Who Do You Belong To?


One cloudy Maryland afternoon, a Labrador retriever mix was brought into a shelter as a stray. This poor, old canine was graying at the muzzle and exhausted beyond belief. He was worn out and destined to find his family. The shelter was full and the sky was getting closer to nightfall, but this elderly canine was ready to be reunited with his loved ones. Unfortunately, this mature hound was not wearing a collar, leaving identification tags unable to be worn. His coat was dirty and his eyes screamed “Help me get back home.”

As luck would have it, a microchip scanner came to the rescue. After scanning Barney (we later learned his name), with the universal microchip scanner, we were able to locate a microchip. We immediately called the microchip company and received the owner’s information via telephone. We called the owner, but when the phone was answered and we announced who we were, we only heard sobbing at the other end of the line. It turned out that Barney was lost years back and his family had assumed the worst. Barney’s owners raced down to the city shelter and were reunited with him with tear-filled eyes and open arms.

As it turns out, Barney’s family was from Hawaii and they moved to the east coast years prior for the father of the family’s career. Soon after the family moved to the east coast, Barney ran out of the house and was never to be seen again. Or so they thought. The family looked for Barney for months and notified all surrounding shelters and veterinarians, but no one had seen or heard from Barney. The family admitted that they didn’t put Barney’s collar and tags back on him after his flight from Hawaii, but they were overwhelmed with the move, and didn’t think twice about not having tags on him.

It turns out that another person must have found Barney soon after his “flee for freedom” (after he darted out the front door) after his family moved to the mainland. The finder must have thought “no tags, no owner,” and kept Barney for years, not knowing that he had a family or identification microchip.

Now that Barney is living out his retirement with his original family on the east coast, his story is being told in order to stress the importance of identification tags on a pet. Even though Barney’s story occurred in a big city, stray animals with no identification occur frequently in Payson. HSCAZ also stresses the importance of a microchip, being that it is a great tool for identification, but only as an additional tool along with identification tags on a companion animal. Both dogs and cats need identification tags on their collar.

One of the most frustrating things that an animal welfare worker has to encounter is a stray animal with no means of identification on him or her. Identification tags need to be on both cats and dogs. HSCAZ cannot stress that enough. Whether it is a thunder storm, the backfire of a car, or simply a nice, sunny day that screams out your pets name (also known as running out of the front door), or anything that could make your pet run away from home — identification tags with an updated telephone number and emergency contact can save the day.

HSCAZ has reunited numerous pets that have darted out the front door and ended up at the shelter. Teary-eyed reunions have filled the front office of HSCAZ, but many more animals could have been reunited with their families if identification tags were worn along with having updated phone numbers on the tags.

Just think, you wouldn’t want your pet to be asked “Who do you belong to?” would you? If you have questions regarding where pet identification tags can be purchased or microchipping your pet, please contact kat.knauff@humanesocietycentralaz.org.

Now, meet some of our adoptable pets. Remember, all adult animals, age 1 year and up, are only $25 now through Labor Day. Visit the shelter at 812 S. McLane Road, call (928) 474-5590 or go online to www.humanesocietycentralaz.org.




Speckles is an adorable, 8-month-old Heeler mix. She and her buddy Freckles were abandoned by their owners, and brought here to HSCAZ to be cared for. Speckles is an affectionate girl with a huge heart. She is still young and playful, and will benefit from basic training. She is social with other dogs and is looking for a loving family to call her own. She has been spayed and is up to date on vaccines.




Tony is an adorable, long-haired, black kitten. He is one of the most affectionate cats I’ve ever met. He likes to sit on your shoulder and help you clean. He is a big-time cuddle bug who loves attention. He is neutered and has received his kitten vaccines. He gets along great with other cats and will be a wonderful addition to your family. Look at that face... how can you resist?




Depot is a 3-year-old Shepherd mix that was found near Home Depot by one of our employees. This is an intelligent, well-behaved dog for sure. He listens very well and already knows basic commands. He is social with other dogs and really loves to be around people. He is neutered and current on his vaccinations. Now all he needs is a loving, furrever home. Could it be yours?




Johnny is loads of fun! This playful, 6-month-old lab pup is always on the go. He is social with dogs and is a real people-pleaser. He is still a pup and will need some basic training to help him learn manners and various commands. Johnny is such a fun-loving pup that he will add excitement and happiness to any family who adopts him. He is neutered and current on vaccinations.




Lenobia is a 2-year-old beauty. This girl is so sweet and calm. She enjoys lounging in the window, soaking up the sun. She loves cuddle time and will gladly rest in your lap so you can scratch behind her ears. She is social with other cats, but not so much dogs. This pretty princess is spayed and up to date on all vaccines. Lenobia is the perfect cat for someone who wants a mature, yet affectionate cat to call their own.




Her name is Princess Peach, or Peach for short; and, boy, does she act like a princess. Peach is such a sweetheart. She would prefer to be the only cat in the home so that she gets all the attention, treats and belly rubs. She will be your best friend and confidant. She is spayed and current on vaccines. Come down and meet out little princess; maybe you can let her be the queen of your castle?


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