Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Two potential owners, one dog, and no microchip. Here's what happened when our veterinary practice got stuck between a Good Samaritan and the owner who wanted her dog back.
Jun 01, 2012

Near the holidays, our practice is usually the beneficiary of some great Christmas cheer—clients sending homemade treats and cards thanking us for our special attention to their valued family members. Last December, we got something else.

Kyle Palmer, CVT
In our community of just under 10,000 people, we help provide some assistance to both the city and the county. The city has no animal control department and our county dog control is usually a day or two away. As a result, the practice I manage has grown accustomed to filling the need from time to time. I've answered my door more than a few times in the middle of the night to find a police officer with a stray dog in the patrol car. We've held strays on our own dime for days and weeks, hoping for a reunion that doesn't always come.

Despite our help, we've come under fire from the county for cutting them out of a potential revenue stream. I'm against the idea of making money on lost pets. I'd rather focus on customer service, and I know good clients make the occasional mistake. The pet is my priority, and I'm not willing to gamble and play dog roulette to send them to the shelter when that may reduce—even slightly—the possibility of their successful return. After years of seeing how rarely people look for their lost pets, we exponentially expanded our microchipping program by practically giving them away.

This last December, a longtime client called to let us know that one of her dogs had escaped and was on the run. For most of the day, the lost notice was little more than a scrap among the collage of others that are posted in our reception area. Around 2 p.m., however, a woman entered the clinic with a pet that matched the lost dog's description. She said she'd found the dog and asked to have it scanned for a microchip.