It’s not easy putting a dollar value on a friendship but for New Zealander Natasha Sergent, it’s about $37.
That is how much it cost to have her prized 16-month-old German Shepherd Soul microchipped – a device the size of a grain of rice which helped reunite owner and pooch this week.
Soul went missing from Sergent’s Wainuiomata, New Zealand home on Sunday, only to be found in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand a day later and 540km (300 miles) away.
Sergent was phoned by Waikato New Zealand District Council staff on Monday morning and told Soul was picked up while wandering the township. “When they said Soul was in Ngaruawahia the first thing I said was, `where the hell is that?’.”
Sergent then jumped into a car with partner Richard Robert and made the 7 ½ hour trek.
“I didn’t even brush my teeth or anything, our priority was getting Soul back. Whoever took her should think about what it would be like if they had a child and someone put them in a car and drove off. It’s essentially kidnapping. She’s my baby.”
Sergent planned to report the alleged theft to Wainuiomata police and encouraged anyone who saw people with Soul to contact the council.
Soul, a pedigree, won an award at the Eukanuba National Dog Show in Feilding, New Zealand last year. Sergent declined to say how much Soul was worth but believed she was stolen as “bait” for illegal dog fights.
“We’re just thankful she was microchipped. Without it we wouldn’t have got her back. We spent all of Sunday looking for her and in my heart I knew she hadn’t just wandered off. She’s a little ADHD but she’s a great dog. She’s definitely got a big dinner waiting for her at home.”
SPCA national president Bob Kerridge said microchipping had resulted in many happy reunions.
“It’s the great advance we’ve made over the last five years in animal welfare because microchipped dogs are able to be identified immediately with their true owner even if a dog is stolen and goes to a completely different part of the country.”
Kerridge said German Shepherds were not typically associated with illegal dog fights and he suspected Soul was stolen for breeding, not dog fighting.