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Microchips reunite precious pets with their familes


Autumn Krauss is smiling with joy because her beloved Portland is enjoying their new home in Denver. Nine months ago, she thought she'd never see him. Adopted from the Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood in 2005, Portland, a big Maine Coon, was micro-chipped prior to going home with the Krauss family.

A microchip is an identifying integrated circuit placed under the skin generally near the shoulder blades. Chips are about the size of a large grain of rice and use passive radio frequency identification technology. When scanned, the chip number appears, and the number is linked to the owner's information.

The key is keeping your information up to date with the chip registry. This is a lesson Autumn learned. Formerly residents of the Concordia neighborhood in Northeast Portland, after nine months abroad for work, her family settled in Denver. Portland was to live with a friend in Vancouver until they returned to the U.S. Portland had different ideas and escaped after two weeks. Despite valiant efforts by her husband (while in Australia) to track him down, Portland seemed to have disappeared.

Fast forward to December. Autumn opened an e-Tails newsletter from CAT and wondered what became of their kitty.

Another call was made to the Humane Society of Southwest Washington in Vancouver.

Terrific news! Their beloved pet had shown up two weeks prior. Because of his microchip, the Humane Society made several attempts to find the Krauss family - all failed due to their move. Portland was transferred to CAT and placed up for adoption.

In no time, tickets were purchased. and Autumn was on her way to get him. It was a very happy reunion.

Last month, Washington County Animal Services was reunited Maddie with her family after being missing for a year.

After exhausting all efforts to find their pet, her owners had almost given up when the shelter in Hillsboro contacted them.

Thanks to the microchip and the fact her owners kept their information up to date, she is now back in her Northeast Portland home.

Thanks to her chip, Maddie's family was able to positively identify her. You see, while on the lam, she went from a slim kitty to a 16 pounder and looked quite different. Microchips offer positive identification for lost pets who often lose weight, unlike Maddie, or get into tussles that alter their appearance a bit.

In 2011, WCAS happily reunited 1,044 dogs and 99 cats with their owners, many thanks to microchips.

Nationally, only 19 percent of the lost cats who make it to the safety of an animal shelter are reunited with their owners.

Microchips are a great secondary form of identification that should not replace a collar and current ID tag.

A chip works only when scanned.

If a good Samaritan doesn't take a lost pet to a vet or shelter, the ID tag is the only chance a pet has of being reunited with his/her family.

Make sure your pet's microchip information is updated when you move or change phone numbers.

After nine months of grieving for her pet, Autumn said this was her biggest lesson and wants to make sure every pet owner remembers to update that information.