The Eastern Madera County SPCA volunteer’s phone rings. A woman named Ann in Oakhurst has found a dog wandering along Highway 41, narrowly missing being hit by a truck. There’s no collar, there are no tags, but fortunately Ann does the right thing and knows the first step is to scan the dog for a microchip.
The EMC SPCA volunteer heads out to meet Ann with her micro-chip scanner, knowing that if a chip is found, the dog will be back at home soon. Sadly, there’s no chip. So the scramble begins: a foster home is found, and then over the next several days fliers are put up, ads are run in the Sierra Star, emails are sent and Facebook posts are made.
Our wonderful community pulls together. But meanwhile the dog is obviously missing his owner, not eating well and visibly in stress. We don’t know his name.
The alternate heart-warming story is that the volunteer’s scanner lights up with a chip number. A quick call matches that number scanned to the owner. The dog’s name is Max. The owner is Steve. With the scanner still in her hand and the terrified dog by her side, the EMC SPCA volunteer calls Steve. He’s near tears as he receives the good news, and man and dog are reunited within an hour. Max leaps into Steve’s arms.
Unfortunately the first version of the story is the one the EMC SPCA encounters more often. Nine out of ten times there’s no chip. Or worse, the dog is chipped, but the finder doesn’t realize the very first step is to bring the dog to any veterinarian or contact the EMC SPCA to come scan for that chip. But we - and, more importantly, you - can change that.
Many people don’t know how incredibly inexpensive microchipping actually is. Getting your dog chipped takes literally moments and is one flat cost for life. A misconception is that there is an annual fee, or a high initial cost. Neither are true! Some of the chip companies do try to sign you up for “additional services” and in some cases you’ll receive an annual notice to “renew.”
But none of that is necessary. And the chip companies have operators available 24/7 so no matter when your dog is found, no matter when an EMC SPCA volunteer calls, the chip company will answer and work to reunite you to your lost loved one.
In Oakhurst you can get your dog chipped at Hoof N Paw Veterinary Hospital for only $25. The EMC SPCA provides the chip and Dr. Beth Taylor and her staff volunteer their time to insert the chip.
After chipping your dog, your only responsibility is to keep the chip information updated in case you move or your phone number or email change, and all that can be done easily on-line. All this for $25 for the life of your dog. Twenty-five dollars can save the life of your dog.
If you’d like to become involved with the EMC SPCA, volunteer meetings are the second Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at the Cat’s Meow in Oakhurst. See emcspca.org/ or follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/emc.spca.