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Humane Society of Greater Rochester

As small as a grain of rice, a microchip can make a huge difference to a family of a lost pet. In the case of Ashes, a 3-year-old gray cat who was found at a truck stop in Ohio, his microchip helped reunite him with his owner who was states away.

Kimberly T. was moving from the West Coast back to the Rochester area with the help of a friend earlier this month when she made a pit stop at a Love’s Travel Stop in Ohio. Just before getting back into her car, Kimberly noticed a thin gray cat emerging from the brush. It was a 13-degree day, and the cat appeared cold, emaciated and seeking attention. “He was trying to not put his feet down on the ground, it was so cold,” said Kimberly. The two friends searched the general area for anyone that may know if someone was missing him, and when they couldn’t find any answers, scooped up the cat and invited him to warm up in a blanket in the car.

Fearing for his safety if left out in the cold, Kimberly chose to bring Ashes (who she was, funnily enough, calling “Smokey” at the time) back to the Rochester area with her, knowing that there was a place there that would help this feline friend – Lollypop Farm.

Ashes was emaciated and in need of veterinary care when he first arrived at Lollypop Farm.

What Kimberly didn’t know was that Ashes was not any ordinary cat – but a seasoned traveler himself. Ashes’ owner, Matthew B., is a truck driver, and Ashes was his partner in action! While their home base was in Georgia, Ashes, and Matthew would often travel together in the comfort of his 18-wheeler. Much like cats adopted out of our Working Cat Program, some cats thrive in unique settings like wineries, greenhouses, even enjoying the adventures of the trucking life! Matthew had been passing through Springfield, Ohio in July of this year when his road mate Ashes had accidentally slipped out of the truck while it was parked at the Love’s stop. Ashes had gotten spooked, and ran for the brush. Matthew was devastated and searched everywhere for Ashes. When he couldn’t find him, he had to get back on the road – but Matthew rearranged his routes several times over the next few months and went back to that very spot to search for Ashes.

It wasn’t until several months later that Kimberly came upon Ashes in that very area, and decided to bring him back to New York with her. When Kimberly arrived at Lollypop Farm with Ashes, our Admissions Team immediately scanned for a microchip, as they do with all incoming pets. Not only did he have one, but he had an owner who had registered him under a Texas address that was over 1,465 miles away! This was one cross-country kitty.

When Matthew got the call that Ashes had not only been found but was safe and sound and receiving veterinary care in Rochester, New York, he was shocked. “I had been thinking about Ashes every day,” said Matthew. Luckily, since Matthew was a trucker, he was able to re-arrange his driving schedule and make his way towards New York relatively quickly. He was in Arkansas at the time and managed to book a trip to Pennsylvania, and then Rochester, New York. Our incredible Lost and Found Team worked with Matthew to arrange for his visit. About a week and a half after Ashes first arrived at Lollypop Farm, Matthew’s 18-wheeler pulled up in front of the shelter, and the two were finally going to be reunited.

Matthew and Ashes were reunited in a meet-and-greet room in the Day Lily Cat Adoption Center.

Our Clinic Team brought Ashes out into the cat adoption center, where he was greeted by Matthew, Kimberly, and her friend, who had come to witness the reunion, too.

“It’s my Christmas miracle,” said Matthew.

After traveling all the way from Ohio with Ashes, Kimberly had felt a close connection to his story and was overjoyed to see him returned to Matthew. “It was a difficult move for me,” said Kimberly, “and Smokey (Ashes) was cuddled up in my lap the whole way home.”

Matthew simply couldn’t believe that Ashes had found his way back to him, thanks to the microchip.

Our Lost and Found team gave Ashes a brand new nametag, collar, and harness from the Lollypop Farm Gift Shop and prepared him to get back on the road with his buddy. When the two approached the 18-wheeler, Ashes leaped gracefully from Matthew’s arms and into the truck, heading right back into his favorite place to sit.

“It’s that microchip – without it, I wouldn’t have ever gotten him back,” said Matthew. “If you love your pet, you just have to chip them. The women that found him saved his life, but the microchip brought him home.”

Thanks to the microchip, Ashes, and Matthew are back together and on the road yet again. Matthew was so grateful to the women who had been kind enough to protect Ashes from the cold and bring him to Lollypop Farm, and we couldn’t be happier for this adventurous cat to be back on the right track.

Ashes hopped right back into the truck, ready to hit the road once more.

Learn more about the importance of microchipping:

What to do if you lose, or find, a pet: