By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist
Animal hospitals are filled with warm puppy kisses, kitten cuddles and lifesaving surgeries. While I managed the office side of a clinic, I still had the joy of meeting new clients and their pets. With joy can come sadness, and emotions ran high when it was “that time” for one of those precious patients. I remember reciting a little poem that I held in my pocket when this time inevitably occurred during one of my shifts, and in a way it was comforting to know the families were present to say their goodbyes. This wasn’t always the case though, and for those pets I took an extra moment of silence.
When a Good Samaritan would drop off a lost pet, my job was to call the family once I identified the pet through a microchip. Nothing can explain the happiness on a child’s face when that pet becomes reunited with the owners. Even if a pet came in under tragic circumstances, the sense of closure was obvious when the family members were notified. For the dogs and cats that did not have a microchip after a tragic accident, not much else could be done. I had no job at that point. No family to notify. No special arrangements to be made. All that I could do was read aloud my little poem and wonder what kind of life that pet had lived. Was she a regular at the dog park? Did he like a good biscuit after his meal?
My dog was rescued by our clinic, and quickly became a part of my family. I had him neutered and vaccinated immediately, and was asked by our doctor if I would also like a microchip for him. My mind flashed to our computer screen when entering information on a dog or cat that had not made it and had no identification, and we were to enter, “Unknown,” as the name, followed by the current date. My heart sank thinking of my Tyson being another “Unknown” in the world, and a microchip was the most important decision I could make as a pet owner.
Some may think that a microchip could hurt a pet. While the needle is a little larger than one used for routine vaccinations, most pets do well with the injection. The cost is manageable, especially if added on during a spay or neuter. Many rescue organizations will microchip a pet before adoption, and this cost is often included in the adoption fee. Remember to keep your information updated as well, as this is critical when trying to contact you if your dog or cat is found. If you have ever contemplated a microchip for your pet with any hesitation, just remember the unknown pets that never return home or receive a proper goodbye. A five-minute procedure for your pet has the power to give your family peace of mind if circumstances arise that are beyond your control.