Frank Compton has found that some good can come out of adversity.
The 80-year-old Rancho Calaveras resident has received a lot of attention after the July 20 kidnapping of his dog, Sandy. The 10-year-old terrier mix was held for $10,000 ransom.
At first, Compton considered not paying the demand, but realized the dog meant too much to him, so he withdrew the cash from his savings account. A telephone caller told Compton to bring the money to the Mokelumne Fish hatchery near Clements where a man grabbed the cash and then sped off with an accomplice in a white sedan, Compton said.
Compton searched the area in vain and eventually went home empty handed.
Later that evening, at home, the dog came running into the back yard, apparently dropped off by the dognappers.
Since the Enterprise broke the story Tuesday, Compton has been interviewed by numerous media outlets. Wednesday he was called by at least two radio stations and interviewed by a Sacramento television news crew.
His story also has been on CNN and the front page of other local newspapers. “Good Morning American” plans to broadcast via satellite from Valley Spings as well
“It´s kind of exploding out of proportion, which maybe it shouldn´t,” Compton said Wednesday.
The incident also has sparked an outpouring of support and assistance.
Some have offered to help replenish Compton´s savings account. Kristin Coon, co-owner of Valley Springs Feed and Pet Supply, has offered Compton a lifetime supply of dog food for Sandy. “As long as his little dog is alive, we´d be happy to supply dog food for him,” she said. “That´s quite a generous offer,” Compton said when told of Coon´s donation.
Coon has a dog and three cats of her own, and knows how close a person can get to their pets. “I feel so bad for him,” Coon said. “What a terrible thing. It actually brought tears to my eyes.”
For Compton, the theft of Sandy deprived him of his only companion. His second wife, Wilma, died four years ago. His brother and sisters have died and two children by a first marriage were killed as teenagers in a Los Angeles auto accident in 1963.
He and Wilma were one of the first families to build their home in the area in 1983. Compton acknowledged he is getting too old to keep it up.
A friend told him about a veterans´ retirement center near Barstow, but he would have to give up Sandy to move there.
Compton said he´s met a lot of bad people over the years n many who have belittled him n but the attention, sympathy and support he´s received about the dognapping are encouraging. “I guess there are plenty of good people around,” he said.
Coon hopes the Sheriff´s Department finds the culprits. “Whoever took advantage of him like that, I hope there´s some justice for them,” Coon said. Detective Chris Villegas is exploring leads. Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call him at 772-2553.
A July 26 dog theft in the same area appears to be unrelated, Villegas said. Some people who don´t own pets might not understand the devotion between man and dog.
But the adage proves true, and Sandy truly is Compton´s best friend.
Calaveras Enterprise story byCraig Koscho. For more Calaveras news, click: calaverasenterprise.com