Dog microchip event gives pet owners a chance at reunions with lost animals

Putting up a lost dog poster is unsettling and can be heartbreaking, but getting reunited with your furry friend is possible. Dog and cat microchips are making those reunions more frequent. The Humane Animal Treatment Society (HATS) in Mt. Pleasant hosted a free dog microchip event in partnership with Krapohl Ford & Lincoln on December 18. The car dealership donated $1,000 to cover the costs of 100 microchips for local residents’ furry friends. 

HATS microchip event at Krapohl Ford & Lincoln on Dec. 18. Photo courtesy Jim Knight.

HATS is Isabella County’s only non-profit animal shelter, providing health care, shelter and hope for hundreds of homeless and lost cats and dogs every year. The 501(c)(3) is independently owned and operated, and relies on donations, community support, and grant funds to fulfill its lifesaving services for animals in their time of need. HATS provides safe shelter and daily care, routine and emergency medical care, lost and found services, adoption services, foster care programs, low-cost spay and neuter services, and more. Last year, they reunited 154 pets with their owners.

Amanda Tillotson is the executive director of HATS, and shares that they host a few walk-in vaccine and microchip clinics each year. This was the first year they hosted an event at Krapohl Ford & Lincoln, she says.

“Krapohl Ford & Lincoln is one of our community partners, so every year we find a few ways to work together,” Tillotson says. “This holiday season, we decided that it would be helpful for our community to try to microchip as many dogs as possible. We have really been seeing an increase in dog intakes this year—particularly stray dogs with no identification. We really wanted to get as many animals chipped as possible.”

HATS microchip event at Krapohl Ford & Lincoln on Dec. 18. Photo courtesy Jim Knight.
Microchips can be gently implanted into both cats and dogs, using a simple procedure.

“All of the animals that are adopted out here at HATS are with a microchip,” Tillotson says. “It is about the size of a grain of rice, implanted with a large needle, just under their skin, in between their shoulder blades. It’s something you can do fairly quickly without any anesthetics.”

This form of identification is permanent—unlike tags and collars that can fall off. Each microchip has a unique code to it, registered with the owner’s information. Handheld scanners at vet offices, humane societies, and shelters can scan the chip and get in contact with the owners. If neighbors find a stray dog with a tag indicating the animal is microchipped, they can call the 1-800-phone number or look up the owner’s contact information online.

“Microchipping costs can range greatly,” Tillotson shares. “Most humane societies and shelters offer the service for free or up to about $25 or so. At a vet office, it can run upwards of closer to $50 or more. They don’t require any further fees either.”

In the past, HATS has hosted walk-in clinics at Soldan’s Pet Supplies (now Feeders) and the William & Janet Strickler Nonprofit Center. Tillotson says this event at the car dealership location ran smoothly.

HATS microchip event at Krapohl Ford & Lincoln on Dec. 18. Photo courtesy Jim Knight.
“We had a nice warm spot for everybody, set up in one of Kraphol’s garages,” she says. “We saw around 30 dogs, so the turnout was a little less than we anticipated—possibly due to weather. The remaining microchips will be distributed to the community members at a future walk-in clinic, announced at a later date.”

Shelters and humane societies recommend all cats and dogs get microchipped to ensure there isn’t overcrowding in their spaces. Tillotson says there are really no downsides to microchips. 

“If somebody is hesitant, it’s usually for one of two reasons: they think the procedure is going to hurt their animal, or that it’s more costly than it is,” she says. “It’s really a simple procedure—it’s like a quick shot. It’s very fast, and the animal will not suffer from that process. It can be really affordable, especially if you watch for events like this.”

A common misconception is that a microchip acts as a GPS tracking device. Although it does have a radio frequency to it, it does not track where the animal is or moving to at any time. 

“Microchips are your pet’s best chance at a fast reunion home if they do get lost and end up in a shelter,” Tillotson says. “We see so many animals with no collars, no tags, and no microchips. Many of those animals do not get reclaimed. A microchip is your pet’s lifeline back home, and it really helps shelters with overcrowding too. I really don’t see any downside to microchips—they’re fast, affordable, and there’s really no reason not to.”
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Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at