It’s every pet parent’s worst nightmare… someone leaves the front door open or a loud noise chases your pet away and suddenly your best friend is gone. It happens all the time, and while RASKC returned 760 pets to their owners last year alone — a success story for over 50% of the lost dogs brought to the adoption center — not all pets are as lucky. This, however, is a story of fortune and one that warms the furry heart and soul. It’s about a wonderful family reunion and a reminder of the importance of registering your pet’s microchip.

A lost and found success story

A few weeks ago, Dana — a 10 year old Rottweiler — was found running around loose in the Renton area. The sheriff’s office picked her up and brought her over to the RASKC center in Kent. Upon initial inspection, there was no microchip found. It wasn’t until the Animal Control Technicians (ACTs) at RASKC began their routine behavioral assessment that includes one of three microchip scanning procedures.  The on duty ACTs, Carlos

Gutierrez and Valerie Fetters took the stray animal and began their assessment only to find that the dog was very well behaved, “one would have easily guessed the dog had been missing for no more than a few days, she was incredibly sweet and obedient, she never showed aggression… someone must have been taking care of her” said Valerie. When it came to scanning for the microchip, Carlos began to scan in the usual neck and shoulder blade area where the microchip is normally inserted, but after the scan came back negative, he continued his search throughout the rest of the body until he found it on Dana’s lower side of her right leg. “From experience, we make sure to scan all over because the microchip does tend to migrate. While Dana already had been scanned upon initial inspection, we always scan all over the body during the behavioral and medical assessment just to be triple sure”, said Carlos.

Side note: Migration of Microchips is Not Uncommon

According to Dr. Gene Mueller,  RASKC’s manager, “Microchips have been documented moving from the original injection site over the course of time. Since the microchips are injected under the pet’s skin into the loose subcutaneous space the microchip can migrate. The moved microchip still works but may require the scanner to search lower parts of the neck and chest. Most animal shelters and veterinary offices are well versed in scanning for migrated microchips. The microchips are the size of a grain of rice and are well tolerated by your pet.”

Upon finding the microchip, Valerie immediately called AVID Identification Systems, Inc. , RASKC’s microchip provider company,  who found the pet owner’s contact information right away. Though the family had moved homes since Dana’s disappearance which took place six years earlier, Laura, the pet’s owner, had made sure to register her young pup’s microchip with various emergency phone numbers just in case. Valerie called down the list until she came across Laura’s mom who passed the good news onto her daughter. After contacting the family, the mom and daughter immediately showed up with old pictures of Dana when she was four. Emily Ruppert, the ACT on duty who was there to greet the family said of the reunion, “it was clear that Dana recognized them.  She immediately went up to the daughter and started to lick her face. The mom and daughter both seemed in shock, concerned and over-the-moon all at the same time”.

The importance of microchips

One of the key takeaways here is the importance of not only microchipping your pet, but registering them as well. “It’s often the case that pet parents who adopt from a shelter will forget to call and update the microchip company with details of the pet’s new home. The problem with this is that if the pet runs away or gets lost, the last address on file will be the shelter and if the family has moved, the chances of returning the pet to the family decreases dramatically”, said Carlos.

RASKC recently touched base with Laura, Dana’s pet mom, a few weeks after their reunion who said Dana was doing great and all family members were thrilled to have her back at home. When asked if she had any advice for other pet parents based on her experience, her answer was simple: “Microchips are not that expensive, if you love your pet then I would definitely suggest that you get one because one way or another they will come home again.”

RASKC would like to thank all those involved, especially the ACTs who helped reunite Dana with her forever home