With hundreds of miles between him and his home, Murray, a lost dog from Victoria BC, wandered near a gas station on Route 66 in Northern California.
He snuck himself out the backseat of the family van during a road trip, and when he looked back, the van was gone. His family didn’t notice he was missing.
Too often, this is the end of the story for dogs like Murray. Losing your dog in the middle of a cross country road trip is a little like losing your keys out the side of an airplane – you can retrace the route, but there’s no guarantee you’ll ever see them again.
For Murray though, he had a ticket home.
Every January, the City of Victoria registers over 6,500 dog licences. For hundreds of lost dogs and puppies, they are a ticket back home to their families, but as it turns out, these little tags connect more than just dogs and owners. The City’s dog licence tags have been known to connect lost people with their homes and lost keys with their owners.
Just last week, Animal Control received a call from the Victoria Police Department saying they were working with a disoriented 80-year old woman who had gone for a walk with her dog, but couldn’t remember where she lived. Fortunately, her dog was wearing a City of Victoria dog licence tag. Animal Control was able cross-reference the tag with their records to find the woman’s home address so she could be delivered safely back home.
Even expired dog tags can come in handy sometimes. We were able to find the owner of a lost set of keys because someone noticed an expired dog tag on the key ring and called Animal Control to report what they had found.
On top of getting dogs (and people, and keys) home safe, dog licences are used to fund programs and services for dogs. The licencing fees offset the costs of operating Animal Control, pound services, shelters for lost and injured animals, and even dog waste bags in City of Victoria parks. So, although up-to-date dog licencing is mandatory for all dogs, the benefits outweigh the costs. And, for Murray, it was his dog licence tag that reunited him with his family.
A man traveling up Route 66 spotted Murray, saw his tag and phoned the City of Victoria’s Animal Control Services. We searched our database and called the owners on the other line. They were about 10 miles up the highway when we phoned and coordinated a place for the two parties to meet.
Even 1,400 kilometers from home in Northern California, Murray’s dog licence brought him back to his family.
To find out more about dog licencing in Victoria and where you can register your dog, click here.
PS – take a look at the most popular dog breeds by neighbourhood: