Proper Identification Vital For Pets

FOCUS ON PETS

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We have all worried about the pets after Katrina, and then there was Rita.undreds of dogs and other pets have been rescued. The monumental task ahead is reuniting these pets with their people. The key -- proper identification.

Our nightmare is fire. Evacuations are not uncommon. We need to take precautions so that our pets can be identified and hopefully cared for in case of an emergency.

No one method of identification is enough. Tags get torn off and collars end up missing. The majority of dogs picked up by animal control have no collars.

Several methods of identification for your dog are available.

The first and easiest method of identification is a tag attached to the dog's collar. Payson Feed will make a tag while you wait. The most important information to put on the tag is a telephone number. It is also a good idea to put a second phone number on the tag -- that of a relative or friend who lives in another location.

The second method of identification is a license of your city or county. With the license, your dog can be traced back to you. To be licensed, the dog must have a current rabies vaccination. Bring the dog's health record, showing his current vaccinations and proof of neutering. The fee for spayed and neutered dogs is considerably less expensive.

The safest and most permanent form of identification is a microchip. This involves implanting a small chip, the size of a grain of rice, under the skin between the shoulder blades. Once implanted, the chip is there forever.

All shelters and veterinary offices are supposed to scan all lost dogs that enter their facilities. With the microchip comes a small pendant to attach to the dog's collar that informs the finder that the dog indeed has a microchip, and it also has the 800 number to call, 24 hours a day, for information about the owner and an alternate contact if you are unreachable. The most frightening thought is to lose your dog while traveling. The microchip is a real comfort. All of the veterinarians in the Payson area do microchipping.

All of these forms of identification will be available at a reasonable cost at Dog Day in the Park on Oct. 22.

A hurricane animal rescue center told of the importance of a photo of you with your dog. This helps the finder to have a visual of your pet and also lets them know that you are actually the owner.

Having your dog accustomed to a kennel is vitally important. Most of the dogs from the hurricanes were put into kennels somewhere. Imagine the dog's fear of going through the hurricane and now being in a crate if he has never been confined before. Someone in Texas, unable to take his dog with him, put him in his kennel and placed the kennel behind a strong building. The dog was discovered unhurt.

Incidentally, some 140 rescued dogs have been brought to Arizona from the hurricane areas. The Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah is coordinating the effort. They will be cared for at the Buddhist Sanctuary five miles from Whispering Hope Ranch. The dogs will be kept there until their owners, or new homes, can be found for them. Volunteers are desperately needed to help with walking, feeding and providing TLC to these traumatized pets. The plan is that three or four volunteers will meet and drive out together. E-mail Donna Rokoff at rokoff@npgcable.com, or call (928) 474-1542 if you can help.

For more information about this huge project, come to the PAWS meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 in the Payson Public Library meeting room. Also, Stephen Stewart will give an update on the Rim Country Animal Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter.

Proper identification for your pet is vital. Come to Dog Day in the Park and get complete protection for your dog. Also, there will be lots of fun and games, vendors and contests. Dogs are welcome on leash.

Christy Powers is a columnist for the Payson Roundup. She can be reached by e-mail at cpwrather@earthlink.net or by snail mail at HC1Box 210, Strawberry, AZ 85544.

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