I received a lot of feedback about my recent blog “False Confidence about Microchipping a Pet” which pointed out some of the pitfalls about micro-chipping your dog or cat, not the least of which is that most people haven’t registered that microchip properly. In the process I learned about a free national micro chip registry called Michelson’s Found Animals. This week on DOG TALK (and Kitties, Too!) I interviewed Aimee Gilbreath, the Executive Director of this animal welfare foundation, and I learned the valuable service they were providing to all of our pets. I immediately signed up both Maisie and Wanda – the website makes it super simple. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that if I was so be separated from them (heaven forbid) that a microchip scanner would tell anyone who and where I am to reclaim them.
Think how many cats are lost every year – kitties slip out of their homes, without collars or tags, and are taken in by other people or by a shelter that cannot find the rightful owner because the cat doesn’t have a microchip or it hasn’t been properly registered. Michelson’s Found Animals fills a special niche in rescue because it seeks to remove from shelters those animals whose owners would reclaim them, if only they could be found. Michelson’s Found Animals identified microchipping and registry as an obvious, simple and overlooked aspect of how to reduce pets in shelters: you could reunite those pets with their heart-broken families, if only those pets were micro-chipped and the information was stored in a national database.
Based in Los Angeles, Michelson’s Found Animals was founded by the philanthropist Dr. Gary Michelson (a retired human surgeon whose specialty was spinal surgery, for which he received hundreds of patents) who clearly wanted to make a difference in animal welfare. Beyond providing surrender prevention programs and education, low cost microchips and scanners for shelters, no cost spay and neuter services to low income households and the no-fee microchip registry for everyone, Dr. Michelson thinks way outside the box, as I learned on Wikipedia:
“Found Animals provides a kitten foster program which saved more than 1,000 kittens in 2015 and the Saving Pets Challenge which raised $1 Million for animal welfare organizations nationwide. In 2008, Michelson’s Found Animals foundation launched the Michelson Prize and Grants in Reproductive Biology an international competition with a 25 million dollar prize that represents a unique experiment in innovation aimed at solving the problem of pet overpopulation. His goal is to encourage researchers from a wide variety of scientific fields to take on the challenge of non-surgical pet sterilization. Recognizing that interested parties may not have access to funds the research and testing would require, also offered is the companion Michelson Grants in Reproductive Biology that will provide up to $50 million in funding for promising research. The Michelson Prize seeks to make sterilization accessible and affordable worldwide and aid developing countries where this problem is even greater.”
It is therefore with pleasure and pride that I can say that Michelson’s Found Animals will be the beneficiary of the Pooch Party August 4th at the boutique Only in Beverly Hills, celebrating the 2nd Annual Dog Film Festival’s return to Los Angeles on August 5th.
Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.
Tracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.
Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.