It’s fair to say that an animal returning to its home of six years following a six-month disappearance is not an every day occurrence. Add to this, that same animal being abducted 25 miles north of this home and finding its way back in the dead of winter— that would be unheard of.
For Oakdale resident Tony Fricano, however, that is exactly what happened in the case of his missing 9-year-old female Chihuahua, Odie.
According to Fricano, the dog went missing in June of 2009.
“I was taking care of some things in Stockton and stopped to do some grocery shopping,” he said of his trip in June. “I left her in the car and when I came out I let her out while I loaded my groceries into the trunk.”
Fricano indicated that the obedient Chihuahua was allowed to roam in a safe place just a few feet from where he was parked. When he completed loading his car and went to retrieve the dog, she along with some teens who had been loitering in front of the store, were gone.
“I had heard one of the kids say, ‘I could just steal that dog’,” Fricano recalled, “but I didn’t really give it much thought.”
Fricano circled the neighborhood surrounding the market and came up empty. Over the course of the following months he returned to the area putting up reward posters and checking in with the local market where he had last seen her. After a number of empty leads the Oakdale man began to accept that Odie was not coming home.
In late December of 2009, Fricano received word that he needed to contact the Ripon Police department concerning his dog Odie. As it turned out, he had resided in Ripon with Odie for six years before moving to Oakdale. Odie had found her way back to that Ripon residence and was captured and turned in by past neighbors, as the microchip he had placed in the dog when they relocated to Oakdale paid its dividends.
“I could not believe how she had gotten away and that she had made it to Ripon,” he said of the traveling pooch.
After the roughly 25-mile trek the 10-pound dog was suffering from being malnourishment and had severe hair loss.
The dog owner shared he was warned of her condition by the officer prior to seeing his beloved companion.
“The way the woman put it was, ‘you may want to consider surrendering her’,” he shared, adding that the idea in itself was unthinkable.
“I nursed her back to health,” Fricano said of Odie. “Now look at her, she’s healthy and feisty as ever.”
The void Fricano was left with during that six-month period, prompted him to purchase another Deer Chihuahua, once again named Odie.
“Now I have Odie 1 and 2,” he said. “And when I take them for a walk they are never far. When I go in a business I lock their two leashes. So they can’t be taken from the pole.
“They’re just amazing animals,” he said of his love for his pets.