RIP, Frito.

Dear friends,

Frito, on a cold winter day staying warm by the fire with his pals Ed and SweetPea

I lost my canine friend Frito yesterday. He was a sweet soul who had been with me for nine years, the Chihuahua who didn’t know he was a Chihuahua because he lived outside and loved to romp and roam with our Golden Retriever, Ed.

I picked him out of a large litter of Chihuahua puppies on my 40th birthday. I wanted a long-haired dog, but chose him instead for his quiet and polite disposition and distinctly un-Chihuahua-like behavior.  Parker, who was seven at the time, named him. Frito never yipped or nipped, rarely barked, and was as congenial a dog as I ever met. As Mr. Mom said when we buried him in a shady spot on our acreage not far from our back door, “Here lies Frito — beloved family pet and friend to all.”

Frito and Ed going fishing with the boys earlier this month

We know what happened and yet we don’t know what happened. I was leaving my office mid-afternoon to drive to a nearby meeting when my neighbor pulled up and flagged me down. She looked shaken and said she was sorry to tell me she had found Frito dead in her backyard. She had gone home to let her dogs out when she spotted him from her back door. She had tried to reach Mr. Mom but couldn’t, so she came to my office. To make matters worse, the poor dear works for me, so she had to tell her neighbor and her boss that my pet had died. At her house.

I left the office immediately and tracked down Mr. Mom and we walked to our neighbor’s house — me in my business suit and heels, where we found our little friend lying on his side in the middle of her fenced back yard. Mr. Mom took one look and knew immediately. Frito had been shot. Twice, at close range with a large-caliber gun.

We don’t know who would do such a thing and, since we don’t think the shooter did it in the middle of our neighbor’s back yard, we believe Frito was dumped after he was shot. Why our neighbor’s yard? We don’t know.

Frito had long been a wandering soul. We managed to mostly keep him corralled in our old home, except during thunderstorms. But in our new place, we simply couldn’t keep him fenced (even though we have a pasture with an electric fence installed by the former owner who raised goats). We worried at first about our little escape artist, but our neighbors seemed to have grown fond of him. We know many of them fed him and welcomed him into their homes and yards because they told us. It’s hard to imagine there’s a neighbor that disliked Frito so much he would empty two bullets into the very small and very happy dog that made friends with everybody. The thought of it makes us all sick and, of course, worried for all our other pets.

At first, Mr. Mom thought it might have happened at night. But I know he was shot in broad daylight — some time between when I left for work and 2 p.m. because I fed Frito breakfast on the deck early yesterday morning. I found some leftover Kitchen Sink Soup while pulling my own breakfast out of the fridge and I knew Frito would love it. Even though it is Parker’s morning chore to feed our dogs, I decided to surprise Frito with a rare treat. And he got to enjoy most of it alone before Ed caught a whiff and showed up and took over.

By the time I left for work, Frito and Ed were frolicking in a yard several doors down. Yesterday was a beautiful spring day — sunny and 62 degrees. At least I have the comfort of knowing Frito had a tasty breakfast and a beautiful day on his last. I will miss my sweet and happy friend, as will all of us in our home, especially Ed, who was Frito’s bunk-mate and heating blanket in their shared doghouse.

With gratitude {for my faithful companion, running buddy, and best birthday gift ever},

Joan, who believes the person who did this brutal thing must be a tortured soul and hopes he somehow finds peace and light in this world

Frito and Kate, when they were both much younger


  1. It’s hard to imagine some one that could do that, RIP Frito. D&H

  2. texasdeb says:

    I was shocked and saddened to read of the cruel act that has taken Frito so abruptly away from you. I’m sure there are lessons to be learned in all this but honestly, my brain keeps buzzing with angry thoughts of discovering who did this and making sure they are prevented from doing anything like it again. Words won’t come past that except to say I am so very sorry.

  3. Allison says:

    I’m so sorry about your Frito. He was a lucky little fellow to have such good friends (two and four-legged).

  4. IrishJenn says:

    It’s too horrible. I don’t know what to say. I’m so very sorry you lost your beloved pet like this. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  5. We had a Cocker Spaniel, one of our neighbors shot him with a BB gun. The BB lodged in my poor Midnight’s spine. He drug himself home that morning because his back half was paralyzed. We had to take him to the vet to be put to sleep. It was one of the hardest things we have ever done. We found out a few years later who did it and yes, he was a tortured soul and a very unhappy person.
    I am so very sorry you have lost Frito.

  6. So sorry to you, your family and your other 4 legged family members for the loss of your little friend. Know Frito will always have a special place in your hearts forever.

  7. Juanita Clark says:

    I am overwhelmed with sorrow for you and your family. It is hard to lose a faithful friend.

  8. Oh Joan, that is so sad. I’m very sorry that something so horrible happened to sweet little Frito. I know that he had a life filled with love in your family. I hope that you might report this to the local sheriff. It probably wouldn’t be too difficult for them to look up gun registrations within a few miles of your home and determine who they should keep an eye on in case this troubled person acts out again. My heart goes out to all of you.

  9. Oh my God. I can’t even imagine. You’re a much more forgiving person than I. I’d probably get my own gun and go find that, that . . . well, bad person.

    I’m so, so sorry for you and all your family. And Ed.

  10. I’m so sad for you all. Who would do such a thing? Poor, sweet Frito. My sympathy and pet-loving tears go out to you.


  1. […] align, she’ll come home with us. We’ve been thinking of adopting a new dog ever since Frito died, and if this adoption happens, March will be officially […]

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