Most dog owners agree that the worst possible thing that can happen is to have their animal go missing without trace, but pets have more chance of coming home if they are microchipped. Last year, the Kennel Club’s (KC) national database, Petlog, which holds the identification details of six million microchipped pets, logged more than 40,000 calls about dogs either lost or found. Summer, when dogs tend to be taken further afield, is the busiest time-3,000 more calls were received in June, July and August last year than in winter.
The KC is campaigning for microchipping-placing a small capsule the size of a grain of rice, containing identification, under a dog’s skin in a painless veterinary procedure-to be compulsory, as it is in some European countries. ‘Making sure that your dog can easily be identified should be the priority of any owner,’ says Celia Walsom of Petlog. ‘A microchip is permanent and can identify your pet for the rest of its life.’ It is compulsory for puppies born under the KC’s Assured Breeder Scheme to be microchipped.
In Devon, a spaniel turned up 21⁄2 years after going missing-Sam was eventually found wandering along a road, and was taken to a pub. The landlord got in touch with a local dog warden, who scanned the dog. His owner, Christine Robinson, who was so devastated at the loss of her gundog that she even consulted a psychic, recalls: ‘As we were approaching the farm, he went wild-he knew exactly where he was.
The people who took him in obviously treated him well. When he left us he was a healthy gundog-he returned slightly overweight. He still enjoys going out with us, although he has lost his gundog training.’ A lurcher, Jessie, who was stolen after her owner tied her up outside a supermarket, turned up a month later 80 miles away when a farmer in Leicestershire found the dog wandering on his land. ‘The call from Petlog was music to my ears,’ says the relieved owner.
The KC will be having its annual microchipping drive in June with National Microchipping Month.
For further information, telephone 0844 4633 999 or visit www.petlog.org.uk
Entries have opened for the Dog Photographer of the Year competition. There are six categories: dogs at work, dogs at play, portrait, Man’s best friend, puppies and ‘I love my dog because’ for under-16s. Visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/dogphotocompetition