Sabine Conrad plays with her French sheepdog El Lobo in front of the snow-covered rooftops of Erfurt, central Germany, on Jan. 17.
Slideshow: Winter's frozen splendor
Deirdre Anglin is reunited with her Jack Russell terrier Patch Wednesday July 4, 2012 in Dublin, Ireland.
By Shawn Pogatchnik
When Patch hopped aboard the train to Dublin, it took the power of Twitter to reunite the dog with his owner.
Irish Rail sent a "Lost dog!" tweet with a photo attachment after the Jack Russell terrier arrived with Wednesday morning commuters on a train from rural Kilcock, County Kildare, an hour's ride away.
After more than 500 retweets in just 32 minutes, the photo found Patch's owner, Deirdre Anglin, who tweeted the state railway: "That's my dog!"
Jack Russell terrier Patch Wednesday July 4, 2012 in Dublin, Ireland.
The episode underscored the ubiquitous use of mobile-friendly social media sites in Ireland, a tech-savvy corner of Europe where cell phones were the norm long before they were in the United States.
Soon after Patch went missing Tuesday night in Kilcock, 20 miles (30 kilometers) west of Dublin, Anglin said she did "the usual social network thing," posting pictures of the dog on her Facebook account and appealing for followers to spot him.
It wasn't until after Patch waltzed on to the 6:49 a.m. commuter train in Kilcock that the alarm was sounded.
Rail workers on board dubbed the dog Checker, joking he might be trained to inspect people's tickets, as commuters took turns petting the friendly dog. They turned him over to Pearse Street station staff on the train's final stop in the heart of the capital, when it became clear the dog had no owner on board.
Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny described Twitter as offering the ideal platform for launching a nationwide appeal for the lost dog. And he said some staff at Pearse Station wished it hadn't worked so well.
"It was good she showed up so quickly, because the staff in the office were getting quite attached to him," Kenny said.
Anglin said she was particularly pleased that Irish Rail posted Patch's photo on Twitter and noted that the rapid retweets by other users to their own followers ensured that, soon, the alert reached her.
Irish Rail and Anglin posted a series of photos documenting her Dublin reunion with Patch, their return train trip, and car journey home. She said fellow train travelers kept asking her: "Is that the dog from Twitter?"
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Sammy the Pomeranian became an online sensation after owner Scott Smith and Smith's girlfriend, Anna Camara, launched a website starring the dog, but Smith says he is suing his now ex-girlfriend for locking him out of the site he values at $500,000. NBC's Tamron Hall reports and NBC's Willie Geist speaks with Smith.
ASUNCION, Paraguay -- A stray dog is getting credit for thwarting a prison break.
Officials say three dangerous inmates dug a tunnel about 26 feet from their cell to the street and were about to break free just before dawn when the dog began to bark and alerted a guard.
Authorities at the Tacumbu prison on the southern edge of the capital dragged the unlucky prisoners before the media on Friday to tell the tale.
"Because of a stray dog we couldn't escape," complained Hilario Villalba. "When I reached the street, sticking my head out, the stupid dog barked and alerted a guard."
Villalba, who is serving a 30-year double-murder sentence, vowed in his native Guarani language that he'll keep keep trying to escape because he said his sentence isn't fair.
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Volunteers in Chongqing work to rescue over 1,100 dogs that were destined for slaughter.
BEIJING – Call it a Chinese New Year miracle. Earlier this week more than 1,100 dogs destined for the slaughterhouse in Chongqing were saved from an ignoble ending by a pet-loving Good Samaritan.
The China Daily reported that 1,137 dogs were rescued on Monday from the back of a flatbed truck by a 40-year old blogger and volunteer at the Chongqing Small Animal Protection Association (CSAPA) surnamed Peng. Peng found the dogs crammed into tight cages that were stacked high atop each other.
The dogs, who had been condemned to slaughter for food, were instead rescued and taken by CSAPA volunteers to an abandoned pig farm where they were given food, water and medical treatment.
In such cramped quarters, the dogs were reported to have been in poor health and some were found already dead inside their cages. By Thursday 16 dogs had died from injury or distemper while another 30 dogs had been sent to a veterinarian hospital in Chongqing for treatment.
The rescued dogs soon became a sensation in this central Chinese metropolis and hundreds of volunteers and donations began flooding in. One man donated nearly 1,000 square feet of warehouse space to house the dogs for free while there is now enough food to feed the dogs for the next 20-30 days.
But the biggest immediate concern right now is finding enough professional volunteers to help take care of the dogs during the busy Chinese New Year holiday when most people empty out of the big cities and head back to their hometowns.
Long term, many people are wondering how they will find homes for so many dogs. The CSAPA predicts about 20 percent of the dogs will eventually be adopted, but the majority of them will likely never be claimed. The association is now considering whether to solicit donations to build dog houses for the remaining animals.
China has seen a rash of similar animal rescues in recent years. In April of last year, animal lovers banded together and raised $17,960 to pay a truck owner who was holding 580 dogs in cages.
China currently has no animal cruelty laws – a notion made problematic by the still large agrarian population – but as of October of last year, regulations issued by the Ministry of Agriculture require dogs and cats to be quarantined before being shipped around China.
More photos from the rescue can be seen here.
STOCKHOLM -- A Swedish prosecutor on Tuesday charged three men with plotting to murder an artist who depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a dog.
The men, aged 23 to 26 and of Somali and Iraqi origin, were arrested in the city of Goteborg on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
According to the charges filed Tuesday, the men planned to stab to death artist Lars Vilks, who has faced numerous death threats over his drawing of Muhammad in 2007.
An art gallery was evacuated in connection with the arrests, and police originally treated the case as a terror investigation. They later relabeled it as a murder plot.