dog anywhere other than in the USA, you must have the 985 chip for the registration. We generally use AVID, but poor Chase now has two chips because he is dual registered, and Canada required the Home Again chip.