Deborah Coco didn’t have to think long when her veterinarian suggested implanting a microchip in her dog Casey, “because the veterinarian said that if she was to get out, they would be able to find her.”
Little did she know how true that statement would ring. Casey eventually did get out of her home in Clear Lake and Coco and her family weren’t able to find her for three months.
“We looked everywhere,” Coco said. “We put posters out, we asked everybody. We went to all the pounds trying to find her, all of them, and we couldn’t find her. And then, one day, we get a phone call and they said, we have your dog.”
Casey had turned up at the BARC facility just north of downtown. Staff there scanned the dog and retrieved Coco’s contact information saved in the chip.
It’s an anecdote that shows how helpful it can be for a pet to be microchipped.
This week, BARC, the City of Houston’s animal shelter, is observing National Pet ID Week by offering microchip injections for $10 instead of the usual $25.
Ashtyn Rivet with BARC said every shelter or vet has the ability to scan animals for a microchip.
“Your contact information will come up and we’ll be able to give you a call and say, hey, we have your pet. Or a veterinary office can do the same thing,” she said. “So it’s an excellent and permanent form of identification. Even if your pet’s collar falls off and it doesn’t have any tags or anything, then you’re sure to be connected with your lost pet.”
A 2012 study by the ASPCA – the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – found that 15 percent of lost dogs are recovered because they wear an ID tag or a microchip. Only 2 percent of lost cats are found that way. The study also found that one in four dogs and only one in seven cats that are lost have a microchip.
Rivet hopes BARC’s reduced price this week will get more pet owners to consider microchipping their pet.
“I haven’t come across very many that are not interested in getting it,” she said. “It’s just a matter of spreading the word about the importance and the easiness and the safeness. Some people may not think, you know, injecting something in my pet isn’t safe. Well, in this case, it is absolutely not true. It’s very safe. It’s just a little bitty grain of rice that can ensure your pet is returned if it’s lost.”
The chip is embedded under an animal’s skin with a hypodermic needle and stays there for the rest of the pet’s life. Its owner can then submit contact information on a secure website. That information will be stored on the chip and can be updated whenever necessary.
BARC’s $10 microchipping offer runs until Sunday (April 19) at 5:30 p.m.