Free microchips in December
Give your pet a gift that shows your love
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By Mickey Zeldes  November 30, 2012 12:00 am

A stray cat was recently brought in by a good Samaritan who said the cat showed up a couple of weeks before and just kept coming around.  The cat was a plain brown tabby without a collar but seemed friendly and allowed the woman to pet her.  When the cat showed no inclination to leave (the caring person was starting to feed her regularly), and knowing the rain and cold weather were coming, the person opted to bring the cat into the shelter.

We scanned the cat and “bingo” found a microchip.  After a few phone calls to track the chip info, we got an owner’s name, address and phone number, then left a message on the machine and hoped this person was still the owner and she would want her cat back.  Later that evening, just at closing time, the call came in – the woman had just arrived  home from work and heard our message.  An excited voice asked if she could still come down that day to get her cat. 

We stayed late to do the redemption, and it was the kind that brings tears of joy to our eyes.  The cat, much beloved, had never roamed far from home before and had been missing for a few weeks.  The owner, a single woman, was devastated and sure she would never see her best friend again.  There were tears and hugs all around as the woman and her cat were reunited.  Since she had already given up looking for her cat, the chances of a reunion were slim if it were not for the tiny microchip implanted into the cat’s body…and a caring person bringing the cat into the shelter to be scanned.

Actually, four things have to happen to make the chips work.  The animal has to be microchipped (done by a simple injection of the chip under the skin), the owner’s information has to be registered and current, someone has to bring the animal to a shelter or veterinarian office to be scanned, and the owner has to want the animal and be willing to claim him.  But when these four things happen, it’s like magic – a lost pet is found, scanned, a call is made and the pet is reunited with his worried parents.  A cat that has been missing for weeks is back home within a few hours.  We love it.  Imagine if all the lost pets that come into our shelter – more than 800 each year - had a currently registered microchip.

That is our dream, and we’re trying to make it happen. Thanks to the support of the Animal Shelter League, during the month of December, we are offering free microchips to all the residents in Rohnert Park and the City of Cotati (proof of residency required – please bring ID with a current address).  No appointment is necessary – just bring your leashed dog or cat in a carrier during our regular open hours: Wednesday, 1-6:30 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 1-5:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-4:30 p.m.
To kick off this event, we are inviting VIP Mobile Vet Services to host a low-cost vaccination clinic at the shelter on Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.  Rabies shots will be available for just $6, and other vaccines will be at their regular low price.  This way, you can protect your pet from disease at the same time you protect them with a microchip.

Show your pets how much you care – and give them a ticket home in case they ever become lost.  A microchip, invisible to the eye because it is hidden inside the body, can also prove ownership if ever a dispute arises.  The best protection you can get – and it’s free during the month of December.  It’s the best holiday gift you can (not) buy.

Upcoming events: Meet the Bunny, Saturday, Dec. 8, 1-5 p.m. at the shelter.  Meet our adoptable rabbits and have your care questions answered by our knowledgeable volunteers.  Bring your bunny in for a free nail trim and be sure to shop our Bunny Boutique for fresh hay, toys and other supplies.  All proceeds supports our small animal program.

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at

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