(29) Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone? Microchipping your service dog

Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A blog about a service dog and her veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the veteran and the family caregiver)


Do you remember the children’s song, Where, Oh Where Has my Little Dog Gone? It continues, ”With his ears cut short and his tail cut long; Where, oh where can he be?” The owner looks for him at a construction site where last seen near a bulldozer. No good news follows, as the song ends with the same refrain of “Where, oh where can he be.”

The dog likely would not be lost if he shouldered a microchip.

Septimus Winner wrote the song in 1864 under the name Alice Hawthorne. Written in Germany, the song, Der Deitcher’s Dog, became a popular nursery rhyme, which most of us know. Given the early date of the song’s origin, of course, microchipping did not exist so the poor dog remains forever lost.

Microchipping arrived in the US around 1985 with three different manufacturers. Unfortunately, no standard existed during the development of the technology so there is no guaranty that the place where a dog encounters capture will be able to read the microchip or even know that the dog carries a microchip.

With the value of a service dog, microchipping remains the most reliable way to make sure your dog returns to you if lost. Can there be any objection to microchipping a service dog? Although there have been cases of tumors developing in lab rats and rabbits from microchips embedded under the skin, those cases remain limited. The chip does not cause irritation and can be placed without the need for anesthesia. Once the veterinarian inserts the chip, you must register your dog’s chip with a registry such as HomeAgain, RegisterMicrochip, petkey, Free Pet Microchip Registry, or AKC Reunite. A bundle of registration companies exist with varying prices and services available.

Our instructions when receiving Molly included a veterinarian trip to insert a microchip. Fearing the cost that added up before we purchased health insurance, the microchip topped the list of must-dos at a cost of $60 to insert. The vet first checked to see if Molly carried a chip. Fortunately for us, Molly already had the chip. I registered her that day on-line for a small fee ($12). The company sent us a dog tag with her microchip number and our contact information.

Not used to wearing a collar and tags, Molly discarded the special dog tag on her first trip outside so I paid another fee for a second tag, which William made sure would stay affixed to her collar.

We tell Molly how pretty she looks with her necklace collar that now hosts four tags that jangle when she moves. (That’s how we know if she is scratching–unless she turns the collar so the tags rest on the top of her head before scratching.)

Not convinced about microchipping?

WebMD stated that eight million animals find their way to pet shelters every year. Only 15 to 20 percent of dogs reunite with their families. The chance for a reunited pet escalates with a microchip. (Click here for frequently asked questions about microchipping.)

In an article from Scientific America, the writer shares a story about a cat reunited with his family 13 years after reported missing. The cat found his way home via a pet shelter thanks to one of the first microchips used in the US. Of course, waiting 13 years to be reunited with your service dog would be tragic since the longevity of dogs is shorter than their feline friends. Nonetheless, bring that doggie home.

Without microchipping and registration, your dog may be lost forever—just like the German dog in the nursery rhyme.


Source for the song, “Where Oh, Where Has my Little Dog Gone?” is Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septimus_Winner.

Source for microchipping animals and picture of microchip is Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microchip_implant_(animal)

Source for microchipping FAQs is from http://pets.webmd.com/features/microchipping-your-dog-or-cat

Post your Comments:

Have you ever recovered a pet through a microchip; how far did your animal roam? Please comment below.

About the blogger

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her husband, William, and dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.