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Dog Survives Devastating Fire, Guards Destroyed Home for Weeks Until Owner Returns

Dogs are basically furry, domesticated angels. If you doubt this, well, don't. But if saying that isn't enough, here's some evidence.

A good boy -- frankly, possibly the best boy -- not only survived the deadliest fire in California's history, but was found guarding his home nearly a month after Camp Fire destroyed it. The dog, a male Anatolian shepherd mix named Madison, refused to leave the property he was charged with protecting, despite the carnage around him, KXTV reports.

Madison's owner, Andrea Gaylord, wasn't able to return home before evacuation orders were given back in November and was forced to leave her outdoor guard dog behind. Gaylord requested that the animal rescue organization K9 Paw Print Rescue check up on the dog. 

Shayla Sullivan, who found Madison, explained on Facebook, "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."

At that point, Sullivan had already recovered Madison's brother, Miguel, a full 85 miles away. That should give some sense of how remarkable it is that Madison remained home.

Sullivan elaborated: "After meeting Andrea in person when I took Miguel to her, I had the idea of placing an article of clothing that would smell like her( i had hugged her) to keep Madison’s hope alive until his people could return. WELL, I’m so HAPPY to report that Andrea was allowed to return to her property today and THERE MADISON WAS!!!! He had stayed to protect what was left of his home, and NEVER gave up on his people! 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!"

Camp Fire, as Gizmodo points out, almost eradicated the community of Paradise, destroying 14,000 residences, burning 153,000 acres, and killing at least 85 people, making it the deadliest fire in California history. 

“Imagine the loyalty of hanging in through the worst of circumstances and being here waiting,” Gaylord said to KXTV. “It was so emotional.”


“You are the best dog,” she added. “The best.”

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James Chrisman is a News Writer at Thrillist. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @james_chrisman2.