Ozarks Life: Deacon Dog of Old Stone Church

Joe is a 21-year-old chihuahua who might be the oldest in the Ozarks.
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 6:45 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - Earlier this week, when it was raining cats and dogs, Chad Plein came across a deacon dog at the Old Stone Church at First Presbyterian Church in Branson.

He gives more of a snort than a sermon.

Joe hasn’t been ordained, but he definitely lifts the spirits of everyone he sees in this congregation.

“Everybody likes to look at him,” Joe’s human, Robin Fridrich (the actual deacon in our story) said.

The two have been together for a long, long time.

“He’s 147 (years old) right now,” Robin smiled, “I’m really impressed with his level of activity.”

That’s in dog years of course. In human years, this chihuahua is 21 years old.

“I’m so grateful that we met,” Robin said.

Now, this is the part of our story where you probably think Joe came from a licensed breeder with official paperwork. Well, his genes are good but his life before meeting Robin at the Humane Society was not.

“They had a big raid of a lot of small dogs from a puppy mill,” Robin said. “I went to volunteer to help not with the intent of actually adopting a dog. And I saw him and that all changed.”

It was puppy love for Robin and Joe.

“When I got him, he was probably eight or nine (years old),” Robin said. “And usually, dogs that old don’t survive that long in that condition. And he’s just a tough guy. You know, he just managed through it. And I’m really grateful.”

The only good thing to come from the puppy mill was that Joe was microchipped. A small thing, the size of a grain of rice, tells a big story. It proves his age.

“(We) found out that his birthday was July 17, 2001,” Robin said. “And we were all stunned.”

Today, he’s one of the oldest dogs in the Ozarks. And he calls the oldest church in Branson home.

As for his longevity, Robin feeds him real food. Joe loves chicken, salmon, and hamburgers. He also takes daily supplements and vitamins.

“He likes his spa days at home,” Robin smiled. “So he likes to be clean and having been at that puppy mill I can see that it’s very important to him. He loves clean blankets. He likes to snuggle he likes to sleep.”

Earlier this year, the Guinness Book of World Records named a 23-year-old chihuahua in Ohio the oldest in the world. Joe turns 22 this summer, and Robin and her friends are making plans to celebrate.

Seeing the difference Joe has made in her life, Robin urges people to adopt senior dogs.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com