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Military Working Dogs: A Memorial Day Tribute To Our K-9 Heroes

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At Market Street Animal Clinic, we are incredibly grateful for all those who have fought, those who continue to fight, and those who will fight for our freedom. This includes dogs (and other animals) that serve in the military.

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This is Junior. Junior spent quite a bit of time in the Middle East, serving our country. We had the honor of helping this war hero over the Rainbow Bridge late last year. 

Military Working Dogs (MWDs) or K-9’s have many different roles in the military and law enforcement. They can sniff out explosives and drugs, go on patrol, or be used as intimidation tactics.

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A United States Air Force Belgian Malinois on an M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Iraq in 2007.

Typically, when people think of K-9’s, they think of German Shepherds. While there are plenty of German Shepherds used as working dogs, due to their strength and agility, there are several other breeds used. Labrador Retrievers are frequently used for drug and explosive detection. Another breed frequently used is the Belgian Malinois, which is similar to the German Shepherd, but much smaller.

In 2000, President Bill Clinton passed “Robby’s Law“, which allowed the military handlers and their families the first chance at adopting their four legged soldiers. Prior to this law, military dogs were either euthanized or abandoned after their “useful service”.

To all of the veterans, both human and animal, Market Street Animal Clinic would like to give our sincerest thanks and gratitude to you. We admire your strength, courage, and service to our country. Thank you.

If you are interested in learning more about MWDs, check out this informative link.

Tips For The Summer Heat And Your Dog

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Summer is just around the corner, friends! Who’s ready for long days, warm nights, sunshine, and maybe even some sand between our toes?! Summer makes many of us want to get up and get out. Of course, being the animal lovers that we are, we always want to bring our 4 legged, fury friends with us. On those hot days (and even days that we don’t find so hot!), be sure to keep a few things in mind.

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First, don’t “weekend warrior” your dog. By this, we simply mean you shouldn’t expect your dog to be able to run 3 miles with you if he hasn’t been properly exercised all winter. Just like people can’t get up one day and decide to run a marathon, dogs can’t either. This can be hard on your dog’s muscles, joints, lungs, and even heart. It’s best to start out slowly with your dog and work him up to whatever goal you have set.

Second, be sure to take breaks during your outdoor activities. You could also let your dog cool off by swimming, if they enjoy that. Bringing along water and a bowl for your dog is also a great idea, as it is best to not let your dog drink out of puddles, ponds, rivers, etc. due to parasites and diseases they can contract. Also, if it is particularly hot, cut your activity short. Some days are just too hot.

If the pavement is too hot, walk your dog in the grass. How can you tell if the pavement is too hot? Take the back of your hand and place it on the pavement. If you can’t hold it there for at least 5 seconds, it is too hot to walk your dog on it. Either wait until it is cooler or walk your dog on the grass. In the summer, it is best to walk your dog early in the morning or in the evening, when the sun isn’t at the highest point.

Never, ever leave your dog in the car. Even if you’re just running a “quick errand” or it’s just “warm” outside. The temperature in the car rapidly rises and can seriously harm or even kill your pet in minutes.

Finally, do not leave your pet outside for extended periods of time, especially if they have no shade or water.  We understand that some pets just prefer to be outside and that’s ok. Just make sure they have a safe place, such as a dog house, to cool off and access to plenty of fresh water.

Keep these things in mind and you and your pets can enjoy the fun of summer!

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How To Cope With The Loss Of A Pet

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It’s the absolute worst part of being a pet owner, but it happens to all of us. Your pet is not doing well and you’ve come to terms with the fact that it is time to let go. Your heart breaks as you think back over the wonderful life you’ve had together. I’ve been there 3 times in the last 2 years. It’s awful. It’s heart wrenching. When it’s time to say goodbye to your precious fur baby, how do you cope?

The first thing you need to know is that there is no right way to grieve the loss of your loved one. Grief looks different for everyone and that’s okay. Some people will feel guilty and some will feel relieved, especially if they’ve had a pet with medical issues. Some people will want to rush out and get another pet so their home doesn’t feel so empty. Some people will never want another pet again. All these feelings are normal. Be kind to yourself. This may be one of the worst things you’ve ever gone through, but, over time, it will get better. Here are some things that may help:

1. Take some time for yourself. Losing a pet is a horrific deal. Do something you love. Your pet would want you to be happy. You spoiled them for years, wouldn’t they want the same for you?

2. If you need to cry, go ahead and cry. Do not let people tell you “he was just a dog” or “she was just a cat”. That pet was your baby for a time. It is okay to mourn the loss of your friend. Seek out the company of a good friend or family member. Talk to them. If you feel your grief is too much, or you don’t feel you can talk to your friends or family, seek out a professional. Do not be embarrassed to ask for help.

3. You may feel horribly guilty about “giving up” on your pet (don’t). Or you may feel incredibly relieved that your pet is no longer struggling. Whatever you feel, it is normal. It is okay to be relieved that you no longer have to medicate your pet 3 times a day and keep them on strict diet. You may feel like you can finally breath again. It’s fine. That does not make you a bad person. It makes you human.

4. You may want to get another pet, but aren’t sure how long you should wait. Do whatever is best for you and your family. If you are ready for a new member, go ahead. There are plenty of animals that are waiting for a new and loving home. You are not replacing your old friend. If you need time or if you feel burned out, take a break. This can be especially true for those who have been taking care of a special needs dog. There is no rush.

Losing a pet is hard. There is no way around it. We hope these few points will help you in your time of need.

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Orphaned and Injured Wildlife

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It’s finally spring time here in Leesburg and I am SO excited for the warm weather! As the ground thaws out and you begin to venture outdoors again, you may notice the wildlife is doing the same. This time of year is very popular for baby geese, ducks, squirrels, and all kinds of birds, along with other animals.

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You may stumble upon some babies and think they are orphaned, but that is not always the case. Unless you are sure the animal is injured or orphaned, you should leave it alone. Some things that should signal the animal needs help are if it is bleeding, shivering, deceased parent nearby, or crying/wandering all day. If it is a bird and is featherless or nearly featherless, that is also a sign that it needs help.

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If you have indeed found an injured or orphaned animal, the first thing you should do is contact a wildlife rehabilitation center. The Wildlife Hotline can be contacted at 703-440-0800. They have volunteers that will return your call and let you know how to proceed. Pender Vet Exotic Animal Hospital in Fairfax, VA, will also help assist you with wildlife. To contact them, you may call 703-654-3100.

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You will likely need to transport the animal to a facility where it can be properly cared for. The best way to do this is to prepare a small cardboard box, such as a shoe box. First, you will need to punch a few air holes from the inside of the box. Second, find a small towel, washcloth, t-shirt, or other soft item that does not have any strings or holes and place it in the bottom of the box. Do NOT attempt to feed or give water to the animal. The animal could aspirate, drown, or the food could cause them harm. To get the animal into the box, you will need a light jacket or towel to lightly drape over them. If at all possible, you do not want to handle the animals with your bare hands. This is for your safety and theirs. Wildlife can carry all sorts of nasty parasites. Once the animal is safely inside the box, close the lid and set it in a warm, dark, and quiet place until you can transport it to a wildlife rehabilitator. Remember, wildlife aren’t used to our noise and come become stressed out easily!

For more information on what to do with injured or orphaned wildlife check out The Wildlife Rescue League’s website.

Pet Insurance: Is It Worth The Money?

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Ah, pet insurance. I think most people know by now that pet insurance is something you can get to help cover your pet’s medical expenses. What many people don’t know, however, is that there are so many different levels of pet insurance you can choose from, not to mention tons of different companies that offer it! Pet insurance is not for every owner or even for every pet, but it certainly can be a great option for some. I should forewarn you. This will likely be a very “word heavy” post. If you just want the cut and dry of it all, I suggest you skip to the bottom of the post.

Much like with most human insurances, you will pay a monthly premium with pet insurance. How much that premium is will depend on which level of insurance you choose. Also, there are typically deductibles that must be met before you can reap the benefits of having pet insurance. Let’s discuss some different “levels” of pet insurance, shall we?

In my opinion, one of the most underrated types of pet insurance is catastrophic insurance. Simply put, this type of insurance covers your pet for major, unforeseen injuries and accidents. Typically, catastrophic insurance will help cover vet bills over $5000. Now, keep in mind, each insurance company is different, so be sure to read through the policies thoroughly. Some examples of catastrophic incidents are bite wounds, bone fractures, and swallowed objects (i.e. foreign bodies that have to be removed from your pet). Again, just like in human insurance, there are certain things that may be excluded depending on your pet’s breed and/or medical history. For example, if your pet has history of eating socks and having them surgically removed, the insurance companies are going to be less likely to cover another incident of that nature. Be sure to read up on all the exclusions before choosing a company!

I can’t exactly give a name to the next category, as it’s called something different by every company. Essentially, the next category would cover both injuries and some illnesses. Some examples would be the above mentioned injuries/accidents as well as cancer, diabetes, ear infections, and skin infections. Again, always be sure to refer to the exclusions list per your pets medical history and/or breed. Also, I should mention that there are NO pet plans that cover pre-existing conditions, which means that if your dog has chronic ear infections, you aren’t going to be able to find a plan that will cover them for you, but they will still cover other issues.

The levels of insurance go up from there, but some companies will also allow you to add “wellness coverage” to your plan. This will help cover the cost of vaccines, routine surgeries (i.e. neuter/spay), fecal testing, and heartworm testing. In my opinion, the wellness coverage isn’t all that necessary UNLESS you have a puppy/kitten who is going to need lots of boosters and to be spayed or neutered. Otherwise, it is best to budget accordingly for you pets yearly medical expenses. Adding a wellness plan to your insurance policy will increase your monthly premium.

To sum things up, pet insurance can be worth the cost, if you know exactly what you can and cannot afford. The best thing to do is RESEARCH! Check out this link from petmd to help your on quest to finding the right pet insurance for you and your best fur friend!

A Cat’s Job

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Cats serve many purposes in our lives, some of these are taken more seriously than others.

1. Alarm Clock

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2. Keeping Your Diet In Check

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3. Mouse Catcher

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4. Nanny

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5. Snow Shovelers

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6. Comforter

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7. Decorator

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8. Typist

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9. Ninja

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10. Movie Buddy

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11. Nappers

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12. Batman

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All in all, cats are amazing and fulfill many roles in our lives! What job does your cat do? Let us know on Facebook!

Dr. Turner

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Our wonderful colleague and dear friend, Dr. Elaina Turner, is about to embark on the next adventure of her career in veterinary medicine! While we are sad to see her go, we know she will be moving on to continue to make a positive impact on many animals’ lives.

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Dr. Turner has been a great asset to Market Street Animal Clinic for the last several years and we will miss her smiling face!

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We wish Dr. Turner the best of luck in her new venture!

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We love ya, Doc!

**Dr. Katie is back in the office full time and our clinic hours will not be changing. To stay up to date on what’s happening at our little yellow house, visit us on Facebook!**

28 Ingenious Things For Your Dog You Had No Idea You Needed

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I like to browse through Buzzfeed every now and again (and by that I mean that I spend an ungodly amount of time reading some of the most ridiculous lists on Buzzfeed). When I saw this post in particular,  I had to “paws” (bad joke, but I couldn’t resist!) and read it. Some of these I thought were legitimately good ideas and some I can only see ending in utter chaos with River, my 70 pound Black Lab/Great Dane mix. So, here are 28 Ingenious things for your dog you had no idea you needed, as told by Buzzfeed:

1. Help ‘Em Wash Pet Shower Curtain
Never get inadvertently splashed again with this pet shower curtain.
I can see mass panic ensuing if I tried to stick a curtain in between my dog and I. Have I mentioned he’s a 70 pound Lab mix that magically turns into a 150 pound baby when he gets put in the tub?

2. PetPeek Fence Window
Give your dog a window to the world with the PetPeek Fence Window.
The second River saw a squirrel through that window, he would go nuts. I wouldn’t be all that surprised to see him scale my privacy fence to get to said squirrel.

3. DNA Dog Toy
These rubber genome toys will make your bully sticks last longer because your dog will have to work to get to it.
Ok, this could actually be a great toy, if it’s constructed well. River will power through a bully stick in less than 60 seconds, so he only gets them at Christmas. I feel like I may as well toss him a $10 bill to chew on. So if this toy could majorly extend the life of a bully stick, they may be on to something!

4. The Portable Chair And Pet Quarters
This fold-up chair with pet compartment is perfect for camping, tailgating, or just hanging in the backyard.
This could potentially be a really cool idea for smaller dogs. I’m having a good chuckle over here imagining my big ol’ dog trying to fit underneath my chair though. Then again, he does curl up in my lap for naps…

5. Pet Zip Line Harness
For the dog that's constantly trying to climb into the front seat: use this zip line harness.
This makes me nervous on a safety level. Apparently it is not for sale anymore. The idea behind it is good though, as I have one of those dogs that likes to be my co-pilot.

6. Car Organizer For Dog Gear
Keep everything in place while traveling with this dog car organizer.
I. Love. This. I’m slightly obsessive about keeping my car organized, especially now that I have to haul baby gear around with me! The idea of “everything in its place” is pretty darn appealing. I would just have to make sure to put the tennis ball out of sight or River would grab it and repeatedly drop it in my lap while I drive. Yes, my dog will play fetch in the car if you let him.

7. Whistle GPS
The Whistle Activity Monitor is an on-collar device that measures your dog’s activities including walks, play, and rest, letting you keep tabs on day-to-day behavior and long-term health trends.
Again, this product is kinda cool. It’s essentially a Fitbit for your dog, except it also shows your dog’s exact location on your phone. It tracks your dog’s activity and rest. I have always wondered what my dog does when we aren’t home.

8. FroBo Pet Bowl

This bowl has a liner that you can place in the freezer and let it chill. Once it’s cold enough, you place it back in the bowl and fill the bowl with water. The liner is supposed to keep the water “well below room temperature for hours”. I suppose this would be nice for very hot days or for particularly particular pets. But for my River, if it’s liquid, he’s gonna drink it. And then let half of it drip out of his mouth all over my kitchen floor.

9. Light Up Collar
This light-up collar lights the path for your dog on long dark winter walks.
This is a great idea, especially during the winter when you aren’t always able to walk your dog during the day time! Not only does it light your path, but it allows drivers to see you and your pet better.

10. The Pet High Chair
For the pup who engages in proper dining etiquette, there's a high chair.
I just….I can’t…just no. Trust me, I treat my dog like a human enough as it is, but I’m not going to let him sit at the table with me. Also, they don’t make one big enough for him.

11. Shark Blanket
This handmade shark blanket will keep your dog cozy and warm all winter.
Now THIS is something I can get behind! In fact, I want one for everyone in my family! My late beagle would have loved this. She used to snuggle under the covers with me at night.

12. Bike Basket
Ride around with the most fashionable dog bike basket ever.
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f that’s something you (and your dog) enjoy, more power to you.

13. Breeze Guard Car Window Screen
With this pet window guard, your dog won't be able to leap out the window.
I’m not so sure this would fly in Virginia with as strict of window tinting laws that we have, but it could be an ok product. River would hate me if I blocked one of his windows, though. He likes to stick his head out and feel the wind in his fur and ears!

14. Backseat Hammock
The backseat hammock will keep dogs from taking a tumble on a bumpy ride.
I actually have one of these. Great product! It doesn’t keep my dog from jumping to the front seat, but it does keep my car seats MUCH cleaner!

15. Pet Umbrella
The pet umbrella keeps your dog "dry and comfortable."
I feel like a lot of dogs would be terrified of this, including mine. However, my late beagle would NOT go outside if it was raining (She was a stubborn old lady). So, I could see how it could come in handy.

16. Escape Preventing Harness
The escape prevention dog harness keeps your pet from slipping through the cracks.
If you have one dog that has a tendency to slip through your fence, I suppose this could be good. However, I think it has too many risks associated with it. If you have multiple dogs, they could all be running around and impale each other on the ends. Or, if your dog did get loose, it could get caught in a bush or something. You’re probably better off just leash walking your dog or maybe putting a chain link fence up to reinforce.

17. Doggie Fountain
The dog water fountain turns drinking water into a game.
I’m not entirely sure my dog would be smart enough to figure this out (Sorry, River!). I also feel like my husband would have more fun with this than the dog.

18. Door Scratch Protector
If your dog tends to scratch the door and leave marks when it's time to go out, get the door protector.
Oh man do I wish we had this for our beagle. Our door is so scratched up from her pawing to go in/out all day.

19. Slurpabowl
The Slurpabowl is a cute, recyclable, portable drinking bowl that folds up and attaches to the leash.
You’ve gotta admit, that’s pretty stinkin’ adorable! It’s also an easy way to carry around a water bowl when you’ve got your pooch out for a walk. Personally, I’d prefer a more “re-usable” bowl, but I love the idea of it being able to fold on to the leash! One less thing for you to make your husband carry in his cargo shorts. (Don’t pretend I’m the only one who does this!)

20. In-Wall Pet Bowls
These "in the wall" pet bowls fold up when not in use to save space.
Love these! In fact, I love them so much, I’m currently looking into getting a set for River. My only draw back is that it will be at the perfect height for my daughter to play in when she starts walking.

21. Dog Teepee Bed
Stay on trend with this adorable dog teepee.
Absolutely adorable for a small pooch. I’m trying to picture my husband’s reaction to coming home and finding a life size teepee in our living room for the dog. And one in our bedroom for me.

22. “Shake” The Dog Potty

Again, not a bad idea. Especially for people who live in high rise condos and don’t want to take their dog out every couple of hours. This would also be great in the winter when I don’t want to put on a million layers just to take the dog out to pee.

23. Membo
For a multi-person household, get the Membo, which has tiles you can flip that signify whether the dog has been fed already.
THIS IS GENIUS!! I can’t tell you how many extra meals River has gotten because he’ll give us the eyes of “Mom/Dad forgot to feed me” when he actually just finished his meal 20 minutes ago. Also, I have the brain of a goldfish now and when my husband tells me that River has been fed, I can’t remember.

24. Paw Wash
Gently and effectively clean your dog's paws with this brushless paw wash.
Hah! I have to wrestle River to let me trim his nails. No way is he going to let me stick is paws in something to clean them off! It’s so much easier to just grab a towel and give them a good wipe!

25. Leanilix

Personally, I’m the kind of gal who will throw some Milkbones or whatever in my pocket and just go. But if you aren’t in to that, this could be a pretty could option. I’m afraid River would take the whole tube out of my hand and eat it. He gets pretty darn excited about treats.

26. Collapsible Travel Bowl
This collapsible travel cup comes with a carabiner so you can attach it anywhere.
Fantastic idea! You can clip it on to your leash or your belt loop or your water bottle! Love this. Might have to get one of these too…

27. Hydrabone
The one-of-a-kind Hydrobone has a foam core that absorbs and releases water as your dog chews it.
Seems like a cool idea. It would be really great for those dogs that don’t like to drink a lot (Certainty not the case in our house!). Basically, it has a foam core that absorbs water. It says you can also freeze it. Although, I’d be afraid it would get too hard and my dog would break a tooth.

28. iFetch
The iFetch launches tennis balls and acts as an interactive playmate for your pet.
Oh my lanta. River would entertain himself for hours with this! Could also be very entertaining for kids…

Well there you have it! 28 things you didn’t know you needed for your pet. Happy shopping everyone!

To Microchip Or Not To Microchip? That Is The Question…

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…to which the answer is, YES! We know a lot of people are worried about microchipping their pets for a variety of reasons. People are afraid it will hurt or that it’s too expensive or that the government will track their pets or that it’s just useless. Well, let us help lay your concerns to rest!

microchipGet-your-pet-microchipped

Let’s start by how we microchip pets at Market Street Animal Clinic. To begin, we scan your pet with our microchip reader, just to make sure your pet (let’s call him Mr. Fuzzy) wasn’t previously microchipped. This is a completely painless check. We wave our scanner over Mr. Fuzzy’s body. We don’t even have to touch the scanner to him! Next, we will have one of our technicians hold Mr. Fuzzy so he doesn’t get too scared. After Mr. Fuzzy is secure and happy in the arms of the technician, the vet or another technician will gently pull up on the scruff on the back of Mr. Fuzzy’s neck. We will then insert the needle under the skin and press the plunger to implant the microchip under Mr. Fuzzy’s skin. The only pain your pet may feel is the pinch of the needle. Some pets don’t even notice! The microchip itself is tiny, just slightly larger than a grain of rice. Now, occasionally the site where the needle was will bleed a little. This is just because there are lots of blood vessels in the skin. The bleeding should stop very quickly. That’s it! It’s over! Mr. Fuzzy has officially been microchipped! Now all that’s needed is for you to fill out a short form with some information that would tie Mr. Fuzzy to you. You then give the form to one of our technicians or receptionists and we register Mr. Fuzzy for you! It really is that simple!

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Now that you know how the process works, let’s discuss the benefits of Mr. Fuzzy’s microchip. If Mr. Fuzzy were to ever escape from your home or break free from his leash while you were walking him, he could be traced back to you. How could he be traced back to you? Well, if someone were to find him, they could bring him to a vet or animal shelter where he would immediately be scanned for a microchip. When Mr. Fuzzy gets scanned, a number will pop up on the scanner. The vet or animal shelter would then be able to input that number into a database and your name and number would pop up so that they could contact you. There are hundreds of stories of people finding their pets again because of their microchips!

If you move or have to re-home Mr. Fuzzy, you can log on to your account online and change the information. And while we are on the subject, if you move, or change your phone number, be sure to update the information! It only takes a few minutes, but it could be the difference between getting Mr. Fuzzy back to you or not.

Lastly, the microchips that we use at Market Street are not tracking devices. We cannot log on and see exactly where Mr. Fuzzy is at that exact moment. All that the microchip tells us is your name and phone number.

Ready to get Mr. Fuzzy microchipped or have more questions? Give us a call or stop and speak with one of our helpful employees!