Imagine losing your beloved pet, not knowing whether they are alive and safe. This happened to one Frisco, Texas family when their beloved German Shepherd, Dora, jumped the family’s fence one July 4th in 2012. Dora got spooked during the sound of fireworks in her neighborhood and ran off to presumably find a safe space from the unfamiliar and scary sounds. Unfortunately, after Dora jumped that fence, she could not find her way back home. So, began a 7-month heart wrenching journey for Dora’s family and more than likely, for Dora herself.

July 4th is a time for celebration for many of us-that day of the year is also when more pets are lost, injured, or killed than any other day of the year. Many pet owners do not realize the extent of how much their pets can suffer during the sound of fireworks or gunshots during July 4th celebrations. There are many people and pets who suffer from sensory issues and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) these episodes are triggered by loud noises and sounds like fireworks or gunshots. After Dora’ disappearance, her family spent a week’s long, heartbreaking search for her. When those weeks turned into months-it was safe to presume that Dora was gone forever.

Then one day, 7 months later, they received a phone call from Collin County Animal Shelter that Dora had been found. You see, Dora’s family had her microchipped. A microchip is a small implant placed under the skin of your pet as a means of identification. Dora’s microchip included her family’s contact information which prompted the phone call from the animal shelter. This may have saved their dog’s life! Dora had been found in McKinney, Texas which is some 20 miles away from her family’s home in Frisco. The sweet reunion was captured on video by some of the staff at CCAS. You can see in the video that Dora and her owner were at first a bit nervous when he first arrived to reclaim her. In the video, you see her cautiously give her owner’s hands a sniff. Dora then sits down near her owner and lets him stroke her face. Soon after, they lock eyes and just like that, the man was reunited with his best friend. Microchips are responsible for 15-20% of dogs that become strays being found and reclaimed by their owners.

While this North Texas family’s story ended up being a happy one, Dora’s story is also a cautionary tale for pet owners. There are two especially important lessons in this story. First, keep your pets safe during high stress holidays and events such as July 4th celebrations. The loud noises and activity can be traumatic for your pet. This can trigger your pet to run away to find somewhere else to feel safe. Many pets or lost, injured, or killed this way. Secondly, it is particularly important to microchip your pet. Microchips are responsible for 15-20% of dogs that become strays being found and reclaimed by their owners. Dora and her family got to have a happy ending many other pets and their families are not so lucky.