Guess what I found yesterday!? A lost puppy! Actually, my mother saw him first—dodging cars on a busy residential street in our neighborhood.
A gorgeous, almost all-white, male Parsons (Jack) Russell Terrier. About five months old (adult incisors, baby canines). No collar. Intact—of course. With no basic training (You want me to walk with that thing around my neck?).
A quick trip to the office (these things always happen on my days off) revealed a microchip under the skin between his shoulder blades. Unregistered.
The Avid microchip people were—I must admit—not very helpful.
Them: Unregistered. Period. End of discussion. Sorry we couldn’t help you. Have a nice day.
Me: Um…do your records show the location you sent that microchip?
Me: Is there a telephone number attached to that [very precise] address?
Them: OK. It’s xxx-xxx-xxxx.
It’s like pulling teeth! If I hadn’t asked pointed questions I never would have gotten the stony-voiced individual on the other end of the line to give up her [non-classified] information. Is this the kind of service a pet-loving company (in the business of putting frantic owners in touch with their beloved pets, no less) finds acceptable?
At that moment I was pleased our hospital did business with Avid`s competitor, Home Again. Not that I have much faith in the microchip system after the ordeal that followed…
I called Oklahoma. The person answering the phone (Hello?) seemed surprised that I would call her.
Me: I’m trying to find the owner of a Jack Russell pup with a microchip number sold to you by Avid. Could you help me?
Them: What’s the lot number?
Me: Lot number? Um…Which number is that?
Them: The second three numbers.
Them: (after much shuffling of papers and audible openings and closings of creaky file drawers) That lot of pups went out to a distributor in Atlanta four months ago.
Me: This is such a beautiful pup. Are you the breeder?
Them: No, Ma`am, we deal with lots of breeders.
Me: What other breeds do you have?
Them: (impatient now) Ma`am, we have all breeds.
Puppy mill alert! After she gave up her Atlanta number I called said distributor of [more than likely] unethically raised puppy mill merchandise. She gave up her information more readily than the other two. When asked how many pups she placed each year she proudly answered: Thousands!
Next I called a place called Happy Puppies in Miami. The microchip number trail led to this West Miami strip mall shop where the harried owner informed me that the dogs had arrived from Atlanta three months ago…but he did not keep records on individual pups` microchip numbers and their final destinations.
All that dialing and dealing with the puppy mill industry…for nothing. I left my number with the shopkeeper—just in case. I’m sure he didn’t even write it down. The trail was stone cold.
How can it be that individual dog sales aren`t regulated enough to require sellers to identify their products individually? After all, their taglines are all about selling love and their business licenses all sport soft or perky titles like: Kute Pets, Gracious Pets, or other such assenine monikers?
And how can the microchip manufacturers fail to lobby the government for such regulation? How can they hire uncaring, unhelpful staff on their lost and found customer service phone lines?
I hate this industry and the canker it spreads. Unethical dog breeding leads to convenience sales and, typically, to irresponsible dog ownership. It makes me sick.
After knocking on about fifteen random doors throughout the neighborhood of his provenance, the pup’s origins were still a mystery. No fliers. Even this morning, no mention of a lost dog in the paper (a free ad) next to mine (soliciting the owner of a lost white terrier-style pup found on X Street). No phone calls yet from worried owners looking for lost pups.
After yesterday`s front page story in the local section of the Miami Herald detailing the unnecessary euthanasia of an untagged, unmicrochipped dog, you`d think the need to locate your lost dog immediately would be a pressing one. In this case, the dog was euthanized after the owner let the appropriate authorities know she was coming to get him.
Predictably, our sweet foundling already has a foster home. One of the technicians at the specialty hospital across the street took him home with a promise to give him up should his true owners present themselves. But I’m not too sure I want to do that.
Why would someone who loves their pup not use a collar, fail to register his microchip, ignore the lost and found section of the paper, and forego fliers?
Could be there’s a reason. I’m waiting to hear a good one. Otherwise this tech has a new dog. Oh, and by the way, not even 24 hours in a good home and this pup’s already leash trained. As someone once wrote in a comment on this site: not everyone’s terrier-worthy.