Jake's home at last, thanks to microchip

One of the pictures taken by the DiCiccos when they were searching for Jake's owners.
Photo courtesy of Teo & Jeanine DiCicco.

lost pets by Karen Diefendorf
Jake was lost. The black Labrador retriever was obviously in trouble. He was sighted the night of Nov. 5 running back and forth across Bothell Way in the dark.
    Fortunately for Jake, he met Teo DeCicco outside of his restaurant, Teo's Mia Roma in Kenmore. The friendly dog made a good choice when he made the acquaintance of the restaurant owner.
    Teo took the young dog home to his wife, Jeanine, with whom Jake was also an instant hit. Besides being "friendly and very well mannered, Jake was a carbon copy of a dog we lost six years ago," Jeanine said.
    The DiCiccos worked hard to find Jake's owners and posted his picture and "found" posters in the area. They finally ended up at Hooterville Safehaus in Woodinville.
    The staff at Hooterville scanned the dog and determined that he had an identifying microchip. But because the battery at the shelter was low, they were unable to read the chip, so the three were sent to the Woodinville Veterinary Hospital to have the dog scanned.
    When veterinarian Dr. Anita Lorenzen used the scanner on Jake, she found the number on the chip, and after calling the registering agency in California, they had the name and phone number of Jake's owners.
    After that, it took only 1 1/2 hours to reunite Jake with Sydney Phelps and Andrew Barneburg of West Seattle.
    The couple had not seen Jake since last Easter, when the dog ran away at the same time Phelps was involved in a traffic accident in Spokane.
    By the time the DiCiccos found Jake and began advertising to find his owners, Phelps and Barneburg had given up hope and were no longer checking the found notices in the papers.
    Fortunately, Jake had also left home last February, and Phelps and Barneburg located him at a Seattle Animal Control shelter, where no pet is allowed to leave without being microchipped.
    And because of that tiny chip, which was painlessly inserted by means of a hypodermic needle, the year-and-a-half old Jake was reunited with his family after six months.
    Microchips for pets are an especially valuable form of identification because they are permanent means of identification which, unlike a collar, cannot be lost or tampered with. The chips have been used to identify cats, horses, birds, and even reptiles, as well as dogs.
    Lorenzen, like many other area veterinarians and the animal control shelters, uses the AVID Microchip. The injection of the chip is just like any other injection or vaccination and does not hurt the animal, she said, but it could be a lifesaver, as it was in Jake's case.
    Cost of having the chip inserted and to have the information registered is approximately $35, but reduced-cost clinics are available at times.