CHICAGO — The Twitterverse has fallen in love with a dog Chicagoan Eve Ewing found roaming around on the West Side this week, so she'd have no trouble finding a new home — but Ewing is determined to return her with her old one.
Ewing was driving to a meeting Tuesday when she noticed a dog near the intersection of Sacramento Boulevard and Chicago Avenue.
“I thought this is just somebody’s dog that wandered out of the backyard or something,” said Ewing, a writer and sociologist at the University of Chicago who is also a prolific and oft-cited Tweeter.
Ewing took the dog home and posted snapshots to Twitter, hoping to connect, if indirectly, with her owner. An owner hasn't been found yet, but the dog's photos have lit up the Twitterverse.
The first Tweet now has more than 3,000 likes and has been retweeted more than 400 times, with folks sharing adoption stories and photos of their own pets.
"I don’t think of myself as having done anything remarkable," said Ewing, who mostly uses Twitter to comment on pop culture, Chicago politics and race relations.
But her dog posts have led to an unofficial citywide effort to reunite the pup with its parents.
"I think that [it] resonates with people in a time when people are feeling powerless and small."
soooo. I was driving on the West Side today and this little one was wandering around in and out of traffic. and now she's with me 🙄 oops pic.twitter.com/THXIX7NAsK— wikipedia brown (@eveewing) April 18, 2017
The dog, who Ewing named Winnie, was wearing a collar, an indication that she might have a microchip, a tiny piece of tech implanted in dogs and cats that carries data on its owner(s) and their contact info. A scan revealed that she was indeed chipped.
But when Ewing called the number listed with Winnie's chip, she was told the dog isn't registered to anyone. The Logan Square Animal Hospital, which implanted the dog's chip originally, had no record of the dog or its owner.
While some people assume a chip guarantees a dog can be tracked if it goes missing, that's not always the case. It's not uncommon that owners forget to register entirely, or failed to re-register their pets when they move, according to local veterinarians.
"It happens a lot, that you get a chip that will scan, but there's no information attached to it," said Dr. Tricia Mullen of Wicker Park Veterinary Clinic, 1166 N. Milwaukee Ave., who has been working for animal hospitals for about 30 years.
Based on her experience, Mullen said there's very little chance the chip just stopped working. The owner, she said, is responsible for keeping up with registration.
Ewing said she and her partner have posted on different forums and Facebook groups for missing pets, but have yet to find the owner.
Until then, Ewing promised not to send Winnie to a shelter.
"There’s maybe somebody out there that misses her," Ewing said. "My first hope is that if she has a home that’s waiting for her, she goes there."
I've been calling her Winnie. And yes she wiggled into my lap in the car. I became the lady with the little dog in the driver's seat. pic.twitter.com/Qff42316G2— wikipedia brown (@eveewing) April 18, 2017
Update: we are going to the animal hospital where Winnie was chipped to see if they can scan her and find her people. pic.twitter.com/Z9V48SA0n8— wikipedia brown (@eveewing) April 18, 2017