Op-Ed: Pet Microchips Can Save Lives
A remarkable story reminds us how microchipping animals can potentially save lives
Sometimes timing is everything. Just ask Christine O’Donovan, whose dog Buster has captured headlines after an eleventh-hour save that saw the pup happily rescued from a scheduled euthanasia. Buster, a Rhodesian Ridgeback-shepherd mix, escaped his Belle Harbor, Queens home in mid-November in the wake of confusion brought on by Hurricane Sandy reconstruction. The dog was picked up by Animal Care and Control, mistakenly listed as a pit bull mix, and temporarily lost to the whirlwind that the shelter system has become in the wake of the historic superstorm.
After not being claimed for some period of time, Buster was scheduled to be euthanized. Thanks to serendipity, perhaps, a friend of O’Donovan’s found Buster’s photo on a Facebook page that advocates on behalf of “death row dogs” and contacted O’Donovan, who then took the proper measures to save her pup. The heartwarming story and all of its details can be read in full on TODAY.com.
While Buster’s story has a happy ending, there are similar cases of lost pets all over the country that don’t end so happily. Accidental euthanizations can and do occur in the shelter system. The sad thing, though, is that some of these can be prevented with a little vigilance on behalf of the owner. While it certainly isn’t the only measure that should be taken when looking for missing animals, microchipping your pet can help your crisis come to a close if a lost pet happens to be picked up by a rescue or shelter, many of which check the pet for a microchip while they are processing them in their systems.
O’Donovan shouldn’t be blasted for not microchipping her pet; she’s only one of many owners out there who didn’t view the procedure as a priority, or who had trepidations regarding the permanent pet ID. Most pet parents probably think that if their animal is secure in their home, there isn’t a real need for one. The reality is, however, that pet owners need to expect the unexpected; animals can be unpredictable, and escapes really can happen at any time.
As for trepidations over microchipping your pet, the benefits far outweigh any risks (which are minimal). The procedure is low-cost (roughly $45) and doesn’t cause your furry friend pain or discomfort; it’s akin to your animal receiving any of their other scheduled vaccinations. The small implant, roughly the size of a grain of rice, provides pet parents a sense of security that can’t be replaced, and infinitely improves the chances of a missing animal finding home again. In Buster’s case, a registered microchip with the most up-to-date contact information would have helped the dog avoid the near-disaster entirely.
Buster’s close call should serve as a constant reminder about the importance of microchipping our animals. Upon his return home, O’Donovan took the necessary steps to reduce the chances of a similar incident with Buster happening again, and had the dog microchipped.
What are your thoughts on microchipping animals? Do your pets have a microchip in the case of an emergency? Tell us in a comment.