A woman in Northern California had the reunion of a lifetime when she returned to the remains of her home one month after the Camp Fire ravaged the neighborhood and discovered her dog waiting for her.
Andrea Gaylord told ABC10 that when she returned to check what was remained of her Paradise home, she saw Madison, an Anatolian shepherd mix, resting quietly on the deserted land.
“You couldn’t ask for a nicer animal,” Gaylord told the publication. “You couldn’t do it.”
According to K9 Paw Print Rescue, as the flames began to gather up speed and ferocity last month, Gaylord was unable to reach home to save Madison and his doggie sibling Miguel. Gaylord was not allowed to return to her community or look for her dogs for several weeks due to tight evacuation regulations.
Despite the fact that the catastrophic wildfires burned 13,972 homes and killed 85 people, Gaylord felt her pups had survived and solicited the assistance of local animal rescue volunteer Shayla Sullivan, according to ABC10.
Sullivan ultimately discovered Miguel in Citrus Heights, a city 86 miles south of Paradise, but she continued to look for his brother, whom Sullivan said she saw “a couple times deep in the Canyon” on Facebook.
“I knew [Madison] took his work seriously and wasn’t going to be an easy catch,” Sullivan stated, adding that she would leave fresh food and drink on Gaylord’s land in the hopes that Madison would return.
She even considered leaving a piece of Gaylord-scented apparel on the property to entice Madison.
Gaylord returned to her home one month after escaping to discover Madison anxiously waiting for her and safeguarding what was remained of their property.
“Imagine the loyalty of hanging around and waiting in the worst of situations,” Gaylord told ABC10. “It was quite emotional.”
Madison and Gaylord are not the first optimistic pet reunion tale to emerge from the Camp Fire destruction.
The terrible wildfire also destroyed Leahna Copsey’s home in Paradise, California. When officials arrived to assess the damage, they discovered Ella, the family’s dog, keeping guard over the surviving house.
“She was defending it,” Copsey explained to the Visalia Times-Delta. “She was guarding the last house on the street.”
Copsey and her family, like Gaylord, were unable to return home to their dog before mandatory evacuation orders were issued. However, the family fortunately alerted animal control and local police, who were able to keep an eye on Ella and provide her food and water.
“We were happy to hear she survived the fire,” Copsey’s daughter Kayla Westman told PEOPLE. “She’s doing well considering all she’s been through… There are a lot of other dogs in far worse condition, so we’re simply thankful she survived.