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Guest View: Microchip clinic a true community effort

On April 13, Carlton County Animal Rescue was able to offer a microchip clinic and additional resources in Cloquet's Veterans Park. A pet microchip is roughly the size of a grain of rice which, for dogs and cats, is implanted underneath the animal's skin between the shoulder blades. Many community members were surprised at how quick and easy the experience was, and shared how glad they were that they brought their pets out for this.

Thanks to the partnership with the City of Cloquet and Carlton County, we were able to offer microchipping at no cost to Carlton County residents. Approximately 10 pets from out of the county were also served through this event, at only $20 per pet.

Our volunteers were able to implant and register 150 microchips to more quickly and easily help reunite lost pets with their owners. In addition, we had at least 15-20 individuals who brought pets that were already microchipped. Our team was able to scan the chips and update owner information. A few owners were surprised to find their pets were already microchipped, and others knew they were chipped but didn't know how to update their contact information after a move or change of phone number.

It's estimated that 60 percent or less of microchip information is current. There are some misconceptions about microchips being a GPS tracker, or that anyone can get your personal information if the chip is properly registered, or that there is an annual membership/renewal fee. All pets who were chipped on Saturday had their registration information loaded and live before they left the event, and will have free lifetime registration.

This event was something we knew was very much needed in our community, and we wanted to get something set up as soon as possible this spring. We hope this is the first of many opportunities we can provide. While we work toward fundraising and building capacity, we know space for stray holds is very limited, so the more pets we can help get microchipped, the better it is for the animal, the owner, local law enforcement, and our volunteer team and fosters.

Once we knew we had a solid base of volunteers, we decided to add a table for more information and resources, some pet supplies available for donation, a bake sale, and an adoption event to get some exposure for adoptable pups. Between pet nail trims, the bake sale and other donations, CCAR brought in just over $1,300 in donations.

We greatly appreciate the support of a local leadership group involved with the Cloquet Chamber, which jumped in to help with planning and recruiting volunteers and donations. Throughout the day we had over 50 volunteers participating in some aspect of our event, and it was amazing to see so many people passionate about helping and being a part of this event. We had a small group of volunteers who put in a lot of hours of prep and planning to pull together all the details, and we are so pleased with the turnout of volunteers and people utilizing the service.

Writer Erin Thompson is a Carlton County Animal Rescue board member and volunteer.