Printed in Sun Newspapers March 2008
By Tracie Jacobson, Animal Humane Society
She hadn’t been seen for two hours. The temperatures were below zero. I was in a panic.
I had just started my second week at Animal Humane Society and was on my way to work when my brother, Culley, sent me a text message stating his chocolate Lab, Kasey Jo, ran away. He was on a business trip in Sioux Falls, S.D. when the call came from his roommates—they couldn’t find her anywhere and she wasn’t wearing her collar and tags.
Being just a short distance from his place in St. Louis Park, I pulled off the highway and weaved my way through the streets to his neighborhood. I frantically canvassed the area searching for her brown frame in every yard, every parking lot and on every road.
The police department handles animal control in St. Louis Park, so I called them to ask if they’d heard any reports regarding a chocolate Lab. They informed me that several came in placing her at the Park & Ride depot a few blocks from her home. But by the time they got there, she was gone.
I immediately hung up and called my husband, who was also canvassing the neighborhood. “Hello?” he answered.
Silence. I couldn’t speak. I’d just realized she was spotted right next to the interstate and in an area of high volume traffic.
“Hello?” he asked again.
The realization that this could already have turned into a very bad situation physically took the words out of my mouth. By the time I could speak the words were muffled with tears.
Although I just began working at AHS, I didn’t have to work there for long to know this had the potential of ending without dog treats and sloppy kisses. Culley could lose his best friend; a sweet girl who I described as the dog that would bake cookies for everyone she met, if only she could.
One comfort we held onto was that she was microchipped at the society’s Paws on Grand event in St. Paul the previous summer.
In 2007, AHS recorded 5,142 lost pet reports. Of that number, only 24% were reported found. Unfortunately, of the total animals that arrive at our doors, 17.6% are without collars or tags.
Your chances of finding your friend improve greatly if you have him or her microchipped. The inexpensive chip is implanted between your pet’s shoulder blades just under the skin and is equipped with an individual scanning number. That number is then listed with your contact information in a nationwide database that can be accessed by veterinarians and animal shelters to aid in the return of your lost pet.
This implanted form of identification is the size of a grain of rice and has reunited many families, including my own.
After giving all the time I could to finding Kasey, I put on a brave face and made my way to work. Frequent glances at the clock resulted in a calculation of how long she’d been out in the cold—two hours, three hours…
Seconds before the fourth hour I received another text from my brother, “Golden Valley Animal Humane Society has her.”
I ran downstairs and was in her kennel within minutes. She was alone, scared and in need of some comfort. Normally a very well-behaved dog, Kasey jumped in my lap and knocked me over when I knelt down to greet her. She kissed my face; I kissed hers and we barely noticed the Basset Hound howling at us next door. I called my brother to let him know I was there with her.
Lucky for us, a concerned citizen brought Kasey in after finding her where we’d been looking only a short time before. She was scanned for a chip, and within minutes of arriving at Animal Humane Society, my brother got the call in Sioux Falls that she’d been found.