Friday, June 01, 2012
Pet parent, poodle reunited, thanks to microchip
Dog, owner reunited after two years apart.
It can happen in the blink of an eye. A door is inadvertently left open and a beloved pet wanders off. Now imagine getting a phone call two years after your fur baby is lost only to learn that she has been found.
That happened to one Rocky Mount pet owner who recently got word from Wirtz resident Alicia Talbott that her poodle was alive.
Talbott recalled being at home in mid-March when a dirty, tick- and flea-ridden female poodle with matted fur showed up on her doorstep. Talbott's daughter had been playing outside when the critter wandered up.
"[She] and this dog had come running through the hallway," recalled Talbott. "My first thought was whoever had her wasn't caring for her."
Talbott said she hoped the pup would eventually find its own way back home, but when that didn't happen, Talbott began posting notices on craigslist and Facebook, but to no avail.
As the days turned to weeks, the poodle, now called Maggie, became a part of Talbott's family. Maggie made herself at home and followed Talbott all around.
"She was too sweet. I started thinking, she's such a good dog, she has to have a good owner," said Talbott.
On a whim, in early May, Talbott put Maggie in the car and drove to Westlake Veterinary Medical Center near Westlake Corner.
"I walked right in and said, 'I need this dog scanned for a microchip,'?" recalled Talbott.
According to the Humane Society of the United States' website, "Microchips are tiny transponders, about the size of a grain of rice, that use radio frequency waves to transmit information about your pet. They're implanted just under the skin, usually right between the shoulder blades."
Once the microchip is implanted, owners register their contact information with the provider of the microchip in case a pet gets lost or stolen.
Using a handheld scanner, Debbie Handy of Westlake Veterinary scanned the pup. Fortunately, the dog had a microchip and the microchip was registered. Handy called the dog's owner, Kesha Muse
"Debbie said she [the owner] started crying on the phone," said Talbott when told her poodle was alive. "They were just so excited and so happy to see her."
Muse did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The poodle, originally named Precious, was reunited with her original owner in a tearful reunion at the vet's office. Had it not been for the microchip and Talbott's curiosity, Precious might not have made it home, which is why Westlake Veterinary's Dr. Luke DelPo recommends microchipping as added protection for identifying lost animals.
"It's important because without identification they don't get home," said DelPo. "They're not able to tell us who they are."
Most veterinarians' offices, animal shelters and county pounds have access to the handheld scanners and many will microchip animals. Westlake Vet not only offers microchipping, but also will register the pet with Home Again, a national pet recovery database, which costs about $15.
While it was a happy ending for Precious and her owners, the reunion left a hole in Talbott's heart.
"I was really happy and really sad at the same time," she said.
In the weeks after reuniting Precious with her owners, Talbott said she felt something was missing, so she adopted a Chihuahua-poodle mix puppy named Jack. Knowing that there's a chance that he could one day slip out the door like Precious did years ago convinced Talbott to get Jack microchipped.