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The Stubborn Hero Refused to Leave His Goats. Miraculously, They All Survived the Firestorm

It was about 10:30 when we first smelled smoke from the approaching Tubbs fire that has ravaged Northern California. I ran up and down our roads on the ATV, but saw nothing. At 10:55 I could see the sky turning orange. I woke Ariel and told her to get ready to leave and went to wake Scott on the east end of the property. Stephen had already awoken from the smell of the smoke and the brightening sky.

By 11:10 we could see the first of the flames across the valley. By 11:15 they were growing larger and the winds went mad. We had loaded up the dogs and cats, but Odin, our stubborn and fearless Great Pyrenees would not leave the goats.

Even under the best of circumstances it is nearly impossible to separate Odin from the goats after nightfall when he takes over the close watch from his sister Tessa. I made a decision to leave him, and I doubt I could have made him come with us if I tried. We got out with our lives and what was in our pockets.

Cars behind us on Mark West Springs Road were pouring flames out of the windows as they roared down the road. Later that morning when we had outrun the fires I cried, sure that I had sentenced Odie to death, along with our precious family of bottle-raised goats.

Today, we were able to make it back to the smoldering wasteland of our forest. Every structure is in ruins. Trees are still burning.

Yet, eight goats came running to see us and get cuddles and kisses. Dixon has a burn on his back the size of a nickel. Other than that they are perfectly fine. Odin’s fur is burned and his whiskers melted. He is limping on his right leg. And he has adopted several baby deer who huddle around him for safety and water from their trough, which is miraculously intact and full of relatively clean water.

We dropped off several bails of orchard grass and gave them fresh water. Tomorrow we hope to reunite them all with his sister Tessa. I’m sure Odin believes she has perished. I can’t wait to see their faces when they see each other.

Odin has lived up to his namesake. Pray for him and his charges. He is our inspiration. If he can be so fearless in this maelstrom, surely so can we."

Credits: Roland Tembo Hendel
644 views Oct 18, 2017

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