Man Who Saved Abandoned Dog Ends Up With Nine Rescues in Unexpected Twist

A California farmer got more than he bargained for after coming to the rescue of a dog abandoned out in the middle of nowhere.

In a video posted to TikTok under the handle meeshcaroon, his daughter, Michelle Rocha Frea, who is an animal lover herself, detailed how her dad David Frea’s wonderful act of kindness spiraled into something even bigger.

Strays represent a significant proportion of the intake seen in animal shelters across the U.S. According to Shelter Animal Counts, a national database for animal rescues, shelters and human societies, in 2023, 6,550,000 dogs and cats entered shelters and rescues in the U.S. with strays representing 48 percent of that figure.

The sad reality is that many pets are being abandoned against a backdrop of shelters and rescues being stretched to breaking point. Shelter Animal Counts estimates as many as 900,000 animals have entered and so far remained in America’s already busy rescue network.

As a farmer, David has seen the effects of this first hand. “In California people dump dogs out in the country and on our farm,” Michelle told Newsweek.

However, there was something different about Tommy, the dog he rescued. “My dad had a dog named Winn Dixie that was his sidekick at work—she would follow him everywhere and ride in the tractor with him,” Michelle said. “She got killed in a hit and run on the farm two years ago, and my dad was devastated.”

Tommy and Sawyer on the day they were first found. The two dogs have gone on an extraordinary journey together.


Fast-forward to a couple of months ago and David received an unexpected call.

“A friend of my dad’s called him about a couple of dogs who had been dumped out on the street by an agricultural processing plant,” Michelle said. “He called my dad because one of them looked like Winn Dixie.”

That dog would come to be known as Tommy. “My dad took it as a sign and eventually brought him home,” Michelle said.

That might have been the end of the story had Tommy not had other ideas. Having brought him home for the night, David went out. When he got back, Tommy was gone. “He had dug a hole under the fence and gotten out,” she said. “My dad looked for him, driving down the streets etc, but couldn’t find him.”

It wasn’t until the next day that Tommy was found back at the agricultural plant where he had first been rescued. That in itself was remarkable given the distance.

“Tommy had walked overnight, almost 10 miles, through freeways and downtown,” Michelle said. When they arrived to pick him up, it became clear that Tommy did not want to go, or rather, he did not want to go without taking his fellow dog friend with him—the other canine who had been left there.

“He wouldn’t leave his friend’s side, but that friend was very skittish and terrified of people,” Michelle said. “Over the next week, they eventually caught her, and then my dad brought both dogs back home.”

Tommy was rescued from an industrial plant.
Tommy was rescued from an industrial plant. That single act of kindness set off a wonderful chain of events.


Tommy’s friend would soon be christened Sawyer and, having accepted they come as a package, David began taking the necessary steps to help both dogs adjust to domestic life. But it was while setting up appointments to get both dogs “fixed” that David, who of course is a farmer, noticed something about Sawyer: she was pregnant.

A little over a month later, two dogs became nine with the arrival of seven gorgeous puppies. David will keep the puppies for as long as it takes for them to find homes. “So many dogs in the Central Valley are without homes, shelters are at max capacity, and dogs get euthanized regularly as a result,” Michelle said.

Tommy and Sawyer are staying with her parents, but she would encourage anyone interested in taking one of the puppies to get in touch. “They need owners with experience with dogs since puppies can be a lot of work! They are small enough to fly right now, so location isn’t a big issue, but they will be able to be picked up in the Bay Area,” she said.