Girl Scout helping Humane Society spread word on microchipping pets

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Fifteen-year-old Miranda Krebs gave up her Saturday morning to get over to St. Augustine Episcopal Church in south county to set up for a rummage sale.

When most other teens would be sleeping in, Miranda was and remains on a mission – to help the Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County help lost pets.

“I work with dogs and cats everyday,” Miranda said. “I wanted to do something to help.”

Miranda, a Ft. Pierce teen who is enrolled in Westwood High’s veterinarian program, wanted to help the Indian River County Humane Society purchase microchip scanners and spread the word about microchipping pets.

“The main problem is that pets get chipped but the chips aren’t registered,” she said, explaining that the pet owner doesn’t log any information for that chip, making it essentially useless in helping to reunite human with pet.

The mission has become Miranda’s Gold Award project – the crowning achievement of the Girl Scouts akin to an Eagle Scout project in the Boy Scouts.

Once achieved, she will be one of four girls in her troop to be so recognized this year alone.

“For Miranda to go out and turn this project around for the biggest need, make it her award,” Troop Leader Burke Neely said, “I’m so proud of her.”

The project started out as a fundraiser for the Humane Society to purchase chip scanners but turned into an educational effort, reaching out to pet owners about the importance of not only getting pets chipped but also keeping that information up to date.

“There’s so many things that can happen,” Miranda said, referring to how pets can get separated from their humans. “It’s sad to see pets without ID.”

She said one of the challenges is that people who “indoor” pets don’t realize that they, too, need to get their pet identification – be it a collar with a tag or a microchip. With house fires, hurricanes or simple human error in not closing a door, an indoor animal can get out.

Another challenge is reminding people to keep their information current and registered with the Humane Society. Many veterinarians still use paper records, making it difficult and time consuming to match a microchip with a pet and owner. The Humane Society has digital records, which expedites the process.

As for the rummage sale Saturday at St. Augustine Episcopal Church on 43rd Avenue, Miranda said the crowd of bargain hunters were supportive of her efforts.

Several shoppers were either former Girl Scouts themselves or volunteers with the Humane Society.

“They were sort of proud,” Miranda said.

The sale was supposed to go on until 2 p.m. but before 1 o’clock – nearly all the items had been sold, raising more than $260.

It’s enough to purchase a basic microchip scanner for the Humane Society.

“She’s just done a fabulous job with this project,” Troop Leader Neely said.

Miranda expects to submit her project before the end of the month for review. She’ll find out later if her project is accepted and she will be a Gold Award Recipient.

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