The fires in California have been overtaking homes at an overwhelming rate. At least 5,700 structures have been destroyed and dozens have died. Through all of this, though, we have seen countless stories of animals and people doing everything they can to save those near them.
One dog did everything he could do to save his family. Roland Hendel and his family first smelled smoke around 10:30pm. Within 20 minutes, they were preparing to evacuate. The family loaded up their dogs and cats, but they had no way of taking their eight bottle-fed rescue goats.
One of the family’s dogs, Odin, was the protector of the goats. He stayed with them every single night to make sure that they didn’t get attacked. According to Hendel, it was nearly impossible to separate Odin from the goats on a normal night. When the fires were blazing, though, Odin was even more insistent that he stay with the goats.
Hendel described Odin, a Great Pyrenees dog, as “stubborn and fearless.” The family couldn’t take the time to stop and pull Odin away from the goats, so they had to leave him behind.
Hendel and his family were convinced that they had sentenced Odin and the goats to die in the fire and spent the night grieving their animals. The fire passed directly through their property. This video was taken by a patrol officer near Hendel’s property that night.
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The next day, the Hendels made it back to their property. Everything had been destroyed by the fire. The home was burnt to the ground, the cars were destroyed. But in the middle of the property was Odin and the eight goats. Odin didn’t only save the goats, though, there were also some baby deer huddled around the dog.
Odin’s fur was ashy and charred in places, but most of the goats escaped without burns. When they first returned, Odin’s paws had been badly burned and his eyes watered. He had a hard time standing for more than a few minutes. Three days after the fire, Odin was back to wagging his tail.
An evacuation team was sent in to transport the goats and Odin to a shelter. After getting checked out by a vet, Odin was fine. He just has more healing to do.
Dogs are incredible. If you haven’t, check out this story of another dog who made it through the fire. She was just waiting for her family to make it back!