This past Sunday evening, my friend TT's two greyhounds -- Cinnamon and Bella -- escaped her back yard. (It's supposed that the neighbor came into the yard to adjust the Christmas lights along the fence and did not close the gate on the way out.) Cinnamon was found a block over about an hour later, but Bella was not found until about midnight Wednesday.
For days, TT and friends and caring people in the ReGAP list serve that live nearby, searched the area and put up posters, called local vets and rescue groups, walked along the local railroad tracks, searched through the nearby cemetery and, in my case, searched at local shelters. No Bella to be found. Wednesday night a neighbor mentioned that someone he knew had found a lost dog on the street and had her at his home in a nearby town. Anyway, long story made short, Bella was brought home.
But during the time that she was away, several rescue groups sent out emails to their members asking them to be on the look out or help search for Bella. Many people came to help. And we got our first "real" snow of the season of about 3 or 4 inches, complete with freezing temperatures.
Bella, who was never microchipped, was found without her collar and tags. I cannot tell you how upset I was about that.
On Monday and Tuesday, I searched for Bella at the Michigan Humane Society in Detroit, the Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society, and the Oakland County Animal Control. Talk about depressing. It's sad enough to know that pets go unwanted, but many also remain lost and perhaps "put down." Michigan law requires that city animal control/shelters keep dogs for only 4 days; after that they can be either euthanized or put up for adoption. Roughly 15 -25% of animals that walk in to shelters actually walk out alive (adopted). So that's roughly 75 - 85% that are destroyed. (Read my April 2007 post Surrendering Your Pet.)
How to make a difference for you and your beloved pet? Get your pet microchipped. It's simple and very inexpensive (less than $20) and takes only several minutes. Your vet will inject a tiny microchip into the area between your dog's (or cat's) shoulder blades. If your pet is lost but somehow finds its way to a veterinarian or shelter, or even police department, a special microchip scanner used on your dog can read the i.d. #, they can then call the product supplier and find out the contact information for you - the pet owner.
Please, get your dog microchipped. It could save us all some heartache.
If you're considering making a donation to help dogs at year's end, please consider the Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society in Detroit. They are small, in a not well-trafficked area, and the dogs there look in particular need. Send your donation to Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society, 13569 Joseph Campau, Detroit, MI 48212-1648.
Some random items from their wish list: blankets, towels, laundry detergent, postage stamps, dog and cat beds and toys, and dog collars.