Lost Dog

Saturday, November 11, started off like any ordinary weekend day in rescue. A few transports going on, paperwork and medications for fosters being processed, the Saturday broadcast from the kennel was scheduled. Then our volunteer Sandy Clary, who orders microchips from our chip provider, Home Again, got the call about a Pyr whose microchip was registered to NGPR being found.

The dog wasn't lost in his or her neighborhood, which is where most dogs turn up, within a few blocks of their home. The dog was located in Harriman State Park, a 46,000 acre park. Only an hour north mid-town Manhattan, Harriman is New York's second largest state park. Luckily, the dog was found by a young man who was able to use his cell phone to call in the number to Home Again, referencing the tag with the microchip number attached to the dog's collar. Unfortunately, the finder's call to Home Again resulted in no information about the dog's owner, because the chip had never been registered by the owner with Home Again. The only information Home Again had was that the chip had been registered to National Great Pyrenees Rescue, which is why Sandy was contacted. This dog's chip was not registered at the time of adoption by the owner. Without this critical information, the unidentified dog could have gone to a local shelter. The microchip was a dead end without the dog being registered by the owner.

The statistics are startling. One in three pets goes missing in their lifetime. Our guess is that given Great Pyrneees' tendency to roam, odds of their chances of going missing are even higher.   Here's what you need to do to be sure your dog is registered and can be traced to you.

  • Make sure your dog is wearing an ID tag with your name, current address and cell phone number.
  • Attach the chip tag to your dog's collar as well. By reading the number on the tag, the dog can be identifiied by a phone call to the chip company without scanning. If you have lost or misplaced the chip tag, have the number inscribed on your dog's address tag along with your contact information.
  • It is easiest to register your dog with the chip company on your dog's tag so when the company is contacted they have your contact info. Be sure to update your information when you move or get a new phone number.
  • Your dog can be registered with other chip companies, you are not limited to the company the chip was purchased from. The information will go into the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup database, (right) which will associate the chip number with the company where dog is registered and give the company's contact information. 
  • There are many microchip companies, Avid, AKC Unite, 24Pet Watch, Pet Link, ResQ, Home Again. If a dog is registered with any of these chip companies, the AAHA database gives the contact info for the company where the dog is registered to help reunite the dog with his/her owner.
  • NGPR is currently using Home Again chips. Visit their website or call Home Again at 1-888-466-3242.  They charge $20 for initial registration, which gets your dog into the AAHA database forever and offers other perks if you renew annually. For example, they will alert their other members to an animal lost in the area and initiate their own search.
  • Great Pyrenees Rescue of Oklahome uses AKC Reunite at akcreunite.org.
  • GPRS (West Coast & Texas) inserts a generic chip that can be registered at Free Pet Registry, which does not charge for registration. Anyone can use Free Pet Registry to get their dog entered in the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip lookup database.

If your dog cannot be identified by the chip number on his/her tag, then the dog will need to be scanned at a shelter or vet office. The number will be transmitted to the AAHA database for a match but if the dog isn't registered, then the contact reverts to the original purchaser of the chip, the shelter the dog came from or the rescue that pulled the dog. The chances of getting your dog back are greatly diminished.

We had just such a call Friday night, 12/15/17, about a young female in North Carolina who crawled under the fence, lost her collar, ran out on the road and was found a few miles away.  The man who found her brought her to a local vet who scanned her. Home Again alerted Sandy and a volunteer searched the data base to contact the owner who was frantically searching for her pup. Happily, Cassie (left, who doesn't look at all remoursefu) was reunited with her people before dark.

On November 11 we also searched our database and were able to match the microchip number with the contact information for the Pyr's owner.  But in both these cases if it was late at night (which has happened) and no one had been available to run the chip number against our database, there would have been no information about who the owner of this dog was even though the dog was microchipped. The dog would go a shelter or animal control facility. You can pay (or not pay) to get your contact information and dog's microchip entered in the AAHA database but either way, it should be there to ensure that your dog is reunited with you as quickly as possible.