Have you ever had a pet stolen or go missing? If you have, you're not alone, thousands of pets go missing across Australia every year.
The microchip is an invaluable tool in bringing home lost or stolen pets but what if whoever has found your pet doens't look for a chip, or worse, ignores it completely? The pet can be passed on or rehomed (although illegal) it is a common occurance with some people believing they are doing the right thing.
We here at Westlakes Vet have access to the national pet registry so we are often called upon to reunite lost pets with their families. Usually a dog or cat has only been missing for a few hours so when Nurse Jenn came across a dog who had been marked as stolen 2 years ago, she knew she had to act immediately.
Benji, an adorable 5kg Apricot Poodle was stolen from his family home in Tuggerah back in October 2013 and hadn't been seen or heard of since. A facebook page called 'Bring Benji Home' was created by his worried family to spread the word, a police report made and his microchip updated to alert anyone who scanned him that he was missing.
Two years later and over 50kms away, it was a normal Monday here for Nurse Jenn at Westlakes Vet Hospital. It had been a busy day but she stuck with her routine of scanning all patients as they come in for their appointments, this helps to widen our database and ensures that if any of our patients show up as lost we can scan them and recognise them straight away.
Jenn came across a microchip and upon checking it on the Pet Registry she found that the microchip and the dog actually belonged to a family in Tuggerah - Benji!
Nurse Jenn rang the police with who the initial report had been made and Benji's owners phone but unfortunately mobile numbers had been changed and contact could not be made.
She couldn't leave it at that and decided to put on her detectives cap, she found the 'Bring Benji Home' facebook page which led her to Benji's mums facebook profile! Jenn tried to send messages alerting Benji's mum of the situation but they go straight to an unseen folder and ten days pass with no news.
On the 2nd of July, Nurse Jenn recieved a reply! Benji's mum was beyond excited to hear news of her beautiful dogs whereabouts!
On Friday Jenn started calling the police and the rangers to see what could be done to get Benji back to his worried family in Tuggerah. By lunchtime, Benji was back in his family's arms with a huge smile on his face!
Benji is readjusting to life at home very well and all of his family are so pleased to have him home, they all came for a visit to thank Nurse Jenn in person and bring her some gorgeous flowers and cards!
We hope this situation can bring all those who have missing pets hope, it will remind all workers in the animal industry to always check microchips and to urge everyone to never let go of a hunch! If Nurse Jenn hadn't followed up and kept trying to find Benji's family and if they had never seen the message he might not have made it home.