Faithful dog guarded home for weeks after surviving California inferno

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On November 8, 2018, a terrible wildfire, the Camp Fire, destroyed most of Paradise — a town of 26,218 people in the Sierra Nevada foothills in Northern California.

The AP reports that an Anatolian shepherd dog named Madison who had survived the fire, guarded his home for nearly a month until his owner returned.

On November 8, Madison’s owner, Andrea Gaylord, had fled her home, leaving Madison behind. She asked animal rescue to check on the dog. Animal rescuer Shayla Sullivan responded to Gaylord’s request and spotted Madison some days later. The outdoor guard dog was apprehensive and kept his distance, but Sullivan regularly left food and water for him.

Last Wednesday, December 5, Gaylord was allowed back on her burned property, to find Madison waiting.

He had been faithfully guarding the home all those weeks.

Gaylord told news station ABC10 she couldn’t ask for a better dog: “Imagine the loyalty of hanging in in the worst of circumstances and being here waiting.”



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20 responses to “Faithful dog guarded home for weeks after surviving California inferno

  1. What a great guard dog–he just stayed on task. I am glad that there was someone who fed and watered him.

  2. Looks more like a Great Pyrenees to me… a great breed!

  3. She leaves him behind , then expects someone else to watch out for him? She doesn’t deserve him….

  4. Jac, Mandatory evacuations have many, many extenuating circumstances.

    • I understand your remark, however we have a living soul here, one not able to fully fend for himself in such a dire, extreme situation. To expect otherwise is simply to expect the impossible, yet warrior Madison did just that!

      I doubt that we would expect even a good friend to do the same for us, because s/he would want to leave the situation as well, and no one would blame them. God has blessed dogs, as dog is God spelled in reverse!

      • Joseph, I understand your remark, however, I have lived Mandatory Evacuation on the Big Island of Hawaii recently. On May 4, 2018 at 2:30 AM Sheriff, National Guard and Police broke through our locked gates drove down our driveway with sirens and loud speakers telling us we had 10 minutes max to vacate the premises due to a volcanic eruptions.

        Fissure 8, one of 22 fissures was a block from our home blowing hot lava over 100ft into the air. During the chaos our animals ran out of the house. We called for them repeatedly until we were threatened with arrest. We were forced to leave.

        We were forbidden to return for 3 months then only to be accompanied by Civil Defense for 2 hours at a time once a week. We had to wear gas masks upon every return as well as a toxic gas detector. We were not let back into our part of the island until 6 months later.

        I asked National Guards and Civil Defense to be on the lookout for our animals. Does that make me not worthy of having them? Hardly.

        We don’t know all the circumstances this woman had to deal with, however, Madison the dog obviously felt she was worthy of the wait. Bless them both.

  5. If she had to flee while away from her home, I would understand. But this lady — at least according to the article — fled from her home and left the dog behind. She clearly doesn’t deserve him. I can see leaving livestock or horses which can’t be loaded up quickly or easily, but a dog can easily be loaded into a vehicle. No excuses for this pos owner who obviously didn’t give this dog a second thought when they fled. I bet they took the time to load some “valuables” before they left, though. Plus, the fact that this was an outside guard dog clearly shows that she didn’t have any actual affection for the dog. In that case, the media should stop acting like it is some miraculous reunion. The lady is probably just happy that she doesn’t have to fork out the money for a new guard dog. I doubt she cares any more than that.

  6. What a good doggie!

  7. Your pet should be a part of your family. You would not leave your child behind because of extenuating circumstances .

  9. Like my vet told me, there is no acceptable excuse for leaving your animal behind when you evacuate. NONE. If you can get out then you can take them. I rescued a dog off the street after hurricane Katrina. She had been left behind. When I asked my vet if I should try to find her owner, he said, “Why? So they can leave her behind again in a future hurricane?” I took that as an emphatic NO. This dog became the love of my life. She actually saved my life…twice! Sadly, she passed away 2 years ago after we had 11 happy years together. I have never missed another living creature as much as I miss that dog.

    • Tears. Amazing story, Brain, and I am so thankful you shared it!!!! I have had a situation that ended up like yours….and was able to share mutual love with a dog for 13 years (she was probably about 14 years in age by then….a very large breed dog mix, a “stray” that was NEVER expected to live so long, esp, after having a cancerous tumor removed—one well-know for coming back time and time again…..). Like you, I have “never missed another living creature as much as I miss that dog.”

      I’ve lived in CA for over 30 years in a fire-prone area, less than a mile from the boundaries/foothills of a State Forest. We’ve burned/been under evacuation many times. THE FIRST concern after getting our butts into 2 different cars is DOGS AND CATS FIRST—whomever we can nab—-if they run and hide away from us from fear…then, we’re prepared to let all our doors and windows open so they can run from flames….if they would even respond in that manner: and then…with “whatever” we can grab out of the laundry room for clothes, and MAYBE an original watercolor off the walls as we run out…OR NOT……it’s all a matter of time available…..We would do whatever we have available to do…but, after us…pets come first. Surely, if we can make it to the car, our old Lab could make it with us step for step. She goes where we go no matter what. Cats are more problematic b/c they will HIDE in “heightened” circumstances… response to alarm…they would run away and hide…..

    • @MBH,CG, etc,
      Well stated & done…….Now there was a heartbreaking documentary on the rescue efforts of the pets left behind from Katrina, I forget the name of it, but the rescuers saw the good & bad side of pet owners. The good that came out of the tragedy, was the fact that pets were to be included in future evacuations. Your pets are family.

      Hurricane Katrina – We Remember and We Learned–-we-remember-and-we-learned/

  10. This is a story worth reading.

  11. What a good boy.
    I’m trying to reserve judgement (although it’s hard!), because I’ve never been in that situation.
    I hope Madison gets all the cuddles and treats his deserving heart desires.

  12. No shit, Red Rider!

  13. That wonderful dog looks like a Great Pyrenees to me. Madison is a twin to my two Great Pyrs. They are very loyal, protective and the perfect breed for farm life. Our two dogs sleep in the daytime and patrol the farm at night. This story does not surprise me, because GP’s will not abandon their posts and do not take their duties lightly. Madison may be Anatolian, but she’s a mirror vision of my two dogs. The Anatolian breeds are exceptional dogs and very brave. Wouldn’t it be great if the human race was that loyal? Leeann


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