SINGAPORE - A Jack Russell terrier has been returned to its owners nine years after it went missing, thanks to its microchip.
Dr Bilveer Singh and his wife Gurdial Kaur, both dog lovers, could hardly believe it when they were told that their long-lost pet Spikey had been found.
Spikey's story was posted on Facebook by Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD) on Wednesday (Dec 9) night, and has since been shared more than 300 times.
The animal welfare group helped to track down Spikey's owner through its microchip number.
Dr Singh, a lecturer at the National University of Singapore, said that Spikey was a gift from friends of him and his wife. The Jack Russell was two years old then.
A year later, in November 2006, they lost Spikey after it slipped past a gate that was accidentally left open.
"We searched the entire neighbourhood, made a police report too. We also informed our closer neighbours about the loss," he told The Straits Times in phone messages.
"The grief of having lost Spikey was bountiful," said Dr Singh, adding that they often wondered where Spikey was.
According to ASD's post, a Jack Russell was found at a coffee shop in the Yishun area last week "looking lost and forlorn".
It wrote: "A kind soul went to pick him up and had him scanned. Fortunately he was microchipped but here's where it gets interesting… a check with the AVA showed that the dog was licensed but the licence was cancelled 7 years ago in 2008!"
In Singapore, dogs need to be licensed and microchipped, and the owners' details are registered with AVA.
After searching for their dog for two years, the Singhs cancelled Spikey's licence in 2008.
An officer from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) called Dr Singh to inform him of the find last Friday (Dec4).
"How to believe that Spikey has been found after nine long years!" said Mrs Singh, who called it an "awesome surprise" for Dr Singh.
But before they officially took the dog back, they put out a "Found" notice, in case Spikey had new owners who were searching for him.
It seemed likely that he had been cared for by another family for nine years as he was in fairly good condition.
When no one claimed him, Dr and Mrs Singh were more than happy to take him back.
Mrs Singh, a former school principal who is now a part-time supervisor at the National Institute of Education, said Spikey became a part of their family, and he recognised them even after nine years.
She described how Spikey responded to his name when he was brought to them in cage.
"When the cage was unlocked Spikey immediately moved forward and I held him in great delight," Mrs Singh said.
The Singh family now have a Corgi named Zania, who joined them in January 2007. Spikey and Zania are getting along well, Dr Singh said.
Mr Ricky Yeo, president of ASD, said that this was a case in which the microchip and pet registry helped to re-unite a pet and its owners.
"We frequently find dogs which are microchipped but not registered. This is a rare case where it has been useful, which is why it is important to have a properly maintained registry," he said.