Galen is a homebody. She joined our family at eight weeks old, and in the two years she’s been with us she’s never run away or shown any desire to be anywhere that we are not. Even when we unleash her during hikes at a local mountain preserve, she will forge ahead, but look back every few steps to confirm that our path hasn’t diverged from hers. My husband and I joke that we couldn’t lose her if we wanted to.
Loki is a wanderlust. He was pulled from the same North Carolina shelter as Galen, by the same rescue group. We offered to foster him while the rescue sought someone to adopt him, but we took too much of a liking to the little guy to give him to strangers. So we gave him to my mom, with the understanding that each winter he would spend six weeks with us, while she and my stepfather jet-set between New Jersey and Florida.
Loki was named by one of the rescue volunteers, and the name fits him quite well. The original Loki, according to Scandinavian mythology, was the Norse god of mischief, and the dog Loki is a mischief-maker. Mostly he makes his mischief by disappearing.
Several years ago, my mother installed a fence around her property to keep out the deer. It also served to keep Galen and my sister’s dog, Bear, from leaving. But Loki’s lust for adventure proved to be stronger than the fence’s ability for restraint. He would find rare spots where the fence and earth separated and squirm through. My mother would find him happily roaming the neighborhood; she’d bring him home, and a day or so later, he’d be gone again. She ultimately installed an electric fence to end his journeying.
We, too, have an electric fence, so when Loki’s here, he wears Galen’s collar. But during his last visit, Loki got skunked. He stunk, and so did the collar – even after I soaked it in tomato juice, then vinegar, then dish detergent. I couldn’t bear to put it back on him, so I sent him outside in an old dog collar hoping he wouldn’t know the difference between it and the electric fence collar. For two days I outsmarted him. On the third day, I couldn’t find him – anywhere.
That night animal control called; Loki was safe and waiting for me at our local shelter. A microchip that had been implanted between his shoulder blades gave animal control all the information needed to identify him and me – the person listed “in case of emergency.”
That microchip proved invaluable that night, and it may one day save Loki’s life, as he proves time and again that he has a journeyman’s spirit. Galen is microchipped, too. We had the procedure done after we adopted her, before we realized our homegirl isn’t going anywhere.
You can learn more about microchipping your pet on the web. Here’s just one site: http://pets.webmd.com/features/microchipping-your-dog-or-cat