The community that makes up the client base of a veterinary practice is as wide and varied as you could possibly imagine.
People from all walks of life sharing one common characteristic – a love of the animals we share our lives with.
The empathy we, the staff at St Vincents Vets, feel for our clients and their pets is in part due to our training and knowledge, but mostly due to us being pet owners too with first-hand experience of the joy and sadness that this brings. But this empathy flows over into the community of clients and pet owners as well.
You only have to witness the reaction to a plea to help find a missing pet on social media to see an example of this overwhelming support.
But unfortunately sometimes this isn’t enough to reunite a pet with its family.
A recent example of this was when we first met the unforgettable Pepsi, a nine-year-old male cat.
One of our lovely clients had found this stray in their garden, and with his tractor-like purr and a bold yet loving demeanour he had them wrapped around his little paws.
But they noticed that he had an abscess or a mass near his tail, and decided that they would get our vets to check him over to make sure he was alright.
With a stray the first thing we always do is to scan the animal for a microchip, and in this case we found the unique number on his chip at first attempt.
We contacted the database and discovered that Pepsi had been reported lost a few weeks ago.
We made him comfortable in a large cage fit for a prince, and left messages on the contact number for the owners. Understandably the clients who had brought him in were sad to see him go but delighted for the owners.
The following day Pepsi’s owners came in to collect him and told us the background to his story. They had only recently moved into the area, and had planned to keep their cats in for three to four weeks while they settled.
Despite best laid plans, Pepsi managed to rotate the lock on the cat flap and escape.
Luckily the owners managed to stop the other cats from following suit.
We suspect that this large charming cat then effortlessly ensconced himself with local benefactors, successfully trading his affection for love and food.
All of the staff at St Vincents were sad to say goodbye to this amazing cat, but delighted to have got him back to his forever home.
A lovely story that highlights something we come across at our practice all too often.
We often encounter stray pets that are either not chipped, or there is a microchip that has never been registered.
This leaves us relying on posters, social media, phoning around other practices and luck to try and reunite a pet with its family.
It is now a legal requirement to microchip all dogs over eight weeks of age so most of our canine companions are chipped, but please make sure that the registration details are correct and up to date.
And for cat owners – these animals are naturally curious and explorative, and regularly get into trouble.
While it may not be a legal requirement to chip your cats, we urge you to get your feline friends microchipped and registered so that should you ever face the stress of a missing pet you know if they are found they can be easily reunited.
Michael Morrow owns and runs St Vincents Veterinary Surgery, a family owned practice providing personal care for all pets in and around Wokingham. To discuss microchipping or any other concerns about your pet please contact the surgery on 0118 979 3200 or log on to www.stvincentsvets.co.uk