When Patch lept aboard the Dublin train, it took the power of Twitter to reunite the dog with his owner.
Irish Rail sent a "Lost dog!" tweet with a photo attachment after the Jack Russell terrier arrived with Wednesday morning commuters on a train from rural Kilcock, County Kildare, an hour's ride away. After 500 retweets in just 32 minutes, the photo found Patch's owner, Deirdre Anglin, who tweeted the state railway: "That's my dog!"
Soon after Patch went missing Tuesday night in Kilcock, 20 miles (30 kilometers) west of Dublin, Anglin reportedly did "the usual social network thing," posting pictures on her Facebook account and appealing for followers to spot him. It wasn't until after Patch waltzed on to the 6:49 a.m. commuter train in Kilcock that the alarm/delight was sounded.
Rail workers on board dubbed the dog Checker, joking he might be trained to inspect people's tickets, as commuters took turns petting the friendly dog. They turned him over to Pearse Street station staff on the train's final stop in the heart of the capital, when it became clear the dog had no owner on board.
Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny described Twitter as offering the ideal platform for launching a nationwide appeal for the lost dog. And he said some staff at Pearse Station wished it hadn't worked so well. "It was good she showed up so quickly, because the staff in the office were getting quite attached to him," Kenny said.