The Humane Society of Southern Mississippi (HSSM) was a $100K Challenge regional winner in 2011, and it’s not hard to see why—this industrious shelter boasts several innovative programs, including its “Tag ‘Em South Mississippi” pet identification package, offering pet parents an engraved tag and microchip for just $7.
HSSM preaches the value of ID for pets, and they found a great case in point in March 2012 when Gulfport Animal Control officer Dorothy Payne picked up a scraggly, wire-haired dog. Payne scanned the little dog and found he had a microchip—registered to someone in Ocean Springs, about 30 miles away.
“I thought for sure that the microchip information was just out of date—that the family had moved but not changed the information,” says Payne. But she called the phone number related to the microchip anyway and, to her surprise, Donna Nelson answered the phone.
In 2006, Nelson visited HSSM and adopted a Rat Terrier/Poodle mix for her daughter. Peanut was an integral part of the Nelson family for two years, until one tragic day when he went missing. Eventually Nelson and her daughter, Danielle Weatherford, gave up hope of ever seeing Peanut again—until they got the call from Payne.
“I couldn’t believe it,” says Nelson. “We had been calling the shelter for months and after a while, we just assumed that something had happened to him.”
On March 23, Peanut was finally reunited with his pet parent. Though he’d been away for four years, he ran straight for the teary-eyed Weatherford the moment he saw her.
“We are thrilled that Peanut and his family were reunited,” says Tara High, HSSM executive director. “Statistics tell us that a microchipped dog is twice as likely to be returned to his owner and a microchipped cat is 20 times more likely, but the power of microchipping pets really hits home when you see a lost dog of four years reunited with his worried family.”
Nice work, HSSM. And welcome home, Peanut!