California Family Returns Home a Month After Deadly Wildfires to Find Loyal Dog Waiting

April 28, 2019 Updated: May 3, 2019

After losing her home and possessions in California’s fatal wildfire in November 2018, Andrea Gaylord, a resident of Paradise town, had a surprise waiting for her among the rubble. Her joy knew no bounds when she found her dog loyally waiting for his owner to return.

Gaylord was one of the thousands of inhabitants who had to leave the town when the fire broke out. She was unable to get home to rescue Madison and his doggy brother Miguel, according to K9 Paw Print Rescue.

Strict evacuation orders meant that she couldn’t return to her community or go searching for her pets.

Madison’s parents were unable to get home to him when the Camp Fire spread. They hoped and prayed he would be OK. When…

Posted by K9 Paw Print Rescue on Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Camp Fire, which happened to be one of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in Californian history, killed at least 85 people and rendered thousands homeless.

Even though it seemed just impossible to reconnect to her beloved pooches, Gaylord had a feeling that her dogs had survived and connected with Shayla Sullivan, an animal rescue volunteer.

Posted by K9 Paw Print Rescue on Saturday, December 8, 2018

Sullivan found Miguel relatively quickly in Citrus Heights, a city 86 miles south of Paradise. Miguel was reunited with his owners but Madison proved pretty difficult to track down. She knew Madison “took his job seriously and wasn’t going to be an easy catch.”

Despite that, Sullivan still continued searching for Madison, whom she thought she’d caught a glimpse of in the area around Gaylord’s property. In the hope of luring him back home, she left fresh food and water on Gaylord’s property.

She even placed a piece of Gaylord’s clothing on the property so he could smell her scent and probably return.

Nearly a month after the fire, the evacuation order was lifted and the Gaylords were able to finally return to their home.

The sight of blackened trees and debris met the eyes of those who had returned. Andrea’s home was burnt to the ground, but sitting amidst the apocalyptic scene was Madison, an Anatolian shepherd mix, patiently waiting on the barren property, guarding what was left.

Posted by Shayla Sullivan on Sunday, December 9, 2018

“Imagine the loyalty of hanging in in the worst of circumstances and being here waiting,” Gaylord told ABC10. “It was so emotional.”

“You could never ask for a better animal,” Gaylord said. “You really couldn’t.”

Minutes after the Gaylords arrived, Madison came trotting out to greet the couple. The loyal dog had endured a month of fire and smoke to stay and guard the Gaylords’ home and livestock, which tragically were all killed in the blaze.

It was really the “reunion of a lifetime!”

“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!” Sullivan shared on a Facebook post that had gone viral.

Sullivan further continued, “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!”

For nearly a month, Madison, an Anatolian shepherd dog, guarded his burned home after the Camp Fire tore through the…

Posted by NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on Sunday, December 9, 2018

The post has garnered 24,000 likes and been shared 15,000 times. Social media users took to Facebook to appreciate the loyalty of Madison to its owners.

One social media user wrote: “WOW! This made me tear up, if this isn’t loyalty I don’t know what is. So happy the dog was alive and then was reunited with his family.”

“Awe!! I’m so glad that he survived! He knew that his family would come back for him!” another enthused.

Meanwhile, one user praised the rescuer for her incredible efforts, “Thank you Shayla for amazing job [sic] you did to save this family’s pet, they must feel incredibly blessed to have their baby back with them.”

Posted by Shayla Sullivan on Sunday, December 9, 2018

The sight of Madison reuniting with his brother Miguel was another tear-jerking moment.

The Gaylords may have lost their home, but thankfully they still have their furry family members, with whom they can start a new life together.

Sullivan has also created a GoFundMe page to help Madison’s owners. So far, they have collected US$2,725 from the goal of US$10,000.

The story of Madison and Gaylord is just one of many heartwarming stories of pets and owners being reunited after the deadly wildfires, but it’s also one of the sweetest.

Posted by Shayla Sullivan on Sunday, November 25, 2018

Watch the heartwarming video here: