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Pet Patter - Catrina Skepper's Blog

Amazing stories and happy endings

Posted on: 2/9/2010 9:55:38 AM under Catrina Skepper
Some of you may have read, in one of my earlier news articles, about the adventures of the little lost dog, Baltic, who was found out at sea by a crew of scientists. Well, I have got some fantastic news for you; Baltic has now been adopted by one of the ship's crew members, Adam Buczynski.

After an appeal went out for Baltic's owner, six people came forward but sadly he rejected them all. Adam decided enough was enough and that he would adopt the brave little dog. I wish them both lots of happiness in their new life together.

Having a pet go missing must be a terrible ordeal. I can't image how I would feel if I lost Toffee. Statistics from the RSPCA show that animals going missing in the UK is a very real problem with around 250,000 cats and dogs disappearing each year.
So what can we do to help protect our pets without infringing on the freedom which they so dearly love?

Well, there are a range of options available to us and one of the easiest is a simple tag, which is actually a legal requirement for dog owners and highly recommended for cats too, although I know some cats can be a tad difficult with things like this.
The tags are often disc shaped and contain information such as the pet's name and the owner's contact details. I think as a temporary measure this is a good idea, but when I have been chatting to friends we have often thought that perhaps too much private information is stored on the tag. A great way of getting around this issue is by registering your pet on the National Pet Database, where you will be given a unique identification number to put on your tag. The service is absolutely free and should your cat or dog go missing you can easily list an image of your beloved pet and their details on the very extensive website.

An alternative that gets my vote is having a microchip fitted. They are a great invention and since their launch, in 1995, they have become increasingly popular with pet owners. My pet insurance company, Pet Protect runs a microchip service, which works alongside a lost pet recovery scheme.  Once your pet is microchipped, it will have an individual identification number and you will be sent a free collar tag with the ID and a reunification telephone number. Should the worst happen, Pet Protect will even help with the cost of finding lost or stolen animals.

Toffee is the proud owner of her very own microchip and I am pleased to say that it was a really easy process, with the chip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, being placed by injection into the animal's neck. And microchipping isn't only for cats and dogs, as records show that ferrets, birds, tortoises and even an elephant have all been chipped.

Owning a pet is a wonderful privilege but as with anything we must make sure that we take the correct precautions to keep our precious friends safe and sound.

One great little story I heard about recently was that of Sandi, a cat, from Portsmouth. He had a very exciting journey, all the way to Spain after unwittingly wandering on to a ferry that was travelling to the port at Bilbao. Once he arrived at the sunny destination, some three days later, he was spotted and checked for a microchip, which thankfully, was present. Tim Austin, Sandi's owner told the Daily Mail: "The microchip was definitely the key to Sandi's return; we believe that he may have been put down otherwise."

Brian Rees, a spokesman for P&O said: "Sandi's return journey was VIP all the way as he dined on chicken and salmon in his very own cabin."

What a wonderful story and I am sure you will agree that Sandi is certainly a very lucky cat!

I love hearing your feedback about Pet Patter, and your animal tales, so please get in touch, I’m on Facebook and Twitter.

Also, don't forget to catch up on my celebrity chat series, with Cheryl Baker and Janet Ellis.

Bye for now,
Catrina and Toffee

Image: Maciej Czoska/Associated Press