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Lost yellow Labs found with help of Facebook

FALLS VILLAGE — It was late Sunday evening, Jan. 15. Folks in the area were still chatting on Facebook about the New York Giants’ win when a post popped up in a string of comments started by Marshall Miles, co-owner of National Public Radio Station WHDD in Sharon. The plea from Falls Village Animal Control Officer Mary Palmer alerted Facebookers that two yellow Labrador retrievers, visiting with their owners from Pound Ridge, N.Y., had taken off about 4:30 p.m. from a home at the corner of routes 126 and 63. One was a 9-year-old who had surgery two weeks earlier to remove a benign tumor from his stomach. Temperatures were frigid. It was then 9 p.m. The State Police and Sand Road Animal Hospital (the go-to point for found dogs) had been put on alert. Searches proved fruitless.Palmer knew Marshall would get the word out on the radio station and the local public access television station, which is part of Tri-state Communications, which owns the radio station. He is also active on Facebook. Palmer’s first thought, though, was that Miles loves dogs,as do many of his friends. Here’s what happened in West Cornwall, as related to Palmer by Cornwall Animal Control Officer Brad Hedden. Lori Welles reposted Palmer’s plea on her Facebook page. It was seen by Erin Hedden, Brad’s wife. Patience Lindholm later called from River Road in the center of West Cornwall to report two yellow Labs had appeared at her home. Erin Hedden called her husband, an electrician out on an emergency call, and gave him Palmer’s number from the post. The rest is a happy reunion.”But it appears the posting was the catalyst for the successful effort to find the dogs. Less than two hours later, Windy and Jaraboom were found, safe in West Cornwall. They had traveled 7 miles, probably over Music Mountain, which rises up from the backyard where they had been let out just a few minutes before they took off.Palmer posted on Facebook after coming back from searching in her car with her grandson, Mark (who turned 4 on Monday).“I call him Deputy Dawg,” she said, adding that he is her unofficial assistant and was very anxious to help.She credited the remarkable power of social networking and people who care with helping to get the dogs back. Next time, she said, she will probably post on Facebook first. At press time, details about how and where the dogs were found was not yet available.Denise Cohn, director of The Little Guild animal shelter in West Cornwall, lives very near to where the dogs were last seen. She posted a request for help to her own network of online friends and was among those out looking on Sunday night. She agreed that a regionalized alert system is needed.“It should be easy. So many people really care about dogs around here, and there are situations that don’t have to happen. We had a couple of dogs here for four months. We finally adopted them out, and the next day the original owners came looking for them.”Although those first owners lived just two towns away, they apparently were not aware of the shelter and hadn’t come up with their own means of networking to locate their pets.In an email to Palmer the next day, Sharon Love, host to the family whose dogs were lost, wrote that they had a good night’s sleep and a big breakfast and seemed totally fine.“I was so touched by the way people who didn’t even know us mobilized so quickly on our behalf.” she wrote. “Well, mobilized on behalf of the lost dogs!! It really reminded me of how lucky we are to be in the wonderful, special Northwest Corner.”

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