Here at Stolen Horse International, Inc™, we know there is not a much better feeling than knowing that we have helped in reuniting a missing horse with its owner. With your help we have helped many horses reunite with their owners. Every one of our reunions has a different story, some funny, some crazy, but all warm your heart to the core.
What you may not know is that sometimes, according to our guidelines, we do the same for a lost dog owned by a horse owner. The following case didn’t fall under any of our guidelines but we still felt like we needed to go the extra mile for a little black and white Shih Tzu found in Miami.
You may be wondering why this dog? Let’s go back to the evening of June 14th, when we received the call from a veterinarian’s office in Miami, Florida.
The caller asked us if we had a black and white Shih Tzu dog in our registry. They had scanned a found dog with a microchip sold to Stolen Horse International in 2009. We sell microchips for pets in our NetPosse Store but it is up to the person purchasing a microchip kit (with pre-paid registration included) to fill out the registration form and send it in so the microchip company will have their pet on file.
Our founder, Debi Metcalfe, was given the contact information for Connie Vasquez of Miami. She had the dog and thank goodness had the foresight to take him to the vet to have him scanned for a microchip. Yes, he did have one! Connie thought that they’d now find the owner’s information right away. However, if the microchip is not registered this does not happen.
Metcalfe was able to determine from her research that this particular microchip was purchased by a breeder. The breeder did not register the microchip with the company, thus there was no record with the microchip company of the owner. The only record for this particular chip was that it was sold to Stolen Horse International. The microchip company gave our information to the caller and that is how we became involved.
Once we received the call we could have informed the caller that we didn’t know the owner either and let it go there. But not us. We do not just sell microchips to just to help fund our victims’ program. We sell them to help horses and pets get a much needed VIN number, to make sure as many as possible find their way home.
We still felt like we could find the owner, or at least do all we could to try. If the microchip had been registered properly, would we be telling you this story now?
Metcalfe felt compelled to dig deeper to find the owner. During the day she made calls to the microchip company and used the AAHA Microchip Look Up Tool to see if the chip had been registered in another registry. Bingo, it had!
A call was made to the first registry where the chip was registered on September 13, 2010. Unfortunately that registry did not keep the records on the dog. Metcalfe was shocked but was still determined to unravel the mystery of the traveling microchip. She found information that the chip had also been registered to another registry on September 24, 2013. This registry did have information and provided her with the information for the last registered owner. Metcalfe thought she had found the key that would bring the dog home.
When the number given was called she found out that the breeder, the original purchaser of the chip, had sold her business to another person. That person did not sell the dog but she was nice and honored Metcalfe’s request to search the records to see where the dog went from there. The dog went to a pet store in Miami which was later determined by Metcalfe to have gone out of business. Another dead end.
Metcalfe was greatly disappointed that the dog was not registered to the owner, but she was not deterred. What if the new owner had never been told there was a microchip? What if they just never took the time to register the dog in their name?
We could have let the wonderful family in Miami fend for themselves in finding the owner, something they had no experience doing. But this was a dog implanted with a microchip we sold. How could we walk away without doing the best we could do for him? We issued a NetPosse Alert after getting the report file by Connie. Now it was time to print those flyers and post them in the community and share the alert in our network. That was on Thursday, June 15th.
Connie and Stolen Horse International had multiple offers from caring people ready to take the dog and give it a home. They both knew that was not good enough yet. This dog had a home. He was clean, happy, well-adjusted and sweet. Not a dog that had been dropped off on the curb.
At 9:41 a.m. Monday morning, June 19th Debi received a much anticipated call from a very excited Connie. She had been called by a man claiming the dog belonged to his brother. She asked all the questions suggested by Metcalfe to determine if a caller was indeed the rightful owner. The caller passed the test! Arrangements were to be made for the owner to reunite with his dog later in the day.
We cannot thank the Vasquez family enough for caring about the dog and for making sure everything was done possible to find his owner. Connie received our NetPosse Alert webpage for the dog by email. Not being a real astute user of the internet she had her husband, sister, daughter, and a friend help her with printing and posting the flyer in the community around the Vizcaya Metrorail station, 3201 SW 1st Avenue in Miami where the dog was found. Since it was raining they even put the flyers in plastic sleeves to protect the information.
The flyer was seen by the friend of the brother. He took the flyer to him. They determined it was Yaquel, the beloved dog of his handicapped brother who had been mourning his loss. A friend had given the dog a bath just before the dog slipped away from his owner, who’d fallen asleep on the porch with Yaquel in his lap.
Connie and her family took Yaquel home in the afternoon and called Metcalfe with an update at 5:25 p.m.
“Debi”, she said, “We have wonderful news. The dog, his name is Yaquel, is with his owner. When we pulled in the driveway the dog would have jumped out of the window if it had been open. We knew we were in the right place.”
“The owner was so happy to see his dog,” she continued. “His disability did not allow him to speak but he was screaming with joy when holding his dog again. His family was there and we were all crying. It was such a wonderful joyful moment. We can never thank you enough for what you did to help us.”
The truth is, Metcalfe was not the only one trying to find Yaquel’s owner. The Vasquez family was a tremendous help in keeping the dog safe and following up with the flyers. The NetPosse networking community did its share too by calling vets, groomers, passing the alert along on social media, etc. This was a joint effort as it always is when we have a missing horse.
“We are so happy to be able to tell this story,” says Metcalfe. “We cannot thank everyone who helped in any way enough. This reunion is shared by all of us! How great does it feel that your act of kindness brought Yaquel back to his owner?”
We are ecstatic about the Yaquel’s reunion but we do not want you to miss how easily this reunion may not have happened. It turns out that in this case the current owner was not told the dog had a microchip. The owner is now, with the help of Metcalfe, going to make sure his microchip is registered with the microchip company.
“We sell microchip kits with the registration for a reason,” Metcalfe says. “The chip has to be registered in the owner’s name or the animal can slip through the cracks, something that very nearly happed in this case.”
Metcalfe already knew that many of the people who purchase microchips from Stolen Horse International’s online NetPosse Store fail to register them with the microchip company. The kit has a microchip and a pre-paid registration included so why is the animal not registered properly? Procrastination? Forgetfulness?
No matter what the reason we encourage anyone reading this who has already purchased a microchip to make sure you get it registered it with the company’s microchip registry. Keep in mind that the company will be called first, and we strongly encourage you to go with a registry where the highest chance of recovery begins.
We also recommend a backup in case something goes wrong like it did in this case. You can pick any secondary registry available today online as a backup, such as the Stolen Horse International’s NetPosse Identification Program (NIP) for additional protection.
Ultimately it is the responsibility of the owner to protect and find their animal. When your animal is part of the Stolen Horse International family, we never give up.
“We like to provide that one in a million chance to any pet so they can have that Wizard of Oz moment seen at the end of the movie,” says Metcalfe. “There truly is no place like home.”
Purchase your microchips from Stolen Horse International and help us continue to help missing horse victims with your purchase. We do not use companies that sell the 900 numbered microchips. All proceeds support our Victim's Service and Educational Outreach projects.