The first Saturday in April is National Tag Day, when we ask you to take stock of your pet’s current ID situation. Do they have an ID tag? Are they wearing it? Is it up to date? If you answered NO to any of these questions, now is the time to remedy the situation and tag your pet.
Why it’s so important to tag your pet
Just a few weeks ago, I encountered a great example of why tagging your pet is so important. I had just stepped outside to walk dog-reactive Boo, when I saw a loose dog running up the street towards us. There was no owner in site, so I hustled Boo back into my house and grabbed a leash.
Catching and leashing the loose dog was no problem. He was a very sweet, middle-aged, large, mixed-breed dog. Someone obviously cared for him. He was neutered and wearing a collar and a jaunty scarf. But on the collar: no tag. I spent the rest of my evening walking him around the neighborhood and interviewing neighbors until I figured out where he belonged.
It turns out, ”Bullseye” had, until recently, lived one street over from me. His owner fell on hard times, got evicted, and is currently living out of her van at a house on a street not far away. The residents of that house were supposed to be watching Bullseye when he got out. Left to his own devices, Bullseye proceeded directly to the only home he knew, which was empty and locked up. Since his owner wasn’t there, he decided to investigate the neighborhood, which is how I found him. Luckily for him, I didn’t take him to a shelter, or have him picked up by the city because his owner would not have been able to afford to redeem him.
Once Bullseye was reunited with his owner, I asked if she had a tag we could put on his collar. She said no, but he was microchipped. You see the dilemma. It’s great that he’s microchipped, but for anyone to figure out where he belonged they would have to take him to a shelter or vet to get scanned. If he were wearing ID, it could be read right away, and his owner contacted then and there.
This lady clearly didn’t have the resources to get Bullseye a tag, so I got one for her. She had a working cell phone, which was enough. Bullseye now has a fighting chance of getting back to her should he ever escape again.
Help others tag their pets
The moral of the story is: always keep a tag on your pet. I will take it one step further and urge you to help others tag their pets. Tags are cheap and, in a pinch, you can get by with just one piece of information. A phone number is best, but for the less fortunate among us, even an indication about where to find them (i.e., 700 block of Main St.) is better than nothing. A “tag” doesn’t even have to be stainless and engraved. Get a cheap collar and a sharpie (both can be found at dollar/discount stores) and write the info right on the collar. Done! With just this simple step, you can save a pet’s life.
Have you ever had to search for the owner of a pet who wasn’t tagged? Were you successful? Share your story with us.