Tracking your dog made easy

November 30, 2008 9:53:13 AM PST
Remember the lovable Tootsie? He's the disappearing dachshund - gone for 5 years - who was found hundreds of miles away in Pittsburgh and returned this week to his family in Pleasantville. Well, Tootsie has become a kind of poster boy for microchips, the tiny implants - no bigger than a piece of rice - that carry a pet's identification and contact information. SPCA Adoption Director Ray Little tells us, "Oh it's great. This is the most reliable way to get a pet back."

The Pennsylvania SPCA is using Tootsie's story to remind pet owners that it's easy to get low-cost microchips at its Erie Ave. clinic in Juniata Park, where veterinarians inject the chips into the skin near the animal's shoulder blade.

Heather Redfern, SPCA Communications Director, says, "Microchipping is $15 and you can see it's relatively painless for the animal. We do it for dogs and cats."

"It's a little bit bigger a needle than normal. The dog, the one I just did just now did not even flinch when I was doing the microchipping," said Dr. Ravi Murarka, a SPCA veterinarian.

And if your pet is ever lost? If it's taken to a shelter it can be scanned with a reader and as long as the animal's been registered, the number that's transmitted from the chip will be checked against a national computer database that shows how to contact the owner.

"They last forever as long as the animal is alive the microchip will be intact," explains Heather.

Dog owner Joyce Salinas says knowing her boxer Nena has a microchip gives her a measure of comfort. "If anyone finds her she'll come back home."

SPCA officials hope you never lose a pet, but say microchipping is one tool that may help you get your beloved animal back.

And if you have doubts, just remember Tootsie. Gone for 5 years, but because of his chip he's now back with his family.

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