Thanks to Twitter a lost dog has been found. It took just half an hour for dog Patch to be tracked down after Irish Rail tweeted “Lost dog!” along with a photo.

The dog’s owner Dierdre Anglin from County Kildare in Ireland also posted the appeal on Facebook.

Anglin was reunited with Patch after the Irish Rail tweet was retweeted 500 times. Anglin hadn’t left the dog on the train, Patch had walked the mile to the station himself, boarding the train and set off for the bright lights of Dublin.  

Anglin and Irish Rail then went on to document the reunion on Twitter, posting a series of photos documenting their reunion, their return train trip, and car journey home.

The news spread quickly. Anglin said fellow train travellers kept asking her: "Is that the dog from Twitter?”

According to the Mail Online report, Dierdre Anglin said: “This morning my sister and I went onto Facebook to let people know that Patch was missing. But as I was on my way into work, I logged onto Twitter and spotted the tweet by Irish Rail saying that this dog has been found.”

This isn’t the first case of lost and found via Twitter. In a similar story a dog owner who lost her Pembroke Welsh corgi called Andy on New Year’s Eve started an appeal using social networks. The dog has now become a bit of a celebrity via his Facebook page.

Andy’s owner Jordina, used Facebook to find people willing to help track down her beloved pet. Via the social media network, 15 volunteers raised money for night searches for Andy and spread posters across the area. This is a case of social networks opening a gateway to friendly strangers wanting to help those in need and allows them to volunteer to make a difference in society.

Facebook and Twitter have also been used in the past as a lifeline in a time of crisis such as the Japan Quake in 2011. People in Japan and around the world took to Twitter and Facebook to reach out to loved ones.

Technology Business Research analyst Ezra Gottheil said: "Social communications, like Twitter, and social networking sites, like Facebook, are at their best when big news is breaking."

Organizations and relief efforts are also taking to Twitter, posting information about everything from emergency phone lines for non-Japanese speakers to tsunami alerts, altered train schedules and lists of shelters for those left homeless. Another case of social networks being used to promote an appeal is the recent case of Sophie Roberts - £252,058.22 has been raised so far to send Sophie to New York for life saving surgery, with much of the publicity for the case coming via Twitter and Facebook promotion.

In these causes it can be seen how social media networks can be used for so much more than social interaction, they are being used for a helpful purpose when others are in need. Through the use of Twitter, missing pets can be found within the hour and through the use of Facebook volunteers can be gathered to raise money for a cause and even help others in need. It is through these networks and many others that information can go viral and help people such as Dierdre Anglin in finding her dog!