When Amanda Nichols' dog, Clyde, went missing, she found a sympathetic and energetic search team via Twitter, Facebook and other local websites.
Can the Internet help find a missing dog? Across online social networks and through messages posted to neighborhood listservs, the question has gone out: Have you seen Clyde?
The 1-year-old coonhound mix has been missing since Dec. 2, when he slipped out of collar, away from his owner, Amanda Nichols, and into the cold during an afternoon walk on the Boulevard.
Nichols' first attempts to spread the word about her missing pet were traditional. She tacked large, neon-colored signs on light poles across north Richmond. Then she and members of her family sent e-mails to civic groups in Ginter Park, Sherwood Park and the Fan.
Then news of Clyde's disappearance was tweeted, posted to Craigslist and mentioned on a host of community Facebook profiles. While she and other volunteer searchers comb the streets, she gets updates on possible Clyde sightings via e-mail, such as: “Clyde was spotted at Confederate and Palmyra around 4:15 this afternoon. Please crosspost to everyone in the area!!!!”
Nichols says she last saw Clyde, a somewhat skittish rescue dog who she adopted from the Henrico Humane Society six months ago, hiding behind Christ Ascension Church on West Laburnum Avenue a week ago, just before a winter storm dropped a sprinkling of snow on the city. Undeterred by the failed attempt to coax him into a collar before he ran away, she continues to receive tips, prayers and offers of help via e-mail (email@example.com). “I'll do anything to get him home and safe,” Nichols says.