Do microchips work in returning lost pets home?
Just ask Castle Hills, Texas, resident Edgar Fischel to tell his story.
In 2010, Fischel adopted Little Girl, a two-year-old Chihuahua from the Animal Defense League (ADL). ADL microchipped her, which gave Fischel the added confidence that his dog would be returned to him if she ever got lost.
Fischel loved Little Girl and says he took her everywhere with him. But he admits one day he was a little careless. “I was in a hurry and I left her in the car while I rushed into a store,” he says. “I wasn’t gone more than a minute or two.”
But that’s all the time it took for someone to steal Little Girl from the car.
“I was devastated,” he recalls. “I wondered, how could someone do this?”
Witnesses from the store parking lot provided Fischel with a license plate number, along with a description of the car and the man who stole her of the back seat. Fischel reported the pet theft to the police, but the witnesses had made a mistake on the license plate numbers. Turns out, the car belonged to a woman in Houston who had not been in San Antonio at all that day. With that lead gone, Fischel did what any loving pet parent would do: he put a lost pet ad in the newspaper. He called the local shelters and microchip company to report his dog missing. And, he put up lost pet signs near the store at Basse Road and West Avenue.
But Fischel never found Little Girl. “I spoil my puppies, so I just hoped and prayed she was in a good home with people who loved her,” he said. “My wife jokes that I love my dogs more than her.”
Fischel made peace with his loss and a few months later adopted another Chihuahua from ADL whom he named “Little Boy.” “I don’t ever let Little Boy out of my sight,” he says.
Six years passed, but not a week went by that he didn’t think about “Little Girl” and wonder where she might be. A few weeks ago though, Pet Watch, a microchip company, called Fischel to say they had found Little Girl – in San Antonio. “I thought it was a joke,” he says. “But they described Little Girl to a tee.”
Fischel doesn’t know what happened to Little Girl the first three years of her absence, but he did find out she belonged to a San Antonio woman for the past three years.
When the woman moved to another apartment in January that didn’t accept pets, she gave the dog to her mom. The mom took the dog to the vet for a microchip, but the dog already had a microchip that traced back to Fischel.
“I was so excited when I got the news,” he says. “It was like hearing your lost child has been found.”
Fischel drove over to the woman’s house to meet “Cha-Cha,” the name the family had given the Chihuahua. But as soon as Fischel laid eyes on the dog, he said, “That’s not Cha-Cha, that’s my Little Girl. When I said her name she came running to me. I think she remembered me.”
Fischel took Little Girl to his vet for a checkup and shared the story. Little Girl looked to be in good health, so Fischel asked the vet why her microchip hadn’t brought her home sooner.
“My vet told me that most clinics don’t scan for a microchip unless the person asks or is getting a microchip,” he says. “That just broke my heart. I told them they should always do it with a new dog, otherwise, how do they know they are not working with a stolen dog?”
Little Girl seems happy to be home and loves her new playmate, Little Boy. “It may have taken six years,” says Fischel, “But I couldn’t be happier to have Little Girl home again.”
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