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Microchip helps reunite long lost husky to owner

Shelters ask pet owners to consider the simple step of microchipping to help send strays back into the homes they belong.

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Jadie Saliaris awaits a kiss from her pet husky Jara, who had been missing the last year and a half. While Saliaris is from Little Falls, Jara was found about 50 miles away in Hewitt, Minn.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal
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WADENA — Jadie Saliaris, of Little Falls, Minn., doesn't know what her dog's past looks like, but she knows exactly what's in store for her future now that her pet husky, Jara, is back in her life.

Handing out ear scratches, puppy kisses and generally treating her pup like a princess are in full order. While Jara went missing in Little Falls, another dog owner found her on their property in Hewitt, Minn., some 50 miles away – and a year and a half later.

Jara was brought to the Wadena County Humane Society in Wadena, where they located her microchip. Once the microchip was scanned, Saliaris was immediately notified but had her doubts that Jara had indeed been found.
"I was like this isn't real," Saliaris said in unbelief at the alert on her phone.

The footings for an addition were in place prior to recent cold and snow took over the region.

She quickly emailed the humane society on June 5 and had confirmation on Monday, June 6, that they had her pet, safe and sound.

The reunion of the pet and owner was sweet as the two gushed over each other – hugs and kisses all around. The humane society staff were glad to bring the two back together and even sent the two home with some free dog food and toys to add to the joyous occasion.

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Jara, a young husky, looks out the window at the Wadena County Humane Society on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, in Wadena.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal

“She’s the daughter I never had but actually wanted,” Saliaris said of Jara while holding back tears in the shelter’s front entry. "This crushed me," she said of losing her from her home.
Saliaris has her suspicions that someone took the dog from her property and based on her condition it seems she was cared for, if not perhaps a bit on the skinny side. She appeared in great health, according to shelter director Julie Lovin. But if not for the microchip implanted in Jara, and with such a distance from home, it’s likely the two would have never seen each other again.

A third of all cat and dog pets are lost in their lifetime, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Other impressive statistics are that a microchipped dog is more than twice as likely to be returned to their owners and cats are more than 20 times more likely to be returned.
“It’s important to get them microchipped but it’s even more important to get them registered and a lot of people forget that last element,” Wadena County Humane Society office manager Sheila Helland said. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that about 40% of microchipped dogs are not registered.

The microchip is only useful if the owner takes the time to also register and update their contact information with the microchip. Otherwise the only one who gets notified is the shelter, vet or pet store that placed the microchip. And with some pets changing owners faster than two shakes of a lab's tail, it’s important to continue to update with each new owner or address.

What better time than now to get a pet microchipped as June is national microchipping month. Every pet that passes through the care of the Wadena County Humane Society gets a microchip, according to Helland. It comes at a cost between $25-$70 to microchip your pet, according to the Animal Humane Society. That varies by location.

A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is encoded with a unique ID number that is assigned to a pet. No two microchips have the same ID number, according to AKC Reunite, one of many pet microchip companies.

The microchip is placed between the pet’s shoulder blades under a veterinarian’s supervision.

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Sheila Helland, office manager at Wadena County Humane Society, smiles while watching Jadie Saliaris and her dog, Jara, reunite on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, in Wadena.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal

Implantation is similar to a vaccine injection and can be performed during a regular veterinary check-up visit. Once implanted, the microchip does not have any personal information associated with it. The microchip must be enrolled to link the pet’s profile and your contact information.

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When a microchipped pet isn’t returned home, it’s usually due to incorrect or missing owner information in the microchip registry. Registration or transfer requirements vary by company. You can ask whoever placed the microchip for registration information or go online and search out the registration information there. At the Wadena County Humane Society, they use a chip that offers a lifetime membership for under $20.

The Wadena County Humane Society has had 242 pet intakes for 2022. Many times a stray comes in without a microchip. Other times there are microchips but no one is registered to the pet. This rare reunion where all the stars aligned, allowed for smiles and laughs all around.
"This is just unbelievable," Saliaris said of the reunion with her pup.
Lucky for Jara, she's back at home and reinstalled as princess of the palace.

He's a writer, editor, photographer, truth seeker and promoter of the Wadena area.
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