The internet is a strange and often dangerous place. New features and platforms are constantly popping up across the web, and the amount of possibilities for good and evil are dizzying.
While online bullying is one result of the variety of features available, Facebook and other sites have also been used to locate critical items for at-risk individuals, reunite people, and spread cheer. In this particular story, social media was used to bring about the best possible outcome between a man and his best friend.
Barry Gearhart got a small pup nine years ago. The little dog was a pit bull that he named Titan, and the two became very close. Titan was Gearhart’s best bud. He went everywhere with his master, and the bond between them was strong.
One day in 2015, when Titan was eight years old, Gearhart took Titan with him in the truck as he went to the gym. He left the dog in his car, worked out, and returned — but when he got back to the truck, the dog was gone.
Terrified about losing his dog, he looked everywhere for him. There was no way the pit bull could have found his way out of the truck, this was clearly human work.
Indeed, the security guard nearby confirmed that he’d seen a man leading the dog away. He must not have known the man walking the dog was not the dog’s real owner.
Gearhart was heartbroken and posted photos everywhere he could think of. Photos of Titan covered the immediate area and every corner of the internet. But no one responded.
Months passed, but Gearhart never gave up. He would occasionally post more photos and please for help. One Sunday in 2016, however, his post received some encouraging news. Several people recognized the dog’s photo but they knew him by another name: Hank.
Hank was a last-chance pup at a local shelter. He’d been picked up in pretty bad shape as a stray weeks ago, but fortunately the caring staff had worked him back to health. With no microchip and no tags, they couldn’t tell anything about his past except that he’d seen some rough days.
As an 8-year-old pit bull, it was difficult to find “Hank” a home. The shelter even put him through socialization classes, but not even that attracted prospective owners. Day after day, people passed by the cage as his time slowly melted away.
With only two days left before Hank was scheduled to be put down, Gearhart followed up on the lead to see if the dog could possible be his. You’d think that with all the people passing his cage every day, the dejected dog would have just given up — but as soon a Gearhart knelt down and spoke to him, the dog leapt up and began crying.
“Hank” was indeed “Titan!” His owner, filming the reunion, is clearly fighting back tears.
“I’ve cried over this dog for more than a year,” revealed Gearhart. “I cried. I cried when I realized it was him.”
Thanks to some observant good Samaritans, a caring animal control staff, and a vigilant dog parent, Titan is back with Gearhart. No one knows what happened in the year since Titan’s disappearance, but now he is safe, he is home, and he is back with his rightful owner.