Irish Rail Uses Twitter To Help Reunite Lost Dog With Owner

from the tweet-and-found dept

One thing I always like about new technology is when it enables something that was effectively impossible before. So, while this story is really just a cute story about a lost dog, it also is quite amazing when you think about it. Not so long ago, this kind of thing wasn't really possible. It's the story of how a Jack Russell terrier near Dublin somehow got away from its owner on Tuesday evening. Wednesday morning, it wandered onto an Irish Rail train. After workers realized the owner was not aboard, they took the dog to a particular station and then sent out a "Lost dog!" tweet:
Soon afterwards, Deirdre Anglin, tweeted "that's my dog!":
Irish Rail announced that they found the owner, just 32 minutes after posting the original:
And then there was the reunited post:
And, of course, now the dog has its own Twitter feed.

Oddly, it does seem worth noting that just days before, Deirdre had tweeted at the Irish Rail to find out about extra trains for an event. That appears to be the only time she tweeted at the Irish Rail since her account first appeared about a year ago. I'm guessing that's just a weird coincidence, though in this day of faux viral stories, it's at least worth noting...

Either way, assuming the story is accurate, it once again shows some of the unique power of modern communication technology -- even as some still continue to decry things like Twitter as useless. Prior to that, people could have posted a "lost dog!" message online, but the chances of it ever actually connecting with the owner were much more slim. But a service like Twitter, that makes it so easy to spread and share such info, creates the perfect conditions to make something like this happen.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Alana (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 12:45am

    Sorry, couldn't resist

    "The dog has it's own twitter feed"

    ...So he's feeding off birds?

     

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    Alana (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 12:46am

    Sorry, couldn't resist

    "The dog has it's own twitter feed"

    ...So he's feeding off birds?

     

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      Alana (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 1:18am

      Re: Sorry, couldn't resist

      Oh what the hell that's the second time an accidental doublepost happened due to an 'error' on Techdirt for me. :|

      ((I use Google Chrome, that could be a reason))

       

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 1:32am

      Re: Sorry, couldn't resist

      From looking at the feed it seems to be lots of retweets about the story getting world wide coverage, cute dog things, retweets of lost animal and lost people reports.
      Seems like an interesting use....

       

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 1:33am

    "That appears to be the only time she tweeted at the Irish Rail since her account first appeared about a year ago. I'm guessing that's just a weird coincidence, though in this day of faux viral stories, it's at least worth noting..."

    Well, yes and no. I follow about 300 people on Twitter, and I'll bet there's less than 50 I've ever tweeted to directly. Most of them are update feeds for companies or celebrities I'm interested in getting information from, but never feel the need to respond unless I want more info on something specific.

    While the above might indicate a faux story, it might also simply be a case of her following their feed for news on special offers, etc., but never having felt the need to talk to them before.

     

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 1:56am

      Re:

      Mike most likely was trying to beat the trolls to pointing out its a recent account with former ties to the rail account and this is all faked.

      No feel good story can possibly be real...

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2012 @ 2:07am

    The question that hasn't been asked in the article: was Twitter really necessary? I mean if you leave your dog on a train, there's a good chance you'll know where you left him. And if it's a train, it should be easy to find him...

    Back in the day before the Internet, I would have called the train company and asked if they had found a dog on one of their trains. They would have answered affirmatively, told me where I could pick him up, and I'd have my dog back.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 2:24am

      Re:

      Try reading the article. The dog wasn't left on a train, it wandered onto a train at a rural station the morning after the owner lost it, and then was left at the train's final stop when it was clear the owner wasn't on the train. The owner had no way of knowing it was on a train to begin with.

      Would you honestly have been ringing train stations if you hadn't been near a train when the dog disappeared? I think not.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2012 @ 2:45am

    The most impressive part is that she found that on Tweeter.

    Since I don't have a Tweeter account, or Facebook I pretty much guarantee I would never find that dog again.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 4:22am

    Mmmmm

    Mmmm, pretty Irish girl who's a dog lover....

     

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    blert, Jul 11th, 2012 @ 4:33am

    in this day of faux viral stories, it's at least worth noting...

    In defence of the story, I find it really hard to believe it faked. Simply because its Irish rail, for anybody who uses their services(since its a state company and the only train company in the country, anybody who gets a train) this seems far to creative for them to think up. Also fail to see any benefit to them making up a story like this.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2012 @ 4:43am

    wow, so , yeah, Mike, no one ever found a lost dog before twitter...yeah, way to create a story about nothing, about a story, about nothing

    radio, newspaper, telegrams, barkers...yeah, no one ever used any technology before to find a lost item.....

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2012 @ 5:00am

      Re:

      Hey AC! Way to write a comment about nothing...

      Oh noes. I've written a comment about nothing about a comment about nothing. Where will it end?

       

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      The Groove Tiger (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 9:09am

      Re:

      Wow? Bow wow!

       

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      Chosen Reject (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 9:37am

      Re:

      Radio: Because Irish rail would have immediately made a radio announcement and made sure it got played over and over until the dog owner was found.

      Newspaper: Because then the dog owner would have been found within 32 minutes...after receiving the paper...the next day.

      Telegrams: Because Irish rail would have sent a telegram to everyone that has ever used Irish Rail.

      Barkers: Because every barker would have been asked to spread this news as no other event would have superseded it in importance.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2012 @ 2:38am

      Re:

      Ah, now I get it hurricane head. You're mad because you used technology to find your lost cause, but you couldn't find it.

      Did you consider asking your sleeping giant artist friends to help you out? I think a few of them can afford to wake up just a bit!

       

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    Deirdre (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 5:12am

    My Jack Russells loved to travel and occasionally would jump in a stranger's car if a door was open. I would have to retrieve them with apologies. I could see one wanting a train ride. Love the airplane ears in the picture with his owner. He did not want to be held right then.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2012 @ 6:42am

    Oh wow! A story on Techdirt that doesn't make me want to pound my head against the keyboard in rage at human stupidity for once!

    Nice, touching story. Cute girl too.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2012 @ 7:18am

    Why isn't there a Facebook page or Twitter feed for lost pets? With almost a billion people, you'd think there'd be a lost and found page.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 8:15am

      Re:

      "Why isn't there a Facebook page or Twitter feed for lost pets?"

      There are, as there are Craigslist groups, etc., not to mention a huge number of local charities and so on (seriously, Google "lost pet" and see how many sites come up).

      "With almost a billion people, you'd think there'd be a lost and found page."

      A billion *worldwide*. Finding lost items is a completely local activity. It's hardly a lucrative area on a global basis as every single post will have a relatively tiny number of people who find them relevant. People aren't going to use a site to find their lost puppy in London or Beijing if most of the people posting there are in New York or Chicago...

       

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    GMacGuffin (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 7:22am

    I honestly thought Twitter was a useless trifle until the CA Easter 2010 earthquake, that we felt on a mesa in San Diego - which meant it had to be huge (no significant fault line here). But no news anywhere about it.

    So I joined Twitter to see who else was affected, and instantly learned that it was felt up in LA and all the way out to AZ. I.e., huge - probably in the desert (which turned out to be the case). Most useful, it turns out.

    Now when something big goes down, I go to Twitter first.

     

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    Beta (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 7:53am

    our cave-man anscestors

    To think this poor dog would never have been reunited with its owner without the marvel that is Twitter.

    Unless, I don't know, maybe she had given it a subcutaneous RFID ID chip. Or a GPS tracking device. Or an ear tattoo with her email address. Or a leathern collar with a small tag bearing her telephone number.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Jul 11th, 2012 @ 8:24am

      Re: our cave-man anscestors

      Erm, the first 2 still depend on new technology, so don't change the focus of the article. The 3rd would be something of a nightmare if she ever changed her email address, or sold the dog to a new owner, don't you think? Collars can also break, come off or have the number rendered illegible. So, while those all might be good ideas, they're hardly foolproof or prove the article wrong in any way.

      Also, none of the options you suggest would have been available to "our caveman ancestors", so I'm not entirely sure what your point is.

       

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    Trickster Goddess, Jul 11th, 2012 @ 4:02pm

    Twitter is the Internet's grapevine.

     

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    EmuPlainsVet, Oct 5th, 2013 @ 11:35am

    As long as they reunited with the help of that person and the social media used. Thanks

     

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