It was 5AM yesterday morning when my phone buzzed with the text:
“Moses has been found :]”
My east coast family still can’t get used to my west coast time zone so I was roped into one of those wonderful early-morning group texts. My brother had just left a visit with us and toward the end of it he found out his beloved French bulldog, Moses, had gone missing. He got lost around my parents’ house where he was staying.
I have to pause this story and explain how much my family loves its dogs. They have always been like our children and members of the family. My brother’s dog is his best friend so the news was not taken easily.
Being 3,000 miles away for eighteen more hours, my brother, along with us, took to social media and the internet to begin looking for him and spreading the word. Within minutes people began joining the mission of finding Moses. People who didn’t know my brother and who I barely know were sharing the photos and using the hashtag #FindMoses.
Search parties were formed. Neighborhoods were canvassed. The Humane Society was called. Many of us began to despair. Wouldn’t someone keep him if they found him? He is such a valuable and lovable dog. . . . What if the unthinkable had happened to him?
The news that next morning came from a man who had picked up Moses along a busy street and brought him to his home twenty miles away. He happened upon the #FindMoses hashtag and saw hundreds of Tweets and Instagrams with the little guy’s picture. Had he not seen the posts he would have kept him, as his daughter had already fallen in love with Moses. He would have never seen the “Lost Dog” posters were it not for the Internet.
Social media worked. It worked because there was a community of people who know my brother and us, and rallied around this mission. They acted like a real community should act. So often I become disillusioned with my life online. As much as I love social media (I used to work in social media for a living), I find it cheap and several shades dimmer than real-life relationships. Then something like this happens and reminds me of stories from the Wild West where people would join together to build a barn or help harvest the crops. This translated into real action when a huge search party was formed, but still allowed people like myself to get involved 3,000 miles away.
I learned this week to give social media and, more importantly, people’s character more credit. The group effort meant a group success. I’m sure Moses will be bestowing a lot of grateful slobbery kisses in the coming weeks. I, for one, can’t wait for mine.
*Photo credits: Author