PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Seven-year-old Zeus does not want for anything after his return home.
The day after he was adopted from the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, he ran off.
“He just kind of bolted and took off, across West Liberty,” said Zeus’ owner, Maria Mahe.
Owners Mahe and Billy McGonigle watched as their new dog hit into a moving car and kept running. Phone calls were made, missing posters went up and then maria was introduced to “Lost Dogs Pittsburgh.”
“People were just following it on Facebook,” Mahe said. “And we were just getting so many phone calls, like, ‘Yeah, we saw you on Facebook. You’re looking for your dog. We just spotted your dog.’”
“It was awful,” she continued, “because we knew he was around here. But it was great because we knew he was OK.”
Once a post is made on the site, people comment on any sightings and that’s where the search parties get involved.
“We’re getting more lost dogs found on a daily basis,” said volunteer Peggy Buckley.
Buckley was instrumental in finding Zeus, just more than a week after he went missing. Buckley has dedicated more than 30 years to searching for missing dogs. She says the Lost Dogs Pittsburgh page has only improved her success rate.
“We were dependent on phone calls,” she said. “Now we have a whole page of daily, minute-by-minute sightings. People with smart phones can post right away where they are.”
One volunteer made a map when looking for another lost dog – pinpointing all the sightings reported. That pup was found after five days.
They’re not all success stories yet. Followers are still holding out hope for some, like a dog named Bella that’s been missing for more than a year.
The page is inundated with updates on dogs like Bella, hopeful for their safe return one day. The page is also used for people who find wandering dogs, which has also helped reunite owners with the runaways.
Mahe and McGonigle, say because of the Facebook page and the amazing efforts of the search party, Zeus remains a part of their lives.
“It was amazing,” Mahe said. “The amount of people that came out from the Facebook page, from the shelter. I would have never expected that much help.”