Helping Your Hound Get Found

Several Super Bowl Sundays ago, sometime between kickoff and halftime, a big Rottweiler named Bear made his escape from his fenced-in yard. He climbed on top of his doghouse, which was near the fence, then jumped over it and ran away. Bear’s owner drove all around the neighborhood looking for his dog and asking everyone he met but nobody saw Bear.

On Monday he checked the dog pounds to no avail, thinking his pet was gone for good. But luckily, Bear had a microchip. So by Wednesday, Bear was at Maricopa County Animal Control getting a routine scan which showed an AVID microchip. Animal Control called AVID’s central registry and read them the chip’s ID number. AVID told them the chip was registered to a Dr. Marc Schmidt. On Thursday Marc’s receptionist got a call from Animal Control. They gave her the information from AVID, she looked up the number, matched it with the owner’s name and called him with the good news.

Bear, who was picked up four miles from home, was tired and his paws were sore but the microchip did what it was supposed to do. It brought Bear home and may have even saved his life. Most animal agencies and humane societies have scanners and lost pets brought to these facilities that are found to have microchips will not be euthanized or sold to research laboratories.

While a microchip is as small as a grain of rice, it’s a big help in getting pets like Bear back home. The technicians and receptionists at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic routinely scan pets for microchips. But sometimes the staff does not find a microchip in a pet that is supposed to have one. How can that happen?

  • The chip was never implanted.
  • The chip was not implanted properly and came out.
  • The chip is no longer functioning.
  • Even if there is paperwork showing the pet was microchipped, mistakes happen.
    – Did you see the chip being implanted?
    – Did the chip show up on the scanner after it was implanted, to confirm that it is indeed in your pet?
    – If done improperly, the chip may be left in the syringe or implanting device or may come out (usually shortly after implanting).
    – On very rare occasions the chip may stop working altogether.

Similarly, the staff has discovered a chip in a pet when the owner swore the animal never had one. How does this happen?

  • When the current owner acquired the pet, the breeder, animal control unit, rescue group, pet shop or humane society failed to tell the new owner that they had implanted a chip.
  • The animal control unit, rescue group, humane society or pet shop did not know that the pet came to them already microchipped and they did not scan the pet to find out.
  • When the pet was previously scanned, the chip was missed because a Universal Scanner was not used and the chip did not register with that scanner.
  • When the pet was previously scanned, the person scanning the pet did not check for a migrated chip.

Microchips are available from several different companies but the Universal Scanner used at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic will pick up any functioning microchip. If you think your pet has a chip and our scanner doesn’t pick it up, we will x-ray your pet at no charge. Microchips show up very clearly on x-rays so we can confirm if one is there. And once your pet has been chipped, always remember to update your contact information if you move or change phone numbers so that your data in the Microchip registry is current.

If your pet does not currently have a microchip, or if you are not sure that your pet’s microchip is working properly, contact us at (480) 987-4555 today!

–Rikki Schmidt

Contact Us

270 East Hunt Hwy, Ste. #4
San Tan Valley, AZ 85143
480-987-4555