Bryan Mason was determined to find Sparky the dog after he ran off one day in San Francisco—and flyers alone weren't going to do the trick. Instead, Mason set up a Google Map, pinning spots where Sparky, originally his fiancee's dog, had been sighted. He also created a Facebook page, Find Sparky Now, which offered a $1,000 reward and got 32,000 views with help from an $80 sponsored post. Then, using a service called TaskRabbit, Mason gathered workers to distribute 2,500 flyers and 5,000 handbills. He paid them $20 an hour.
Perhaps most interestingly, he also collected 6½ gallons of urine, on the instructions of a professional pet tracker. The expert said to get the urine "from someone Sparky knows well, dilute it, and create a trail to a safe place." Fortunately, he never had to use it: A phone call 10 days after Sparky disappeared led to a backyard where a search party found the pooch. In all, Mason spent $1,000 on the search. Sounds like it was worth it to the family man: "As I plan to marry Holly, I want her to know what kind of commitment I have to her," he tells the San Francisco Chronicle. "As I try to help (son) Hank grow into a man, I want to lead by example." (Read more uplifting news stories.)