We came close to losing a beloved member of our family recently. My stepdaughter’s indoor cat, Healey, made a run for it one night, when ­Shannon opened the door. She spent days looking for Healey…posted his photo on social media…contacted local animal shelters…and enlisted the help of family and friends to find him. She was devastated.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. After nine very cold days and nights, Healey was found under a deck about 30 yards from Shannon’s front door. He was cold and hungry but otherwise given a clean bill of health by the veterinarian. After their joyous reunion and some serious spoiling, Healey has been grounded, of course.

The question is, how does Shannon prevent this from happening again? I am not sure that she can stop Healey from trying to slip out—he is pretty tricky. But if it does happen, one thing may help her find him. A microchip—a small chip implanted under the cat’s skin with a unique ID number that identifies the cat’s owner and information. Veterinarians, shelters and animal-control officers have microchip scanners, improving the chances that a lost cat—or dog—will be reunited with the beloved owner.

I urge you to protect your own pet with a painless microchip, available from HomeAgain, AKCReunite, PetLink and other companies. Beyond the implantation fee, the chips are free, unless you choose a membership plan that has additional features and benefits. One thing to keep in mindthese chips don’t have GPS, so they can’t track your pet…they can only identify the owner.

The best plan, of course, is to keep your pets safe and secure. But a little backup doesn’t hurt.

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