Social media spurs search for Sadie in Myrtle Beach area

Brent Carr misses his best friend.

The Carolina Forest resident was separated from his canine companion on Thanksgiving Day when Sadie, a 1-year-old female boxer, was spooked by shots on his mom’s farm on Ammons Lane off Highway 814.

Carr, who was shooting a 12-guage shotgun to prepare for a turkey shoot later in the day, saw Sadie wander toward where she had been playing all day, so he thought all was fine. It was about 10 minutes later that his brother’s girlfriend noticed the dog missing, so the search was on.

Family and friends combed the property, printed up fliers and contacted friends in law enforcement to help with the search, but produced few leads.

Carr, determined to locate his four-legged friend, decided Sunday night to take his plea for help to Facebook.

That’s when the Sadie search went global.

Within hours, Carr had concerned folks from Florida to Maine “liking” his Facebook plea to find his prized pup that was a Christmas present from his mother last year. Friends were liking, sharing, and spreading the word in any attempt to help reunite dog and owner.

Before a day had passed, more than 850 people had “liked” his status and hundreds more shared his missing poster – describing Sadie as fawn with a white chest and white paws with a pink and black zebra collar – on their own Facebook statuses.

“I was amazed,” Carr said. “I never knew I could get that many people who don’t even know me to help out. They’re reposting fliers it’s been all over the place.”

The Sadie search is part of a growing trend showing how social media is changing the way pet owners look for lost animals, or how those who find pets try to reunite them with their owners.

Earlier this year, a Conway councilman had his dog tumble from the back of his pickup truck. A following motorist saw the dog’s plight and picked it up, but lost track of his owner on U.S. 501.

A friend of Tom Anderson, the dog’s owner, and Marlaina Abbot, the woman who picked the pet up, put posts on Facebook. Someone who happened to see both posts put the two in touch and Beauregard, the golden retriever in question, was returned safely home.

“I’ve never Facebooked, but I’ll tell you what, Facebook has an awesome power,” Anderson said at the time.

Shelters and organizations are picking up on the phenomenon and have taken to the social media site to not only reunite pets with owners, but bring animals to new owners and announce fundraisers, as well.

Sandy Brown, executive director of the Grand Strand Humane Society, said the facility recently changed its Facebook page from a personal to a business, allowing more people to “like” the facility. As of Tuesday evening, 6,341 liked the Humane Society’s page and another 584 liked the Homeless Pets of Myrtle Beach page.

“We had a nice couple bring in a lab a few minutes ago,” Brown said Tuesday. “We took a photo, got information where they found the dog and put it all on Facebook with the family’s cellphone number.

“The last time that happened, we found the owner that afternoon.”

Brown said more people are becoming accustomed to visiting the Facebook page whenever they find or lose a pet. She added that there has been much more success using social media.

“They are learning that if they use Facebook and come here that they’re very likely to be reunited,” Brown said. “We love to reunite parents with their canine and feline children.”

Although the Grand Strand Humane Society only lists animals within the Myrtle Beach city limits, Carr is hoping for the same kind of success.

If he finds it, he can thank friend Aimee Allenback, who has taken the Sadie search crusade personally both for dog and owner.

“Honestly, we know a lot of people lose pets,” she said. “But pets are like family and (Brent) is a good person who needs help and we can only cover so much ground with our feet.”

Nevertheless, the outpouring of support has even surprised Allenback, who said many of Carr’s friends have watched “his baby” grow up through pictures on his Facebook page. So, she’s in for the long haul until Sadie and Carr are reunited.

“I was blown away to have friends across the country take the time to go to his status, take the time to like it and then share it,” Allenback said. “It’s truly been social media that has brought this to light on a global scale.

“I don’t know if it will work, but it has to help.”