TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -It was a letter Mary Jo Rubasch never expected to receive.
“It was stamped urgent.”
Rubasch held up the envelope covered in red stamps that is now torn at the top where she opened it about a month ago.
At first, it wasn’t clear why she was getting urgent news from Pima Animal Care. That is, until she saw the picture on the paper insie.
“I opened the letter and it says is this your pet? And it’s her.” said Rubasch.
The pup on the page now sits next to her on the couch, happily snuggled up to her owner. Understandably so, after she spent 8 years lost in Southern Arizona.
“The door was open and my family walked in and she bolted.”
That was back in 2011. Just five days after Mary Jo adopted her. In the weeks that followed, she’d try her best to find Abby.
“I went down a couple times searching for her and nothing.”
What would bring the two back together now after nearly a decade apart? Something the size of a grain of rice.
"You take the needle, you open it up, and slip it between their shoulder blades and that’s that.” explains Nikki Reck with PACC.
Believe it or not, Abby’s microchip was still good after all this time.
"It’s everything to get them back to their loving owners and when you see it happen it’s really exciting.” said Reck.
Just having your furry friend micro-chipped isn’t enough. You need to make sure your phone number is continuously update. Otherwise, they’re basically useless.
"We can’t tell you how many times people will scan it at a vet, they’ll find a stray and have it scanned and they can’t get a hold of the person because the number is disconnected or it doesn’t work.” said Reck.
That tiny device—responsible for a reunion that may not have happened.
"It’s so important to have a micro chip. There’s no reason not to.” said Rubasch.
And the years, melting away now that this family is whole once again.
Looking to microchip your pet for free?
Leading into the Fourth of July, Pima Animal Care Center will be hosting a free microchip clinic June 16 through July 3 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the shelter, 4000 N. Silverbell Road.
PACC is holding this event in the covered overflow parking lot next to the shelter. During the drive-through clinic, dogs should still be on leashes, and cats should be in carriers.
Owners who need to update their pet’s license can get assistance inside the main shelter building. To get the license, pet owners need to bring proof of a current rabies vaccine. The standard licensing fee for an altered dog is $19.
June is National Microchipping Month. According to the American Kennel Club, one in three pets will become lost at some point in their lives. In honor of National Microchipping Month, PACC will hold several FREE microchip and vaccine clinics on the southside and eastside of Pima County over the summer. A licensed veterinarian will be administering the vaccines. The next event will be held on June 22 from 8 a.m. to noon at San Miguel High School, 6601 San Fernando Ave. Keep up with clinic offerings by following the “events” section of PACC’s Facebook page.
Last year, the shelter licensed 80,687 pets and provided a total of 2,650 free microchips to Pima County residents at 100 outreach events. The outreach is part of the shelter’s ongoing efforts to support pet ownership in the community. PACC also recently re-designed its homepage to be easier to navigate, including a map of found pets.