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Raleigh, NC – The American Kennel Club’s Companion Animal Recovery program (AKC CAR) has reached many milestones in its nearly 11 years of existence. The program serves as the national registry for microchipped pets, where a pet’s microchip ID number and owner’s contact information are stored and used when a lost pet is reported found. The number of pets enrolled in its 24-hour-a-day recovery service has reached over three million and nearly 300,000 recoveries and reunions have taken place. Today, AKC/CAR looks back on some of its most moving recoveries.

“AKC CAR has brought hundreds of thousands of lost pets back home to their families,” said Dr. Carmen Battaglia, President and CEO of AKC CAR. “By sharing some of these recovery stories, we hope to educate pet owners about the importance of ID tags, tattoos and microchipping.”


“Lola,” a Cairn Terrier (Yorkville, IL)
The Sanchez family was in the process of selling their home in October of 2003 when surveyors came to their home and mistakenly left the gate open. Unfortunately, their dog “Lola” decided to explore the outside world. Family and friends searched for days with no luck, and, eventually, the family moved to their new home to adjust to life without their canine companion. The Sanchez children were especially upset but never gave up hope. In April 2006, AKC CAR received a call from a local animal shelter; a woman had found a dog running down the side of the road. AKC CAR’s recovery coordinator found the microchip number in their national database and identified the dog as Lola. After getting the exciting phone call, Mrs. Sanchez picked Lola up from the shelter and brought her home to surprise her husband and children. They were shocked and grateful that Lola had returned home after almost three years!


“Hutch,” a Poodle Mix (Palmer, AK)
In June 2006, a poodle-mix named Hutch found himself running free on the tarmac of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Hutch was making the trip home from Seattle to Arkansas with his owner’s daughter. He escaped from his kennel after airport carriers dropped it during transport. Luckily, airport personnel contacted AKC CAR’s recovery coordinators because of his collar tag. AKC CAR’s trained staff worked with airport officials to locate his owner’s name on a flight list, and Hutch was placed on the correct aircraft. Despite a delayed flight, Hutch’s adventure ended in a safe flight home to Arkansas.


“Bella,” a Golden Retriever (Auburn, WA)
“Bella,” the Golden, is owned by Leah Chalcraft and serves as her assistance dog due to her neurological disease. Leah attends a local college where, once she graduates, she and Bella will be Para-educators. In September of 2006, Bella escaped through an open door and, despite days of searching, could not be found. Thankfully, Bella was found by a local family who contacted CAR based on her tag. Now, dog and handler are reunited, working together once again.


“Bear,” an American Eskimo Dog (Lake Havasu City, AZ)
In October of 2004, an American Eskimo Dog named “Bear,” escaped from her Arizona home’s backyard fence. Bear, who suffers from poor eyesight, bad hearing and arthritis, was in an area filled with coyotes and other predators in extreme heat. Her owner Robbin Wohl searched for days and thought she would never see her beloved friend again. A few days later, AKC CAR received a call from a woman and her daughter who found Bear. Unfortunately, Bear’s owner did not have current information in CAR database because of a recent move. Luckily Ms. Wohl contacted CAR to see if anyone had called about her missing dog and she was soon reunited with Bear.


“There are important lessons to learn in these recovery stories,” added Dr. Battaglia. “We want to make sure every pet that is separated from its owner can be reunited with their families. It is so easy and affordable to have one’s pet microchipped and enrolled in our 24/7 recovery service. And, once you do so, make sure your dog travels with its CAR tag and keep your contact information current in our database. It’s the quickest way of reuniting with your pet.”