Thursday, October 2, 2008

All Chipped Up and Nowhere to Go

Achilles gets comfy with a George Bush chew toy while he considers immigration policy

As you may know our dog, Achilles, is a refugee to these shores - he was born in Cyprus and brought to the U.S. with his former owners. When we adopted him last year we went down to register him, and learned that the City of Oakland requires all dogs to be microchipped - where they inject a tiny chip with the owner's contact info under the dog's skin. That way, if a the dog is ever found, Animal Control people just run a scanner over the dog's back to get all the details on where to return him.

Achilles' first owners assured us that they'd 'chipped him in Cyprus so we were all set, just needed to switch the owner info with the company who manufactured the chip. But when we took him for his first checkup at Montclair Vet Hospital last year, the scanner that they had couldn't read the chip at all - the scanner just said "ISO CHIP." Because the chip was a European model it was incompatible with the American scanner, the same model scanner used by Animal Control and everyone else.

Frankly, I let it slide for a year - I put all our info on a dogtag rather than consider putting a second chip under his poor skin. (We also realized over time that our dog will never willingly run away. When he gets out some open door, we always find him sitting right on the front porch barking politely to let us know he's readyto come back inside. After all, the food dish and the chewy Webkinz live here.)

Fast forward to yesterday's annual checkup for Achilles - I was all set to have them insert a second, American chip. But lo and behold - the scanner company has upgraded and now reads European chips. Up popped Achilles' number and a few phone calls and an $18 "registration fee" later, our dog will now be returned to Oakland, not Cyprus, if he is ever found. I'm keeping the dogtags though - like all critical information, I figure it's better to communicate it in a couple of different formats to maximize the chances of it being used!


  1. How interesting that a dog can benefit from a software upgrade. What will they think of next. Wonder what happens when the Vista version comes out?

  2. seriously, this guy was spared thanks to global standards convergence. (And so was my wallet.)


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