When 15-year-old Collie cross Maggie wandered off during a walk in Barnet, where she lives, things could have turned very ugly for her. Seniors like her are notoriously difficult to rehome, and she might have ended her life in a pound if not reclaimed.

“Mum turned around to lock the front door and Maggie vanished,” Amanda Devlin, her owner, recalls. “We went out searching for her, called the dog warden and all the local charities. We knocked on doors, asked local dog walkers and went on DogLost. It was horrendous.”

Maggie was found wandering by someone who tied her to the railing outside a petrol station and left. She remained there until a builder working nearby realised no one was coming out of the petrol station for her, took her home and called the RSPCA. A quick scan was all that was needed for Maggie – who had been microchipped as a pup by the National Animal Welfare Trust before being adopted- to be happily reunited with them, 48 hours after she went missing.

“I’m a big fan of microchipping,” Amanda said. “People need to be reminded of the importance of getting their pet microchipped and also of keeping their contact details up-to-date.”

Under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015, chipping your dog and keeping the registered details up-to-date has become mandatory on 6 April. The fine for not complying can be up to £500; having your dog back if lost, on the other hand, is priceless.

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