A few years back I used to volunteer at Animal Care and Control in Chicago, on Western Ave near 27th St. I was there for around three years and for much of the time I was doing paperwork. Why travel across town every week to do paper work at an animal shelter? Well it turns out that nearly every one who volunteers at an animal shelter wants to be hands-on with the animals, so no one wants to help with the paperwork. It is critical work and when I was there it could wait a week before someone got to it. The paperwork was at the front desk, trying to locate the owners of stray cats and dogs that had come in with ID tags or microchips. It’s very detail oriented work, and more often than not you cannot locate the owner, which is another reason it wasn’t an appealing job to most. For example do you know how many stray dogs come in to the shelter wearing personal ID tags showing numbers that are no longer in service? It is so common. Do you know how many people microchip their pet but then do not keep the microchip company current with up to date contact info? That said there are some reuniting stories I will never forget.
Once I was calling the owner’s phone number on record for a microchip, saying the general statement about where I was calling from, we have your dog, ya-da ya-da ya-da. The guy I called thought it was some kind of joke, or a scam. I assured him that it was not, and that I had lots of people to call and would not be making up stories. He finally believed me and told me that his family had lost this dog over a year ago, and had never ever given up hope. He said they had made a little shrine to their dog on their fireplace mantle and had been praying every single day for their pet’s return.
The shelter only has set hours that you can come in to claim your pet so I was gone when they came in and got back their dog, but I can imagine the reunion. I’ve seen enough of them. Generally they walk down the rows of cages, and once their pet sees them he goes absolutely crazy with happiness.
Tomorrow Lorenzo is bringing our dog Odie to our vet for a check up, a routine test, and vaccinations. Then I will submit his rabies vaccination info to the city for a new city dog tag. I cannot put enough ID on Odie, after all I have witnessed working for Animal Care and Control. His microchip company is Home Again, and they have our current and accurate contact info which I have confirmed. He has a collar w/personal ID tag with our current phone numbers always on his neck unless he’s in bed with us at night. We walk him on a harness so as not to stress his collar so it will always remain strong and carry his ID. He is never in the yard without us being there too. Our four cats are indoors only and all have AVID microchips and AVID has our current contact info. The cats that will tolerate it wear collars with ID tags too.
So if you want to read more reunion stories you can check out the Home Again website. I just realized today that they keep record of a lot of the stories, and I love reading those. http://foundpets.homeagain.com/