Microchipping and why it’s important

By Katie Barnett, Canine Program Manager

Has your animal ever slipped past you out the front door? Have you let the dog in the backyard only to realize the gate was open? Have you been out of town and your pet sitter called to say your indoor cat had escaped? Like many owners, you may have experienced a similar situation. We all know how heartbreaking it is to have our furry family members lost.

Fortunately, there are many people out there trying to help lost animals find their way home! It’s for this very reason it’s important to have ID on your pets. Dogs should be wearing a name tag with owner information, a license tag and a rabies tag- but we all know that sometimes collars come off and cats can be hard to keep ID on. So what should you do to ensure your information is with your animal? Let me tell you about microchipping!

A microchip is a small, electronic chip (about the size of a grain of rice) that’s implanted in your animal between their shoulder blades. The chip is small and does not affect the animal’s health or movement. They don’t even know it’s there! All microchips have individual numbers that lead back to a company where your personal information is stored. Veterinary offices and your local shelter have a special scanner that can read this number, giving them the information for the company to contact to get you information and return your animal to you.

You might be asking yourself if this is really that important. Well, let me tell you about one of my favorite return-to-owner stories.  Henry the cat was brought into Greenhill Humane Society on Monday, October 22, 2018. He had been hanging around a neighborhood when someone picked him up and brought him to the shelter as a stray. Shelter staff scanned him for a microchip as soon as he arrived. Two seconds into scanning and there it was! We got the number, called the microchip company and were able to get his owners information.

According to the microchip, Henry was missing from Portland! We immediately called the owner and learned that Henry had escaped when they were in Eugene about 1 ½ years ago! The owner rushed in to get him and both Henry and his mom were incredibly excited to see each other again after so long! Henry didn’t have any other form of identification, so without the microchip he may have never made it back to his family.

Henry is only one of hundreds of cases where Greenhill has been able to reunite an animal with its owner because of a microchip. Greenhill Humane Society highly encourages all pet owners to get their animal’s microchipped and make sure to keep your current information updated with the company. You can talk to your veterinarian about microchipping. All animals at Greenhill get microchipped before being adopted. This small thing can make a HUGE difference!