Photo Information

Army Capt. Genevieve Vega, branch chief, Veterinary Services, Naval Hospital, Camp Lejeune, scans the tracking chip implanted in her dog Mya with the HomeAgain scanner.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Drew W. Barker

Microchip technology helps lost pets find their way home

14 Jul 2005 | Lance Cpl. Drew W. Barker

“Where could he have gone?”
“How could I let this happen?”
These are questions asked all too often by owners of missing pets.

Losing a pet can be a disheartening experience for a person, and is often accompanied by feelings of guilt, confusion, helplessness and sorrow. A part of the family is lost and there is little that can be done, until now that is…

New technology has created the possibility of permanent pet identification that can help in the recognition and return of lost pets, according to Army Capt. Genevieve Vega, branch chief, Veterinary Services, Naval Hospital, Camp Lejeune.

HomeAgain Pet Recovery Service has developed an advanced pet identification and retrieval system in the form of a microchip the size of a grain of rice.

A microchip, which holds a unique 10-digit identification code, is implanted between the shoulder blades of the pet, just under the skin. The pet owner is then responsible for enrolling his pet with the HomeAgain Pet Recovery Service, which maintains a national database and is available 24-hours-a-day, 365 days a year, according to

When a lost pet is found, its microchip can be scanned at most animal shelters or the clinic of a participating veterinarian, using a special hand-held scanner, similar to those used in supermarkets.  When the identification number is recovered, it can be called into HomeAgain (1-866-PET-ID24), and the pet owner is notified immediately, according to the Web site.

“It’s so important to have if your pet gets loose and runs off, or is lost in an emergency like a hurricane,” said Vega. “You have a much greater chance of being reunited with them if they have the microchip”

Implanting the chip, which can be done at most veterinary hospitals for approximately $80 or at the base veterinary clinic for $17.50, is recommended at the same time as the animal’s first rabies vaccine, but can be done at any age, according to Jillanna Strong, receptionist for Veterinary Services.

The base veterinary clinic is planning on holding a workshop where military personnel can come and have microchips implanted in their pets for a reduced price of $17.00 behind the Marine Corps Exchange Annex, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., July 16.

Enduring the pain of loosing a loved one is one of life’s greatest challenges, even in regards to animal companions.  The HomeAgain microchip presents pet owners with the opportunity to help prevent future sadness and loss.

“The chip is a great idea,” said Vega. “It ties you and your pet together forever.”