I spend too much time on Facebook. “I’m a reader,” I tell myself. “What am I doing on here? I should be reading that novel I started … where did it go?” And, there are all the negative comments and people still believing the craziest things and posting them without checking them out — still, after everything.
The real reason I’m on Facebook so much is because, when I had my own dog rescue for 10 years, it saved many hundreds of lives. I still share and connect people with dogs, find transporters willing to get an animal in need to his or her new home, help get dogs in out of the way places to rescues specializing in their breed, or connect people who don’t have much money with the help their pets need, and more. I’m what you’d call a go-to person for anyone needing anything having to do with helping animals — from dogs to cats to horses to cows, goats, pigs … you get the idea.
On Sunday, Dec. 22, at 2:20 p.m., I received a text from my friend Janie: “My 12-year-old toy Aussie is missing. Where can I post her information so I can get her home?”
What followed were details about Callie, a little 12-year-old, 24-pound dog. Janie had left for Reno the previous day to take her dog, Buddy, to the emergency vet, and her kids thought Callie went, too. She had been out for 11 hours before they realized Callie was gone. It was dark and raining. They looked everywhere.
“I’m heartbroken,” said Janie.
She sent a photo. Callie — a beautiful little blue merle, long haired dog with bright eyes, one of them blue, looked out at me.
I didn’t tell Janie about the sinking feeling in my stomach. Janie and her family live right at the edge of Highway 70 in Cromberg. Behind them stretches miles and miles of national forest, which means coyotes and other wild animals. And, lost somewhere in between was a beloved, older, frightened little dog.
I asked a few more details, such as: “Did she have a collar? Was she microchipped?” I figured out how long she’d been gone. Then, I posted Callie’s story and Janie’s contact information on my Facebook page. I added a comment at the beginning asking my friends to help by sharing the post. I tagged a lot of my rescue and animal loving friends. I tried not to think of all the bad things that could have happened to this sweet dog.
When Janie contacted me, I was in Reno getting ready to take my own dog in for treatment at her vet. I posted Callie’s story while making a Starbuck’s stop. After the vet — which involved cold laser treatment and a delicate bandage change — I made the long drive home.
It was about 5:30, just three hours after my original post, when I checked Facebook and noticed people commenting on it. Callie’s post had been shared by friends nearly 60 times. I have about a thousand Facebook “friends,” most of them dedicated animal lovers. If the 60 who shared had even half that number, we were definitely getting the word out, I thought.
I texted Janie to cheer her up. “Callie’s post has been shared almost 60 times,” I wrote.
Janie texted back immediately, “Just got off the phone. Someone saw your post. They are meeting me between here and Reno with Callie.”
I called Janie immediately. She was crying. The people who had Callie had been driving home the night before and saw this little dog curled up in a ball at the side of the road in the rain. They went door to door, but no one knew her. Janie said it must’ve been during the time her family was out looking for Callie.
Not knowing what else to do, they took her home to Reno, and they posted her on Craigslist. Someone who saw my Facebook post found the post on Craigslist and contacted the finders, who called Janie. They made plans to leave immediately and meet halfway between Reno and Cromberg.
Janie was crying and thanking me. To be honest, I was crying too. “Just take a photo of Callie once you have her back and send it to me,” I said.
By 8:40 p.m., I had the photo. There is Callie, sitting with her family, a big smile on her face. That is the power of Facebook, and social media, to do good. I don’t think I could’ve felt much better at that moment. And, that reminder of hope, of the good that people can do, and of the small, but vital part we all can play, came just at the right time for me, at the end of a pretty bleak year.
So, here’s to Callie, to her beautiful life, for reminding me what matters.