Just when the world seems to be tottering on the brink of chaos, people do and say some amazing things to remind us that maybe there’s some hope for the world after all. We are told that little miracles and acts of compassion occur every day, somewhere around this country and overseas, making a difference in the lives of ordinary folk. We don’t always hear about that, but check out the closing segment of evening network news broadcasts and you’ll understand.
In Gallia County during the past week, individuals and businesses have been turning out to help find an English Bulldog named Izzy that disappeared from the Patriot-area home of its owner, Sherry Skidmore Russell, sometime on June 16. As Sherry has assured anyone who’s asked, Izzy wouldn’t have wandered off on her own, primarily because she cannot tolerate high temperatures. Friends and volunteers have scoured the area near the Russell home with no result as of this writing.
Okay, dogs go missing all the time. So why the big deal? It goes beyond the identification of Izzy as a member of the family. It is her owner’s overriding desire to reclaim Izzy that has led her to use social media so extensively, leading to more than 3,000 Facebook shares within the first few days of the campaign to bring Izzy home. Secondly, the incident has prompted a number of people living nearby to share information about their dogs going missing, with the disappearance of another English Bulldog, a male this time, reportedly occurring from a home near Russell’s the day after Izzy vanished. Suspicion is being attracted to the possibility of a dog thief or thieves operating in the area, scrounging up a dishonest buck through a quick sale without a single thought of the anguish inflicted on owners like Russell and others in shared FB posts.
Response to the situation has been terrific, to say the least, more so than ever expected. Individuals have contributed to the reward offered for Izzy’s return, businesses have pledged assistance, even one offering to serve as a no-questions-asked drop site for Izzy, provided those who have taken her can find it in whatever passes for their hearts to return her. Others have gone out and searched for Izzy based on the photos her owner has posted. It’s an appeal that’s unexpectedly struck a nerve with people and further evidence that social media serves another purpose beyond communicating our thoughts with one another.
Social media unites us as well as divides us, informs and misleads, delights and angers. But it has the power to get out a message and elicit support for what individuals have to say or want to do, even if it is something as simple as a pet owner who only wants her dog back. People relate because pets have become part of their owners’ lives, not some addition for the family photo that could have been easily borrowed from the neighbors.
As my wife and I are still reflecting on the passing of the Dachsund that had been so much of our daily existence for almost a decade, we realize such concern for our four-legged friends is real and abiding. Therefore, responding to a cry for help in retrieving a missing dog becomes more understandable for all who have made room in our homes and hearts for canines, cats and other animals we can safely keep. As a result of the buzz generated online by the search for Izzy, Gallia County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Troy Johnson said awareness of concerns are heightened. “We are doing our due diligence and checking them out,” Johnson said about law enforcement’s response to missing dog reports.
We applaud the response that’s been generated so that Izzy, as well as all of those dogs unwillingly taken from their homes, are reunited with their owners. At the same time, as the 24-hour news cycle becomes even more depressing with coverage of all of the strife and discord in the world, it’s encouraging that at least locally, people have taken time out of their busy routine to lend a hand and show that they care for a helpless pet and her distressed owner.
And that really says something.
Kevin Kelly, who was affiliated with Ohio Valley Publishing for 21 years, resides in Vinton, Ohio.