Monday, October 19, 2009

Where is Fido? Microchip Time Again!!

If you have ever lost your dog, even for a few hours, it is horrible. So many questions and scenarios fill your head until the dog is found. So, what do you do?

The first step most people take is to determine that the dog is actually gone, and then when and how the dog got out. Then you start walking around the neighborhood calling the dog's name. Friend's arrive to help look, driving around the blocks, stopping people to ask if they saw your baby. (HINT: Carry a pen and write your number on the people's hand so they can contact you if they see/find your dog). Calls to the shelters are made, maybe even to the radio stations.

What people don't realize is that the if your dog is picked up by the animal shelter, its not helpful to just call in with a description of your dog. That cute little white spot on the back toe will not stand out to someone whose job it is to catch your dog and impound it. They might record the gender of your dog, but don't count on it. You MUST go there and look for yourself.

"Oh, but I can't, I feel too bad for the other dogs in there." Sorry, but get over it! I had a roommate who owned two Basenjis. The breed isn't common and when the male was picked up due to a loose fence board, the shelter had him down as a Corgi cross because of the size of his ears! And yet a breed chart is posted on the wall in front of their desks. We called for two days, always getting the same answer. Then we thought to go and look, sure enough he was there.

For the safety of your dog it is so important to look for them, not just ask for them. Many shelters in the Lethbridge area only hold dogs for between 3 and 5 days before they are euthanized! Can you imagine if you found out your dog was sitting there waiting for you? We are in contact with many shelters and they call us before 'the day' and we try hard to find room. But even in our care, correct identification is hard to find and we try to guess based on size, color, and temperment. Cross breeds are hard to identify. We once labelled a dog a Pointer X Pitt Bull. A man called saying that it was his dog and it was a purebred Catahoula Lepard Dog! Who knew? But that dog got to go home.

Identifying your dog 101: Collars: Great idea, for walking your dog. Not great for ID as they come off. Tatoos: There are only two, last I heard, clinics in Lethbridge that tatoo. Your dog is done as a puppy or while under sedation during a spay/neuter procedure. They are somtimes worn off within a few years, or can't be clearly read. Microchips: A tiny metal grain of rice inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades. By-law states that dogs must be scanned, they paid enough for the scanners - better use them! You can be contacted within minutes of your dog being impounded. Vet clinics also have scanners and will do it for free if someone brings a dog in that they found. Microchipping is a great way to have your dog correctly identified as yours and have it home in time for supper.

This is why we are throwing a microchipping clinic. The clinic will be held on Sunday, November 8th. Uplands Pet Hospital is donating the clinic and their time to inject the chips for the public. Microchips cost around $80, we will be able to offer them to you for only $40. All proceeds from the day get to stay with us and go to the dogs, literally! Appointments MUST be made in advance, there will be no room or time for drop-ins. The clinic will not be making the appointments, only Bobbi will. We will also be registering the chips for you, no paperwork to fill out and send away. You will be contacted within a few weeks from the chip company to welcome you to the program and answer any question you might have.

This is a great opportunity to identify your dogs, put your name on them, in them! It will ensure that your dog finds its way home. In the meantime, if your pooch makes a run for the door while your 3 year old opens the door for grama, take the drive to the shelter and look for yourself.