The average American moves between 11 and 14 times in their lifetime. During my first six years in Asheville, I moved a total of seven different times! As you know, when you move, there are a lot of details to keep up with. Just as I'd get around to updating my new address on all my bills and accounts, it would be time to move again. And, though I hate to admit this, one of the things I'd always forget to update was the info on my dog, Ira's, dog tag.
And, you know, I didn't really think much about it, because Ira was almost always with me. He came to work with me. He hung out with me at home. I took him places in and around town. There wasn't a lot of opportunity for him to get away, or get lost. Or so I thought.
At one stage, we made the move from an apartment to a house, and for the first time, Ira had a big fenced-in back yard. It was awesome! He enjoyed exploring the yard, barking at squirrels, and sunning himself in the grass.
A few weeks into our new home, I had to run a quick errand, and Ira didn't want to come inside. He's a stubborn little terrier, which is one of the things I love the most about him! I figured I'd let him hang out in the enclosed backyard while I was gone, because it was such a beautiful day, and I knew he'd be happier outside.
When I came back home, he was gone. Gone!
I found a little space in the fence where he must have snuck out. And that's when the panic set in: he was wearing a tag with an outdated phone number and address. Even if someone found him, they wouldn't be able to call me to let me know, or return him to the right address.
|If you've ever lost your pet, even for a couple of hours, you know how dreadful that feels. If you don't have a proper, updated pet ID tag on your dog, the feeling is even worse. You feel helpless and guilty and totally inconsolable. I know I did when Ira vanished. (More on that in a bit...) It's completely heartbreaking. |
So what can you do to prevent this from happening? Well, nowadays there's technology for pet recovery that can help you get your best friend back as quickly as possible.
Virtual Leash is one of the best services out there. Virtual Leash is a unique website for your pet that's printed on their tag. In the event that they're lost, the person who finds your pet can log on to the website and notify you and an unlimited number of emergency contacts via text message and voicemail, even email and Twitter, and all at the click of a button. If I'd known about Virtual Leash back then it would have saved me a lot of hassle and heartache on the day Ira went missing.
Even if the phone number printed on your tag is outdated, like mine was on Ira, you can update all your contact information on your pet's Virtual Leash website so that your current information is available. That way, there's nothing standing between you and getting your pet back. If you move, you can update your new address. Same goes for getting a new phone number. And, if you travel a lot for work, you can list the address and contact number of your pet sitter or boarder, which is good added protection in case you have a little Houdini on your hands. Virtual Leash also uses Google Maps to show potential finders a safe place for your pet, so really, all your bases are covered, and your chances for pet recovery are high.
Back to Ira...he has a microchip, but I hadn't updated our
address through the registration service after we moved. Even if I had, there's
often an issue with readability with some chips—different microchip companies
have different kinds of scanners, and they're not all compatible. Lucky for me,
a neighbor found Ira a few blocks away from home and he recognized him from our
frequent walks in the neighborhood. He didn't know where I lived, but he was
thoughtful enough to go door-to-door, asking people if they knew Ira. A few
hours later (even though it felt like a lifetime), we caught up with each
other, and Ira and I were reunited. I know the story could have taken a very
different turn, but I got lucky. These days, I don't want to rely on luck—not
when I can rely on Virtual Leash!
Check out this cute video that shows how Virtual Leash
|Kathleen McCafferty hopes her days of moving are long behind her. Nowadays, you can find her and her scruffy pup, Ira G, in a little house all their own in West Asheville. Still, she's not taking any chances. These days, Ira wears an updated pet ID tag from Dog Tag Art, and is enrolled in Virtual Leash. See how easy and stress-free Virtual Leash can be for your pet too!|