Statistically, in the United States alone, there are over 78 millions dogs owned, and over 85.8 million cats owned as pets (ASPCA). That’s quite a few furry friends! However, it is said that one in every three pets will get lost at some point in their lives, and even worse, as many as 90% of those lost never return home due to lack of proper identification (Dog Target).
I don’t know about you, but I find this statistic shockingly alarming. I think of my dog Mowgli, and I think of my parent’s two dogs. Theoretically one of them could get lost, and most likely wouldn’t come home. How upsetting is that? This is why having as many forms of identification as possible for your pet is so important!
Of those poor animals that don’t make it home, many either continue to live on the streets, or get taken to animal shelters. Nationwide, animal shelters house around 6.5 million dogs and cats, and, “each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized” (ASPCA). These mishaps can be prevented though by simply putting your contact information on your dog or cat! How many times have you seen pets roaming the streets? If you’re lucky enough to catch them, it seems as though the majority of these animals fail to have an ID tag attached to their collar- IF they're even wearing a collar. At this point, what can most people do? Sure, Facebook can be beneficial for spreading the word, but wouldn’t it be so much easier if the owner could simply be called right at that moment?
Perhaps the animal doesn’t have a tag- your next instinct would be to check and see if they have been microchipped. These implants are great sources, but not always reliable when it comes to having up-to-date information. Many people forget to update their microchip information after updating phone numbers or moving homes. If you rescued a dog with a microchip from a previous owner, and HAVEN'T updated that information, what good will that do? Additionally, microchips are known to move around in the dog's body and aren't always where you'd expect to find them. They're better than nothing, definitely, but an ID tag is a faster, easier way to find Fido's home.
Let’s get a bit personal again- Mowgli and I have been on countless walks around the neighborhood. Specifically one sunny afternoon, as he and I were making our way down the sidewalk, a small, brown, mixed breed dog came running up to us. He and Mowgli were sniffing and pawing at each other just as a woman in a vehicle pulled up near me. She said something along the lines of, “That dog lives somewhere in the neighborhood, he escapes and is running the streets ALL the time. Nobody knows exactly which house is his, but we think it’s this street!” Just as she was saying this, a large truck holding a German Shepherd pulled up on the other side of the road, keeping an unusual distance away. The shepherd was barking loudly and the brown mixed dog got scared and scurried away faster than I could run with Moe. The lady who was talking to me continued saying, “Yep, now he’s going to run away because that German Shepherd chased him not too long ago. That’s why the guy in the truck isn’t coming closer. His dog literally jumped out of the back of the truck one day and took off after him...”
I couldn’t believe this story. Not one dog, but TWO dogs had gotten loose in the same story this woman told me. This is a prime example of why identification is so important! Let’s face it, dogs and cats are curious creatures. They like to explore, and if given the opportunity to do so, they just might take themselves on a walk. Don’t let your fur babies run the risk of not coming home, should they explore a bit too far. And make sure your pets' ID information is up to date! If you have friends or loved ones whose pets don’t carry an ID tag, encourage them to buy one immediately, or even help them out and get one for their pet. Lucky for you, you're in the right place to find a tag. Let’s stop filling shelters with animals who actually have a home and work on ID tagging all of our pets!