‘Freeway Frida,’ dog that dodged death, goes home with officer who rescued her

A German shepherd that dodged death along Highway 99 for weeks before her capture was released from the animal hospital Thursday, and went home with the police officer who rescued her.

Frida’s new family, Galt Police Officer Sylvia Coelho and her husband, Rick, also includes a chihuahua named Valerie and three cats, Harley, Marley and Midnight.

“I’ve got her bed, her toys, her treats,” Coelho said. “I’m so excited!”

Frida’s story of survival made headlines across the nation.

The Galt Police Department began receiving calls about a dog that had fallen out of a pickup onto Highway 99 on April 10, but Coelho and two other officers were unable to wrangle her until five weeks later.

They brought her to VCA Bradshaw Animal Hospital in Elk Grove, where she has undergone several surgeries and intensive treatment. Frida’s back leg was badly broken, and her bone infected. The muscle near her Achilles heel had ruptured. She was dehydrated, emaciated and covered with foxtails, some of which had embedded beneath her skin.

Though she was released Thursday afternoon, the shepherd will need regular bandage changes and faces at least one more surgery, her veterinarians said.

Coelho has visited Frida nearly every day since her rescue, and the two have bonded. Frida carried no identification when she was captured, and efforts to locate her owners have been unsuccessful.

“Of course you always want a dog to be reunited with its owner,” Coelho said. “But I’ve always hoped that I would be able to bring her home.”

Introducing Frida to the other animals in the family may prove tricky, the officer said. She and her husband plan to approach the process delicately.

“When I left them this morning I told them, ‘I’m bringing someone new home today,’” she said. “I think it will work out fine.”

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