This week we had the traumatic experience of having our chocolate lab get out of our back yard and was missing. The day started off busy running the kids to appointments and I had a pest control company coming out to do their quarterly spray so I went home and put the dogs in their crates since some people are nervous around big dogs. The bug guy did his thing and left for the day, I was doing some cleaning around the house so I had asked my youngest to go let the dogs outside. So like a good boy he helped me out and let them dogs out.
It had been about an hour since letting them outside when I went to take the trash out, I opened the back door and my German Shepherd was barking at me in a strange upset bark and pacing. When I walked around to the side of the house I saw the back gate was open and then I realized where is my Chocolate Lab? My heart sank to my stomach and I called out for her, she did not come. I walked out to the street no sign of her, I went into full panic mode not knowing how long she had been gone. My dogs are always very good and stay in the yard with us so I was surprised that she was gone.
I ran in the house in a panic yelling at my son to come on we had to go get in the car that our dog was missing and called my husband. We climbed in the car and drove slowly through our neighborhood calling for her, I hoped she had just gone to the park not far from our house where we take the dogs for walks but no sign of her. I was kicking myself for not checking the gate and realized my dogs did not have their collars on. I do have them microchipped but if someone doesn’t take it to be scanned its hopeless I thought.
My eldest son took our other dog on a leash and also walked the neighborhood. After searching for an hour my panic set in more, we live not far from a busy street and if something happened to her we would be devastated. My Chocolate Lab is the sweetest dog and so well behaved you couldn’t ask for a better temperament in a dog.
I had see different missing pet groups on Facebook in my area so I posted a lost dog page on their Missing Pets page and asked my friends to please share. I also started calling local animal shelters to see if she had been picked up yet and there was nothing. Hours went by and we found nothing and heard nothing, I was a mess crying and feeling horrible.
It had dawned on me to try calling the local animal clinics, if she had been hurt then maybe someone would take her there. I called a few and still no luck. They were kind and took down my information in case someone did bring her in. I decided to try one more on the list and I called and to my shock they had just had a lady bring in about an 8 year old female chocolate lab with no tags and no microchip (I’ll get back to this part) found down at the park near our house. I knew that had to my dog, the animal clinic told me they had scanned for a chip but nothing came up so they advised the lady who found our dog to take her to the Humane Society in the morning instead of her going to a local animal shelter.
They said she should still have my dog and gave me her information, I hurried and hung and called. It felt like the phone rang for an eternity then a woman answered much to my relief. I told her that I believed she had my dog and she made me give her a description to ensure I was not some random person trying to take a dog. She told me the story of how her daughter was walking home from the Park and saw two dogs a German Shepherd and a Chocolate Lab ( I almost fell off my chair when she told me this because if you remember I said my German Shepherd was home when I found out the other dog was missing. She had come back home all on her own) my lab had followed her daughter home and the shepherd took off the other way. So the lady gave her some water then took her to the local animal hospital to see if she had a chip which nothing came up on the scan.
The lady only lived a few streets over from me so we hopped in the car and ran off to get off dog back. When we pulled up the lady came out to great us and I broke into tears thanking her so much for taking care of our dog. I was so relieved to find her I don’t know what I would have done if we lost her. My Lab was so happy to see and couldn’t wait to get in the car.
So I’m sure some of you are scolding me saying well idiot you should have had their collars on. Yea I should have but my dogs won’t run away to run away I could walk them without a leash no problem. Plus I knew that if their collars did come off or get lost we had them both microchipped. Well if you remember the clinic told me they scanned for her chip and nothing showed up. I was dumb founded you spend the money to have these put in your dog in case of this type of situation and the chip isn’t showing up! WTF!
So I immediately called the Vet where I had the implants done and sure enough they had record of them and when I told them what had happened they didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. They told me sometimes the chips go bad and they can move, but I could bring her in and they would test the chip. If the chip had gone bad then I could just pay another $45 dollars to get a new one in. Are you freaking kidding me! I was told that this chip the “Home Again Chip” would last the life of my dog and it had an anti-migration feature to keep it from moving. I get electronics can go bad, but you want me to pay to replace the damn thing because its faulty!
Things I have learned from this experience:
1. Always keep your dogs collar with updated tags on them
2. Do not rely on the microchip, many Veterinarian’s use different brands and different brands require different types of scanners so even though yours may be working the place they are taking my not be able to scan for yours.
3. Also have your dog’s microchip checked periodically to ensure it’s placement and that it is still working.
4. Their are great sites on Facebook and local adds that you can post to for missing pets in your area, utilize social media word travels fast!
5. Call local animal shelters and also local Veterinary Clinics to see if your pet is there.
Thanks for reading,
One happy dog owner 🙂