I took the dog to my vet, and they scanned but didn't find a chip. A chip would have been helpful, though not foolproof.
My present dog came with a chip and a solicitation to sign up for a chip service which charges a yearly fee. That was rather off putting.
But, I found a free service: Free Pet Chip Registry I highly recommend it both because it's free and because it is the closest thing to a national registry. Some of the paid services don't like to share their information with others, so there is no national registry. You have to call each service to check to see if the pet is registered there. That can be a daunting task especially if the pet is not registered with one of the major services.
I recommend that even if you are registered with another service, you cross-register at Free Pet Chip Registry as each new listing makes it closer and closer to a national registry.
Here's what prompted this service:
Several years ago, I found a stray German Shepherd without a collar. I took him to a branch of the Los Angeles City Animal Shelter hoping that he may have had a microchip implanted. If he had a microchip certainly he would be easily reunited with his family. When the scanner beeped and the 15-digit ID popped up, I breathed a big sigh of relief and thanked the technician profusely. "Not so fast" the technician told me. "We are only getting started." I wasn't sure what she meant by that. The dog had been microchipped, just like all of my pets, and I thought that it's just a matter of checking a central database and then contacting the owner to come pick him up. Boy, was I wrong.
The helpful technician began calling, one by one, the various pet chip registries to determine if the lost German Shepherd was registered with their company. 10+ telephone calls and over 30 minutes later, the technician told me that although the lost dog had been microchipped, none of the major U.S. databases had current information on the dog. I asked her why couldn't she just go to a single database, input the ID number and directly pull up the pet owner's information? I thought surely that had to be the process, it's just common sense. She went on to explain that in the U.S. we have numerous, independently owned pet registries some of which don't particularly like to share their information, due to finanacial motivation.Blessings on John Dyer and Courtney Cramer, DMV, for starting this service. I'm reminded again how important it is.
The happy end of the story on the dog I found, was that after posting on two major area sources, the Lord prompted me to do another search two days after finding the dog. On another data base I saw a listing with the dog's photo posted just two hours previous to my search. That was a reminder to me that there is no central data base for missing or found pets either even in the local area.