When you spring forward and fall back with your clocks, perform a check on your pets' microchip contact information along with your smoke detectors!
Until a GPS tracking system that can be implanted in your dog becomes available (and there are some & collar-based systems out there today), microchipping your Kerry is your best chance of finding him should he ever get lost. During the past year, several lost Kerries were found by that miniscule microchip, including the unsinkable Maggie who was found almost two years to the day after she went missing, thanks only to her microchip. Without it, our Kerries are at the mercy of the shelter system, assuming they are captured by animal control, which can be unforgiving to any stray pet. Most municipalities give a stray only a few days before it is either put up for adoption or destroyed.
There are two major microchip companies in the US - Avid and HomeAgain and most vets and animal shelters have scanners that read these chips. Having the chip implanted is step #1. Your vet will be able to implant the chip (for around $50-$75), and there are some low-cost services ($25) as well. (Check with your local humane society.) But the key is step #2: Registering your contact information with the microchip company. PETtrac is the name of Avid's registration service (800-336-2843). HomeAgain Pet Recovery Service is HomeAgain's registration service (866-738-4324). It costs around $18 to register the contact information. Well-worth the few minutes it takes.
Make sure you list your cell phone as your primary contact since you will undoubtedly be out looking for your lost Kerry. If you list your home phone, make sure somebody is there to man the phone should your dog go missing. Please feel free to include the Kerry Foundation's toll-free number (800-532-2890) as another contact in case you are out of town. You may also want to keep your pet's microchip number in your wallet if your Kerry escapes while you are away from home.
Many of our puppy mill/pet store rescues have been microchipped, since that's the only way for a puppy factory to identify a dog. In the cases of those rescued dogs, it's critical to ensure the contact information is updated to the new owner. It never hurts to have your vet scan the chip to ensure it matches the number you have on file for your dog. Mistakes happen.
Of course, regularly check to make sure your contact information is current. If you are moving, changed cell numbers, changed jobs, etc., remember to change your chip contact information. That's usually not on anybody's checklist, so my advice is to confirm your contact information when you confirm that your smoke detectors are working- every six months when the clocks spring forward/fall back.
Microchips aren't foolproof, but they certainly have made a difference in the lives of many Kerries and their owners. For peace of mind, they're worth the effort. Just ask Maggie.