There are many great success stories of how Social Media can help a cause, support a person or people or even effect change but recently my family experienced just how powerful Social Media can be. The power of good that can be made through a single post on a social network is in many ways awe inspiring but at the same time illustrates just how connected we all are.
On November 23, we made a 2 hour trek North to pick up our new pet, a boxer named Chelsea. We decided to stop in my home town to grab a bite to eat, and I would take her out for a quick piddle. When we put her in the hatch of our Subaru, I was not thinking about how quick she might be, but took her leash off of her. The second the hatch opened enough…she was gone at a full run through the parking lot and around the big box store that shared the parking lot.
I was running after her but being a grossly out of shape 40 year old and her being a 14 month old ball of energy…I am sure you can guess the result. Chelsea was gone. We searched the neighborhood and drove around the back streets for hours praying that she would be fine and we would be able to take her home that night…but with just the two of us…that was not going to be possible. We reported her to the Police, the Vets and the local dog catcher within minutes of her going missing and prayed that we would find her.
Not being able to stay all night to look, I made a simple post on Facebook:
To all my Listowel friends…we were driving through town and our new dog Chelsea/Baylin got away from us in the A&W parking lot. Please help…if you see her contact the Animal Control @5193562841 or Heartland Animal Hospital. She may have only been a part of our lives foe a couple of hours but we are lost without her.
I don’t know what we expected from this post but the result was nothing like I could have imagined. Friends that I have not seen or heard from in years were out scouring the town until midnight (during the first major blast of winter for the area). It was like a continuous sighting map throughout the night, with reports coming in via cell phones of sightings or near misses.
The first night was rough as the temperature dropped to -8 C and the wind was whipping up a nasty snow squall. We prayed that Chelsea would find shelter but with the last report of a sighting coming in at around 10PM…we were not sure if she would be safe.
We ventured back to the town and rallied up the search once again but again no luck, we were greeted with very friendly store owners and clerks that allowed us to post our phone number if anyone had seen her. In a local pet store I met people who assisted with getting the word out to a even greater audience through her network and he search continued.
By Sunday, the reports had dwindled to mostly inquiries about her safety as no one had seen her, but our faith continued to hold strong…we all had a feeling that she was safe.
We took an ad out in the local paper that week and within hours of its delivery, the first calls started to come in…one in particular gave us great hope…a horse farmer one side road out of town had spotted her in his barn. The Social Media team was ready to spring into action…my wife updated her status and an army…ok not an army but several people headed out to bring her home…but as fate would have it…a hole in the barn would thwart this attempt as Chelsea ran out into the field.
Despite the near miss…we knew that after 6 days in the cold…she was ok and had found shelter! The breeder that we got her from made the trek South on Friday and we again sourced out the power of Social Media for updates on her location so that we could direct our Angel from Durham to Chelsea’s location.
This is a story of my family…nothing more. I know that there are many negative impacts of Social Media on a personal and professional level but the good that can come from being connected…more than out weighs the potential problems. I know that I give up a piece of my privacy with every post on Facebook, every Tweet on Twitter but if it means that I can shrink this planet just a little…and connect with someone that otherwise I would never have known…then it is more than worth it!
I hope your day is as good as mine is sure to be now that Chelsea has come home.
Chris J Powell