Photo courtesy of ubergizmo.com
It always pulls at my heartsrtings when I see a sign up around my neighbourhood that says a pet has gone missing. I mean, maybe not so much when it's about cats, and definitely not birds (you know that no one is finding that pet), but dogs? That's a tear-jerker.
I have never lost one of my pets, at least not longer than an afternoon, and never long enough to necessitate a poster, so I've never put much thought into what that process would be like. That's why I was surprised to hear that a dog had been recovered in Dublin, Ireland, through the use of Twitter postings.
This shouldn't really be shocking to me, but it's just never an avenue I have considered for finding something. Yet now more than ever there are endless connections to people and places that easily facilitate our quest for certain things. And not only are these avenues public, but they're public in an international scope—hundreds to millions of people could hear that you lost your dog, learn its appearance, and track it down for you within a matter of minutes.
Dierdre Anglin's Jack Russell, Patch, went missing in rural Kilcock, while casually boarding a commuter train headed to Dublin, presumably for some of that infamous Dublin tail that male terriers go crazy over. When passengers realized the dog had no owner, they turned the dog over to the Irish Rail, which then tweeted "Lost Dog!" with Patch's picture. A rapid succession of retweets assured that the news reached Anglin, muzzling Patch's plans for Dublin.
On the trip home, Anglin took and posted pictures of the reunion onto other social networking sites, and her dog is now a local celebrity on Irish Rail. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become phenomenoms in connecting people and sharing parts of our lives, however constructed what we choose to show is. Although these narratives contain a degree of superficiality to them, there's no denying the impact these networks can produce in the right situation.