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Jessica Hamill and “Cindie,” an orange tabby waiting for a furever home at MHS

Tails of Marin: You never know when – or where – your lost pet may turn up
by Jessica Hamill
Posted: 06/12/2009 08:33:46 PM PDT

After working as a customer care representative at the Marin Humane Society for five years, I’ve grown accustomed to dealing with a range of emotions on the job. At times I find myself overwhelmed with excitement, especially when an anxious pet owner is reunited with his or her companion animal. It’s not unusual over the course of the same day that I’ll have an extraordinarily sad and emotional encounter with a grieving pet guardian. However, the good always outweighs the bad and I am lucky to meet so many interesting people along the way.

On a recent evening, after a particularly turbulent few days, a woman brought in a stray cat that she found in Novato. The neutered orange tabby was sporting an ID tag: its name was “T.K.” and its address indicated that it lived in San Rafael. After spotting T.K hanging around her house for a few days, she brought it to the Marin Humane Society to scan for a microchip. I didn’t immediately find a chip, but the name and address on the tag sounded really familiar.

I instinctively reached for the “Lost Male Cats” reference book on the counter, which was being used by a woman who was in the middle of filing a lost report (she was very nice about it). I didn’t find T.K. in the lost reports, but something told me to try the microchip scanner one more time.

Sure enough, I found a chip; it had moved from its original spot and so was difficult to find. I ran the chip number through our internal shelter database, and when it didn’t come up, I called the Home Again microchip company to see if it had an address on file.

I decided to do a search on our internal database again, this time by the cat’s name (thank goodness its named wasn’t Max or Sam or Fluffy). There it was, a match. In my effort to work quickly I had erroneously typed the letter O instead of a zero when entering the chip number.

“It looks like the cat lives on Boulevard Court,” I reported to the finder. “Is that near you?”

“Boulevard Court? Where is that?” asked our Good Samaritan.

As I scanned a map of San Rafael, the woman filing a lost report at the other counter spoke up: “Boulevard Court? Oh, that’s where I live.”

She proceeded to give the Good Samaritan directions, and then peeked in at the cat in the carrier. Suddenly she gasped, “Is that T.K.?!”

It turned out T.K. had been missing for two weeks. The owner and Good Samaritan exchanged contact information (just in case T.K. ever ended up at her house again) and both left the shelter with big smiles on their faces.

Jessica Hamill is a customer care representative for the Marin Humane Society, which contributes Tails of Marin articles. For more information, call 883-4621 or go to MarinHumaneSociety.org.

[LINK: Marin Independent Journal]