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Fredo, a rescue dog, sticks his head out of the Tors’ car as they drive in the Plumas Pines area. Photo submitted
A dog is a creature of remarkable loyalty and courage. The Tors family experienced firsthand the true capacity of those canine characteristics when the couple’s dog, Fredo, disappeared for nine days and miraculously found his way back home.
Ryan and Jane Tors have been coming to the Graeagle area for years. They bought a cabin on C Road in Clio in 2010. There, the couple from Reno and their two rescue dogs, Quincy and Fredo, spend the weekends enjoying the beauty of the mountains.
The night of Dec. 4, 2013, the two went to dinner at The Coyote restaurant in Graeagle, leaving Quincy and Fredo in their camper in the parking lot.
When they returned to the camper it was dark, so the couple didn’t notice that one of their dogs was missing. It wasn’t clear until Ryan opened the door when they got home and out leapt only one dog.
“I thought it was very odd,” Ryan said. “Like somebody had opened up the camper door … It was just crazy, like someone had stolen him.”
Ryan said the 70-pound black-and-white border collie was an especially skittish dog, because he had spent most of his life in shelters. His cautious behavior resulted in him being returned to shelters multiple times.
According to Ryan, when the Tors finally opened their home to Fredo, the employees at the shelter in Reno were clapping and in tears because he had finally found a forever home.
However, the night he got lost, the Tors knew his fear of humans was going to make it very difficult for them to find him again.
The couple returned to the restaurant that night and started combing the town looking for a border collie with a red collar, but the blackness of the night prevented them from making any real headway.
Ryan, a slot director at the Peppermill in Reno, spent his mornings and evenings searching for the dog, even taking days off work.
Signs were posted all over the town and an ad went out in the newspaper. Then the record-breaking cold front hit Plumas County.
“It was just looking terrible,” Ryan said. “We just expected the worse.”
He recollected driving around and the temperature gauge reading negative 22 degrees.
Then, on day seven, they got the first phone call. Someone reported seeing Fredo near Graeagle Meadows Golf Course.
The phone calls continued to come in. The Graeagle Fire Department got involved, Graeagle Land and Water set out a trap, and Graeagle Community Church made an announcement alerting people to be on the lookout for Fredo.
Ryan said Fredo was too scared to come up to anyone, and every time someone saw him he was trotting with his tail between his legs. Ryan would go to try to bring him home, but by the time he got there Fredo was gone.
On Dec. 13, Ryan had the night shift in Reno. He returned to the cabin at 5 in the morning. He said as he was pulling up a shooting star splashed across the sky and he thought it was Fredo finally saying good-bye.
However, when he got out of the car he saw a silhouette inside his camper, which had the door open. It was Fredo, weak and scared and right back in the place they left him.
“I was ecstatic,” Ryan said. “It would’ve been a very empty life without him.”
Fredo had swollen paws, a few scratches and had lost weight. It took him a few days to readjust to his old life. But Christmas morning he was there at 5 a.m. pulling the blankets off the couple’s bed to wake them up.
“He’s a miracle dog,” said Ryan. “We will never know the stories … Who knows how he got by when it was so cold and miserable. But him coming back was just the best Christmas present I could have asked for.”
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