Furbabies can wander away from their owners for a variety of reasons. When they do, they may not be able to find their way home. According to the American Humane Association, “over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the United States every single year. One in three pets will become lost at some point in their lifetime.” Because they lack proper identification, most missing animals never get back to their original owners.

That’s how my sister-in-law was able to add a beautiful young Irish Setter to her family. Finn was a stray pup who came to her through a local shelter. He had a wonderful personality and clearly went through obedience training. My sister-in-law shared her amazement that Finn’s previous master never had him microchipped. She didn’t make the same mistake.

What Is Microchipping?

A microchip is a high tech way to identify your special pal. It’s a tiny electronic chip that’s injected under the skin using a hypodermic needle. This minute device is about the size of a grain of rice, and it can transmit an identification number when scanned. Implanting a microchip in your furbaby is not abusive; it will feel like another vaccination to Fido. The cost is affordable; - about $45 on average, but prices can vary by your location and breed of dog. Once the technology is under the skin, it provides permanent, tamper-proof identification.

When you have your pooch microchipped, you’ll need to register the number and your contact information with the manufacturer. If your furry friend strays from your side and arrives in a shelter or dog pound, the staff will probably check Fido for a chip. When the scanner activates the device, they’ll get an identification number that they can check against the registry.

The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that about 52% of microchipped dogs in shelters are returned to their owners in comparison to about 22% of dogs without a microchip. Statistics like these are one reason that I and other veterinarians strongly support microchipping to help people recover their lost furbabies.

Heartwarming Lost and Found Stories

Here are some heartwarming stories that are possible because of this amazing technology.

Missing Chihuahua Found 10 Years Later

Isabella’s owners from the Bay Area of California lost their precious furbaby a decade ago, but they never stopped thinking about her. When animal control recently picked up a stray in Burnsville, MN, they scanned the pooch for a microchip. It was Isabella. Although she’s been living with a family in the Twin Cities, a cross-country pet transport company helped reunite Isabella with her California pack.

Microchip Helps Reunite Tennessee Woman With Her Pup After 8 Years

When Ms. Dove’s Malamute, Oreo, was taken from her in Gatlinburg in 2011, she never expected to see her furbaby again. Fortunately, as a responsible owner, Ms. Dove had Oreo microchipped. That allowed Knox County Animal Control Officers and a few good Samaritans to link dog and owner when they scanned the pooch for a microchip earlier this year. The information they found from the registry let the officers play a role in the happy ending.

San Diego Owner Recovers Stolen Dog After 3 Years

In 2013, Kameroun adopted a Siberian Husky puppy named Semper Fidelis to help her cope with health issues and depression. They moved from San Diego to Florida, but Kameroun needed to return back to California for medical treatments in early 2016. When she left her furbaby in her roommate’s care, he sold Semper to another person and claimed the dog ran away. Kameroun tried everything including social media to locate her beloved companion. A woman in Jacksonville found a Husky that strongly resembled Semper and contacted Kameroun. The microchip numbers didn’t appear to match, but when Kameroun checked with the manufacturer, she learned that someone had reregistered Semper’s chip just weeks before Kameroun’s roommate claimed Semper ran away. Fortunately, the original registration was still on record.

Missing Pomeranian Comes Home After 6-Year Absence

Opal the Pomeranian slipped out of an El Paso home and disappeared for six years. Then a kind stranger found her wandering the streets and brought her to El Paso Animal Services. When the shelter staff examined the dog, they discovered she had a microchip. They were able to contact Opal’s master who still had all the paperwork she needed to prove the pooch belonged to her. Because the owner kept the registration current, the happy reunion was quick and easy. All it took was one phone call.

Microchip Helps Yorkie Return to His Phoenix, AZ Family

A 6 pound Yorkie named Bently was missing from his home for three months after he slipped through an open gate. When the Arizona Humane Society rescued four dogs, the technician scanned each pooch for a microchip. He found Bently’s information and called his owner with the exciting news that her furbaby was safe. She hastened to the shelter to collect her four-footed pal and took him home for a bath and some snuggle time.

Connecticut Family and Dachshund Reunited After 5 Years

In 2013, Lady disappeared when she was in her yard. Five years later, officials at a pound in Norwich were able to identify her by scanning for a microchip. The owners were thrilled to have their elderly pooch back, but they wish someone had checked for a chip sooner. They said they would keep Lady comfortable and enjoy the time she has left.

A Worthwhile Investment

For many owners, the thought of losing a canine companion can be devastating. If someone snatches Fido from your yard or he wanders away, a microchip can increase the chance that you’ll find your furbaby again. It’s a simple process and a worthwhile investment to help you protect your special pal.