Christine Fischer and Riley

Christine Fisher and her dog Riley. Riley was found quickly after she got out because she had a microchip that could be scanned easily.

Submitted photo

While packing up the car for an Easter weekend away the last thing Christine Fisher wanted to hear was that the family’s Wheaten Terrier, Riley, had gotten out of the backyard and was missing.

In a panic, the Ahwatukee Foothills family began driving around the neighborhood searching and calling out for the dog. They were so busy searching they actually missed the call from a 1-800 number. That number, it turns out, was the microchip company telling them Riley had been found and was safe.

When the family slowed down their panic they realized that within 30 minutes of the dog going missing she had been found, her microchip scanned and the microchip company had called and text Fisher with the location where they could pick up their dog. Now, the family is grateful they took the time to get their dog microchipped.

Dr. Jeff Jenkins of Ahwatukee Animal Hospital was actually the one to find Riley. He spotted the dog dodging traffic on Ray Road and stopped to pick her up. Within minutes of getting into work he was able to scan the dog’s microchip and locate her owner.

“Here’s a case where a dog was found thanks to the microchip,” Jenkins said. “We’ve had two other dogs that came in this week and they weren’t microchipped so we had no idea who owns them.”

Microchips, which are about the size of a grain of rice and are injected into the dog’s skin, have been growing in popularity and the cost to have one installed is usually less than $50. Jenkins said most veterinary offices and shelters now have scanners that make it easy to look up information on a dog’s owner. It’s much more reliable than the old-fashioned dog tags that can be broken or lost.

“It’s a simple procedure, just about any veterinarian can do it,” Jenkins said. “It’s permanent. If the dog is ever lost or stolen it’s a way of proving it is your dog. You could tattoo your dog, I suppose, but microchipping is much easier and so simple. Everyone checks for microchips now, so it works pretty effectively.”

Jenkins estimates that even with how easy it is to microchip dogs about one-third of dogs that are brought to him are not microchipped, and others have microchips that do not have updated information. To make sure your dog’s microchip information is up to date you first have to know what kind of microchip your dog has. Each vet or shelter installing the chip should be able to tell you what kind of chip it is and where to go online or by phone to change information. To look up your dog, visit and enter the number on their chip. Jenkins suggests always checking to make sure your dog’s information is correct.

For the Fisher family, having a good microchip really paid off.

“She’s a puppy, she was lost and didn’t know to stay out of the street,” Fisher said. “It all happened so fast. We were able to get that call, pick her up, and get on the road. It was such a relief. Having that microchip was just awesome.”

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