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At least the old boy made it home

George died last week.

The long-lost Santa Rosa cat was 17 years old and his legacy just may improve lives of pets everywhere.

George was one of the first cats ever to be microchipped. He vanished from his Santa Rosa home in mid-1995 and last month made history -- and national headlines -- when a staffer at Sonoma County's pound scanned a sick, scrawny, old cat and detected the chip.

Cat returns after 13 years

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Information imbedded in it led authorities to Frank Walburg and Melinda Merman. They wept to get their George back after an absence of close to 14 years.

"He had a lot of great days" since his homecoming, Melinda said. But a vet discovered George had cancer.

Frank and Melinda did the loving thing a few days ago when they had him gently put down at home.

Melinda said, "We hope something really big and positive comes out of this." It will, if more pet owners have their animals microchipped and if those chips help multitudes of Georges to get back home.

WHICH IS MORE AMAZING? That two Santa Rosa women each placed about $5,000 in envelopes in recent days and then lost them?

Or that two good men found the cash and did the honorable thing?

First story: Joan Halsey, 65, cashed in some savings bonds to pay for urgently needed repairs to her mobile home. On the way home from the bank she stopped at the Safeway on north Mendocino Avenue.


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