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Holly's Story: The Importance of Microchipping Pets

As incredible and scientifically inexplicable as Holly’s trek back to her owners’ arms was, it was a microchip that ultimately enabled the reunion. My pets are chipped...are yours?

I can’t resist a good animal-human reunion story, so I read with great interest and emotion the story in Sunday’s New York Times about Holly, a 4-year-old tortoiseshell cat who made a mysterious 200-mile journey to be reunited with her human family after being separated while on vacation in Florida.

Without going into the behavioral and scientific hypotheses for Holly’s successful, yet harrowing 200-mile trek from Daytona Beach to West Palm Beach, (the wear and tear on her paw pads and claws were indications that she didn’t hitch a ride, but in fact walked most of the way on pavement) the takeaway here is that a microchip implanted beneath Holly’s skin as a kitten was what ultimately reunited the cat with her owners, Jacob and Bonnie Richter of West Palm Beach.

In early November, Holly became separated from the Richters while they were on a camping trip in their recreation vehicle in Daytona Beach—200 miles from home. After searching for their cat for days, they returned home.

Then, on New Year’s Eve, a woman spotted a weak, emaciated cat “barely standing” in the backyard of her West Palm Beach home. She took the cat to a veterinarian who checked for a microchip, and within a day, Holly was reunited with the Richters.

Holly’s story is a reminder to all of us, even those with indoor pets, that we need to microchip them. Recent natural disasters have demonstrated how pets can be ripped from our arms and the safety of our homes in the time it takes flood waters to rise or an earthquake to rattle their worlds and ours.

Says Scott Delucchi of the Peninsula Humane Society/SPCA,  “Everyone should consider a microchip for their pet since it’s an inexpensive, easily implanted permanent form of identification that can be a lost pet’s ticket home.  We recommend that pets – even indoor cats -- have both a standard ID tag with current owner contact information and a microchip. Countless pet owners who find themselves in that awful, traumatic place when a pet has gone missing have given us accounts that begin with some form of this: “Our indoor dog/cat never goes outside, but….”

My three animals, one dog and two cats, were all chipped as youngsters—all at PHS. The cats love to roam my neighborhood and do what cats do—and although I understand the risks involved with allowing cats outside--they are happy, healthy and seemingly savvy of suburban dangers. And I know that if we ever became separated, my contact information is just a scan away. (They also wear reflective collars and name tags.)

Holly’s journey home was clearly aided by animal instinct, a bit of luck and the graciousness of a Good Samaritan. But it was that microchip that put her safely back in the arms of her family.

Please consider microchipping your pets today.

The Peninsula Humane Society/SPCA offers them for $30, no appointment needed, at both facilities (12 Airport Blvd. in SM and 1450 Rollins Rd. in Burlingame) which have the same hours: 11 am to 7 pm on weekdays and 11 am to 6 pm on weekends.

To read more about Holly's journey, click here for the full story.

Beatrice Karnes January 25, 2013 at 07:44 AM
Such a heartwarming story! And thank you for passing along the cost, Joan. I thought that microchipping pets was more expensive.

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