It was about 10:30 at night when Roland Tembo Hendel first smelled smoke from the approaching Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County last week. Within 20 minutes, the sky had turned orange and Hendel told his family to get ready to evacuate. As the winds blew the fire towards their home, they had loaded up their dogs and cats to evacuate, but Odin, their "stubborn and fearless" Great Pyrenees, would not leave their eight bottle-fed rescue goats behind, Hendel wrote on Facebook.
"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," Hendel wrote. "We got out with our lives and what was in our pockets. 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."
However, when Hendel returned to his property to find his home in ruins and the trees still on fire, the eight goats and Odin had survived with minimal injuries. Even more miraculous? There were several baby deer huddled around Odin.
To get an idea of what the animals experienced as Odin protected them from the fire, a sheriff's deputy captured a video of the fire driving down Hendel's road past his property that night.
While Odin and his pack of goats disappeared briefly last Saturday, Hendel updated his Facebook again to share that they had all returned and that the evacuation team was on its way to take the two dogs and the goats to the refugee shelter at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. There, a volunteer vet gave Odin a check-up and confirmed that he is in good health despite being in pain from his burned paw pads.
"They are all doing great, and Odin is his old happy self! He is sure enjoying the attention and spotlight," Hendel wrote.
A local pet groomer has also offered to give both Odin and Tessa a full treatment for their coats.
Even better news? In just a few short days, Hendel exceeded his goal on the YouCaring page he set up to build a new barn and pump house to create a new shelter and fresh water supply for the animals before winter arrives.
"My daughter and I thought carefully about what to do with the overflow funds from our crowdfunding goal. We also thought about what Odin would like best," Hendel wrote. "Many of you have asked what happened to the deer that took up with Odin. We left them a two-week supply of food and water, but of course, we could not take them out to safety."
Moving forward, for every $1 they receive they will put 50 cents toward a replacement trailer for the goats and the other 50 cents will go to the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Center to help the other wild animals affected by the wildfires.
From: Country Living US
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.