A 10-year-old Shiba Inu mix named Plato, who has located more than 60 lost companion animals, recently was helped by the caring California community that has grown to love and depend on him. 

Over the last ten years, Plato and his guardian Michael M. Fradin have hit the road countless times looking for missing companion animals. With Plato’s excellent tracking abilities, the searches often have happy endings, with grateful guardians reunited with their furry friends.

But Plato recently was diagnosed with congestive heart failure — and that’s when the San Lorenzo Valley community stepped up to show their gratitude for the duo’s efforts by raising funds for his unexpected vet bills.

“This is something very unexpected and appreciated,” Fradin wrote in a Facebook post. “I love that no matter what, he’ll be remembered for his contributions to the San Lorenzo Valley and beyond.”

Fradin adopted Plato years ago from a local who could no longer keep him. The sweet dog bonded with Fradin’s then-girlfriend and would follow her around everywhere. The couple started to play “hide and seek” with him, and Plato’s natural tracking abilities shone.

When Fradin spotted a post about a lost Yorkie on Nextdoor, a social networking setting, he offered to try and help. The intelligent Plato tracked the missing dog’s scent to a spot along a stream — his first successful track. 

But not his last.

While Fradin described Plato as “very affectionate and loving,” he also told People that the dog is driven and wants to “get the job done.”

“His life goal is to find every single puppy,” he said, adding that he feels that Plato gets depressed and withdrawn if he can’t find his targets.


Plato (Courtesy of Michael Fradin/Instagram @santacruzmtnsubi)

Sometimes, sadly, they also find deceased animals. Even then, Fradin believes in the work they do.

“It’s not always a rewarding job, but it does help to find closure for our neighbors, so we’ll keep at it,” he wrote in another Facebook post.

Fradin doesn’t accept payment for their search and rescue efforts, finding fulfillment in the time spent with Plato and reunited guardians’ gratitude.

“It feels great to have people recognize him,” he told People.

Lady Freethinker is so impressed with the compassionate action by Plato, Michael Fradin, and all the people in this heartwarming story! Thank you for recognizing that every animal’s life matters!  Those interested in following Plato and Fradin can check out their Instagram accounts @platothedude and @santacruzmtnsubi.