Kids & Pets
May 27, 2018
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The magic of microchips

By: Mickey Zeldes
February 23, 2018

Here’s a fire story with a very happy ending. It's encouraging to know that people are still finding their lost pets after all this time and it gives hope to those that are still looking! This is Bailey’s story - she’s had enough adventures to easily last a lifetime (do dogs have nine lives too?)! It actually started right before the fire.

Bailey, a sweet Cattle dog mix and her family lived in Napa and around Oct. 6, Bailey escaped from her house and was found and turned into the Napa Humane Society. Before she could be reclaimed the fires hit and Bailey’s family fled in their camper-truck. They reclaimed their dog and together with the parents and a 4-year-old child were living in their camper. Imagine that scenario with an escape-oriented dog!

After Bailey had gotten out a couple of times it became clear that this living arrangement wasn’t going to work so they asked a relative living in Rohnert Park to house and care for Bailey until they could get situated. Things were going fine until Bailey escaped from this home too (spaying her would really help, but that’s another whole issue). The relative was reluctant to mention this escapade to Bailey’s family thinking that she would pop up again and it wouldn’t be an issue.  When the family found out they went into full search mode – printing flyers and posting on various websites and Facebook pages. In fact, we cross-posted her lost report! All this was happening in December making it a very sad holiday season for this family and the 4-year-old child who had lost her home and now her dog.

Fast forward to Feb. 13. A stray cattle dog was brought in to our shelter by an officer. A quick scan showed that the dog was micro-chipped, but before we could contact the chip database an owner was at our door. She claimed that she had bought the dog from someone on Craigslist several months ago. She and her family loved the dog and she needed to go back to the bank for the cash to redeem her. In the meantime, we contacted the microchip database to verify ownership and were shocked to learn that the account had been frozen with a “went missing” report attached.

Now this is where it could have become dicey. Remember the story of Dash, the fire cat that the County Shelter was in the middle of a custody battle over? Two families were fighting over ownership of the poor cat that had gone missing during the fire. It took a DNA test to prove that he really was Dash, the missing fire cat. Fortunately, when we told the woman who returned to claim what she thought was her dog about the microchip and the fact that it was reported missing, she very graciously agreed to let the dog be returned to her original family. I think the part about the fire and the fact that the family had lost their home played into her sympathy.  Also, the fact that she was micro-chipped, so there was no doubt about her identity. Sadly, there were young girls in both families so someone was going to be heartbroken.

We called the original family and they rushed right over from Napa to reclaim their dog. They were now living in a rental unit that had a secure yard for Bailey. It was a very exciting reunion with lots of tail wags and tears, as you can imagine. There is a photo of the mom and daughter with Bailey on our Facebook page if you want to check it out. Such a great happy ending – over four months after the fire the whole family is together again. Proof again that microchips work!


Upcoming Events: 

No More Lost Pets – free microchips and pet ID tags for residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati City. Stop by the shelter during our open hours with your pet to get one! The shelter is open Wed 1-6:30 p.m., Thurs.-Fri-Sat 1-5:30 p.m. and Sun 1-4:30 p.m.

Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $60 dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.


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