When the Camp Fire erupted in Paradise on November 8, Andrea Gaylord was unable to return to her home to retrieve her beloved dog, Madison. Weeks after the fire burned Gaylord’s house to the ground, she had began to think her dog may not have survived the flames.
But when Gaylord returned to the ruins of her burned down home, she found her male Anatolian shepherd right where she left him.
Madison was somehow able to survive the terrifying flames of the Camp Fire, and once the flames surpassed, returned back to the ruins of his old home. Their, he waited for weeks.
Shayla Sullivan, a volunteer with K9 Paw Print Rescue, was in the fire zone when she spotted Madison, standing guard amidst the rubble. Madison was apprehensive, but eventually ate food and drank water brought by Sullivan. In an attempt to keep Madison at the scene, she put an article of Gaylord’s clothes at the house.
“I had the idea of placing an article of clothing that would smell like her to keep Madison’s hope alive until his people could return,” Sullivan wrote.
Finally, Gaylord returned home and reunited with her dog after weeks of uncertainty. Madison’s brother Miguel, another Anatolian shepherd that was taken to a shelter 85 miles away in the confusing aftermath of the wildfire, also enjoyed reuniting with Madison that day.
“Imagine the loyalty of hanging in in the worst of circumstances and being here waiting,” Gaylord said to ABC10. “Their instinctual job is to watch the flocks and we’re part of them. It’s a comforting feeling.”
The Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. It killed a total of 85 people and destroyed 18,804 structures.