As we continue to hear stories of the dead and as some Northern Californian residents are slowly making their way back to where their homes once stood, some families are finding small pockets of joy as they reunite with the pets they thought they lost in last week's wildfires.
ABC 7 reports on one especially heartwarming reunion, as Roland Hendel was reunited with his Great Pyrenees, Odin, who stayed behind to protect the family's eight rescue goats located on their property in unincorporated Sonoma County. Hendel recounted the tale to ABC 7, saying that as the Tubbs Fire bore down on his home, he felt forced to leave the dog behind with the goats. "He was determined to stay with the goats and I had to let him do it," he said.
The dogs suffered only minor injuries, along with the eight goats accompanying them. ABC 7 also writes that as soon as they were reunited, Odin, his sister Tessa, and all the animals vanished once more from the property where the family was staying. Thanks to tips sent in after ABC 7 ran an earlier story about Odin, they were reunited once again on Saturday.
Another dog, Bill, had to be left behind as his family, the Robinsons, fled Santa Rosa. But luckily, as ABC tells it, Bill was found by a police officer and taken to the Marin Humane Society. There, he was reunited with his family thanks to his microchip tracker. One of the Robinsons told ABC, "We thought he was so gone."
CBS has details of another particularly heartwarming reunion: Izzy, a Bernese Mountain Dog, came bounding out of some rubble as Jack Weaver and his brother-in-law Patrick Widen searched for her so that his mother, Katherine Weaver, wouldn't have to. The Weavers believed Izzy to be dead, as she was left behind in the panicked evacuation that sent Katherine Weaver fleeing in her nightgown.
The Facebook video of the reunion with Izzy, which you can watch below, has been watched 2.2 million times as of this writing.
It's long, and shows Weaver walking up to the burnt-out remains of his family's home, periodically calling for Izzy. There's hardly anything left, but as the video comes to a close, Weaver spots Izzy, and calls out to her. He described the reunion to CBS 5, saying, "She was very happy to see us,” Weaver said of Izzy, a 9-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog. “She’s such a brave dog. She was panting a lot and clearly stressed. But she was not frantic or anything.”
Beckyjean Widen, who posted the video to Facebook, described a bit of the journey that her husband and brother-in-law went through to get to the property, as apparently they were stopped by authorities on their way up. She wrote:
They were turned away by police officers, but if you know my brother Jack or husband Patrick...neither one likes to be told no. They ended up hiking just under 3 miles to my parent's property.
According to KRON 4, a veterinarian believes Izzy survived because of her thick fur coat, which could have insulated her from the fire's intense heat. Laughing Squid also spotted this video from The Guardian, which shows Izzy doing just fine, as she's been showered in love and good pets since she was found.