SoulPup.com offers quick, easy ideas to help homeless pets in your community. Here’s the latest SoulPup Solution.
This week’s SoulPup Solution: Take measures to keep your pet out of the shelter
To protect pets:
1. Make sure they wear a collar with ID tags at all times, particularly when outside.
2. Check those tags to make sure they haven’t faded or become unreadable. I had to replace Lulu’s recently.
3. Take a close-up and full-body shot of your pet each year. (Most us have a few hundred!) If the pet ever gets away, you will need a clear photo for posters. (Read tips on how to recover a lost pet.
4. Ask your vet to microchip the pet.
On Super Bowl Sunday, I was about to turn in for the night when a missed call popped up on my iPhone. The caller informed me that he had found my dog Lulu in his backyard. Stunned, I stupidly checked her crate to see if it actually was empty. This had to be a mistake, another Lulu. How in the world had my dog managed to slip out? At 11:23 p.m., I grabbed my coat and started mapping the route to my neighbor.
Driving up the gravel road to my neighbor’s home, I was stunned that Lulu had managed to travel so far. Without the help of a Good Samaritan, I hate to think about waking Monday morning to find her gone. I also was relieved by my last-minute decision to put her collar on that morning.
As an added layer of protection against the unthinkable, I had paid the small fee to have Lulu microchipped more than a decade ago. Smaller than a grain of rice, microchips contain an ID code that vets or animal shelters use a scanner to access. The code helps them track down a pet owner’s contact information, but only if your number and address are up to date. Collars with ID tags serve as the first line of defense. But microchips can make a big difference in recovering lost pets. That’s why England will require all dogs to be microchipped by 2016.
It’s an incredibly simple measure that could help relieve overcrowding at animal shelters — and I hope the United States follows suit. U.K. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson says it best in this story on AJC.com:
“It’s a shame that in a nation of dog lovers, thousands of dogs are roaming the streets or stuck in kennels because the owner cannot be tracked down,” Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said in a statement. “Microchipping is a simple solution that gives peace of mind to owners.”
I’ve written quite a few Rescue Tales about pets who find forever homes after overcoming challenging circumstances. The latest happy ending involves a pit bull labeled “unadoptable” and a kitten that fought a deadly disease with help from an awesome organization called Austin Pets Alive. It would be great to write more stories about pets who spend five, 10, or 15 years safe and secure with one very happy owner.