Photo Credit: DJ Becker / The Madera Tribune Kirsten Gross, director of Madera County Animal Services uses a hand scanner to check a lost dog for micro chip identification recently at the shelter. The dog, named Seymour, was found to be registered to an active duty soldier in Texas, who was looking for him.
(The Madera Tribune – DJ Becker) A dog found running loose in north Madera County has been identified through a micro chip as belonging to a soldier stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, near El Paso.
The dog’s owner, infantry Specialist E4 Ryan Rivera, 22, would like to have the dog back – no questions asked.
The white, wire haired, 40 pound neutered terrier named Seymour, was recently brought into and scanned at the Madera County Animal Shelter, where the micro chip and the name and phone number of Rivera came to light.
Seymour was dirty, sore and full of stickers, but otherwise in good condition according to officers.
The Friends of the Madera Animal Shelter volunteers are hoping to raise enough money to fly or get the dog home to his active duty owner. The dog has been placed in a local foster home until he can be reunited with Rivera.
Rivera said his mother was caring for the dog when he was on local training deployments at Fort Bliss, Texas.
“I adopted Seymour from an animal shelter about a year ago. They said he came from a pet store that had closed. When my mom became ill and she couldn’t take care of him. She wasn’t doing too well with the chemo and I was spending time with her, and in the field. She had placed Seymour with a family in the neighborhood while I was out in the field,” Rivera said.
Rivera said he didn’t know the family looking after Seymour, and they moved away before he could cope with his mother’s illness and contact them, to try and reclaim the dog.
“I had also gotten a couple other calls from the micro chip company about Seymour being found loose at another location or two (in Texas), and I was wondering what was going on with that. But I guess the family found him somehow and got him back,” he said.
Rivera said he wasn’t sure how much the airfare would be but estimated it was was somewhere between $200 and $375 dollars, possibly more to fly the dog home. He said was trying to save up the money but had other bills to pay.
Just over 1,000 miles separate Madera from El Paso, Texas but Rivera said he had thought about getting in his car and driving non-stop to pick up Seymour.
“I wish I could just get in my car and drive up and get him, but it’s kind of far for a weekend trip. I would really appreciate any help to get him home to me,”
Rivera said he was returning to his hometown in Georgia at the end of his enlistment term in early December, but was planning on staying in the Army Reserves.
“My mom is better now. I am hoping to go home and go to college when I get out. I really love and miss him. I was really sad he was gone, and I want to take him back home with me now,” Rivera said.
Animal Control officer Cindy Avila said micro chips have greatly increased the rates of return for lost pets, especially for those coming into animal shelters.
“It saves their life. And it really helps us locate their owners – if their info is kept up to date. We find quite a few animals with them now,” Avila said.
She said the shelter has previously found animals missing from other states but Seymour, from Texas, may be the farthest.
Avila said the Pet Watch micro chipping service is available to the public for dogs and cats at the animal shelter during regular business hours for $20 as long as the Rabies vaccination and dog licensing was current. Avila suggested pet owners call first to avoid furlough closure days or a long wait due to high customer traffic times at the shelter.
The micro chip is tiny – the size of a grain of rice, Avila said, and is inserted under the skin of a dog, cat or other animal and provides a permanent identification number. The hand scanner displays the ID number registered to the animal and a phone call to the micro chip company reveals the name, address and phone number of the owner.
Donations to help reunite Seymour with his owner can be dropped off at the animal shelter at 14269 Road 28, or mailed to The Friends of the Madera Animal Shelter at P.O. Box 923, Madera, CA 93639.
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