A Dog Named Madison Dutifully Guarded His Family’s Burnt-Out Home For Weeks, Waiting For Them To Come Home

'He never gave up on his people.'

the california wildfires burn a hill behind houses
Aarti Kalyani / Shutterstock

'He never gave up on his people.'

A dog, whose owners had to leave him behind when they fled California’s Camp wildfire, returned to find their beloved pet not only alive and well, but dutifully guarding what had once been his family’s home, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat is reporting.

Whenever natural disasters strike, of course, there is a devastating human toll as well as massive property damage. However, pets also suffer when such disasters strike. They are often left behind when their owners have to flee on a moment’s notice and have nowhere to take them.

Such was the case with a golden retriever named Madison. His human, a woman identified only as “Andrea,” had to flee her home when the Camp Fire, one of many California wildfires to burn this season, closed in on her home.

For the better part of two agonizing weeks, Andrea had no idea if Madison had survived.

Enter K9 Paw Print Rescue.

The California animal rescue group and its volunteers had their hands full with all of the abandoned pets that turned up either in shelters or suddenly homeless, once their humans left. One such volunteer was a woman named Shayla Sullivan. She writes on Facebook that she had been working with a dog named Miguel, who also needed help while his humans were away, when she learned that Miguel had a brother named Madison. She went looking for him, and sure enough, found him at the burned-out remains of his old address.

However, since Madison is a guard dog, he wasn’t very interested in being rescued.

“I had sighted Madison a few times deep in the Canyon BUT knew he took his job seriously and wasn’t going to be an easy catch.”

Shayla came up with the idea to bring with her a piece of clothing that Andrea had worn, on the belief that Madison would recognize the smell. It worked! Shayla says she was able to gain the dog’s trust, and she (Shayla) dutifully kept bringing Madison food and water while he waited for his people to return to what was left of their home.

Finally, they were able to return home and an overjoyed dog greeted the couple, who had “hoped and prayed” that their beloved pet survived the fire and didn’t wind up getting lost afterward.

“I’m so happy I’m crying as I write this! He didn’t give up through the storms or the fire! A LOOOOONG month it must have been for him!”

Shayla writes that she hopes other pets left behind by the California wildfires will soon be reunited with their people as well.