Microchipping has received a lot of negative press, throwing into question whether it is in the best interests of the animal. There have been reports of microchips moving, not working and even causing cancer in pets, although such instances are rare. However, there have also been countless stories of successful reunions between pets and their owners that wouldn’t have been possible without microchipping.
The story of Emile, a twelve-year-old black Labrador that went missing in France, is remarkable. Matthew, his owner, was paralysed after a serious accident, and the dog was his faithful companion. Upon discovering Emile had disappeared, Matthew was completely devastated and feared the worst, terrified that his beloved dog had suffered a heart attack and been left to die in the cold.
In fact, Emile was discovered thirty miles away from where he went missing, on the A5 Autoroute in France by an Italian lorry driver. Worried that he may cause an accident or be hit by a car himself, she picked the dog up and took him back to Italy with her, as work commitments meant she wasn’t able to take him to a vet in France. Emile’s microchip was scanned at a vet’s in Verona, but they failed to locate a French address. The commitment of the vet and the lorry driver led them to discover that Emile was initially registered on a UK database, and that Matthew had transferred his details to a French database upon moving. The UK database had Matthew’s French address and wrote to him to inform him that Emile had been found.
Motions were put in place to begin reuniting Matthew with Emile, who had travelled a total of 894 miles and crossed international borders. If Emile hadn’t been microchipped, it is highly likely Matthew may not have seen him again.
Claude the cat had a habit of disappearing. In 2007 he went missing for two years, only to suddenly turn up in a completely unexpected place. His owner and her family were moving house, and she would visit the site of the build to check on its progress. One day she arrived there to discover Claude sat on the drive of the new house.
After living with the family for another four months, Claude went missing again. His owner didn’t give up hope after his last escape attempt, and in 2013 he was found by a welfare organisation. Claude had been living at the local tip for a year, and the owner’s contact details were found via his microchip. The family were told their cat was afraid of people and would spit at them, yet he responded immediately when they called his name. They were happy to bring home an older Claude, who would spend most of the day sleeping.
The Pinkus family were distraught when Ruby, their Staffordshire Bull Terrier, went missing from their home. Their beloved pet was found by a man who contacted the authorities, but changed his mind about handing Ruby over when they came to collect her. He hid the dog and misinformed the authorities of her whereabouts, which caused the family even more worry. It was only when police were called to the man’s house for a different reason that Ruby, along with another dog, was discovered by an officer. He took the dogs to Blue Cross’ Grimsby Animal Hospital, where Ruby’s microchip was scanned, and the Pinkus family were ecstatic to be reunited with her after seven weeks.
Patricia had her cat, Lynx, for two years before she went missing in 1997. She put up notices in the local paper, at the vet and around her neighbourhood, but to no avail. Patricia was therefore astounded when the Blue Cross at Burford contacted her ten years later to tell her they had found Lynx after scanning her microchip. A representative of the database Lynx’s details were registered on said that a ten year reunion is the longest they have seen. This story illustrates how a microchip lasts for your pet’s entire lifetime, and as long as they are microchipped there is hope they will be found.
The story of how Hamish was reunited with his owner is definitely unique. The cat jumped into the back of a delivery van and was transported to a supermarket, then ran away when the driver opened the door. A neighbour told his owner that they had seen Hamish jump into the van, so they contacted local supermarkets to ask them to keep a look out for the cat.
A few days later, the owner was contacted by a local vet to say that remarkably, Hamish had wandered into the surgery by himself. They scanned his microchip and contacted his delighted owners, and a hungry Hamish was returned home.
Nigel the parrot went missing from Darren’s home in the US for four years. A woman who owned a dog grooming business found him, and was able to retrieve Darren’s details by scanning Nigel’s microchip. Upon reuniting with his parrot, Darren, a British man, was amazed that Nigel had lost his British accent and now spoke Spanish. After a rocky start, they both learned to live together harmoniously once again. This story emphasises the importance of having pets other than dogs or cats microchipped, as you never know when they may go missing.
Another way to protect your pet is by insuring them. Animal Friends offer a range of policies for you to choose from.