A loyal pet awaits her evacuated owner’s return

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A loyal pet awaits her evacuated owner’s return

HuffPost

HuffPost

HuffPost

Aferdita Emini, Staff Reporter

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Weeks after the Campfire that tore through Paradise, CA, a loyal Anatolian Shepherd stayed and guarded his home that was burned to the ground. She was reunited with 75-year-old Andrea Gaylord once she was permitted to return to her land in Paradise.

Right after her evacuation in early November, Gaylord reached out to Shayla Sullivan (animal rescuer) to find her two dogs, Madison and Miguel. Sullivan told HuffPost that when the fire broke out Gaylord only had minutes to escape, she wasn’t able to find her two dogs.

Later on, a different rescue caught Miguel, the second dog,  but the whereabouts of Madison were still unknown. Sullivan knew that he couldn’t be far away because some type of animal was eating the food and drinking the water they were leaving out. She was convinced it was Madison.

“The third day I went in there, I didn’t know if my mind was playing tricks on me but I felt like I saw a flash of white movement down in the canyon,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan was right, but it took a familiar face to convince Madison it was safe. When Gaylord showed up to the property it took “about five or 10 minutes” for Madison to come up and greet her with her tail wagging.

It was bittersweet seeing Madison and Miguel reunite because Miguel had been “so upset and depressed” being without his brother and away from home, she said.

Both dogs are currently staying on the property, while Gaylord’s family make regular trips to make sure they are being taken care of. Sullivan said that they are working dogs who need a lot of space. Gaylord and her family are currently living in a mobile home park and having these dogs with them or in a kennel isn’t fair.

“These dogs are livestock guardian dogs, they do not do well in heat, they do not do well in small enclosures,” she said. “They protect their property.”

“Anatolian shepherd dogs are from Turkey and have been bred for thousands of years to protect and guard livestock, their property, and their humans,” Johnson said. “Livestock guardian dogs like Anatolian shepherds are working dogs that are appreciated for their loyalty, their intelligence, and their independent nature and Madison is a perfect example of a livestock guardian dog. He braved a natural disaster and went right back to where he belonged and stayed there until his owners and working buddy returned.”

How the dogs survived without being hurt is a total surprise, no one is sure. Sullivan thinks they managed to outrun the fire and then, later on, go back home.

“They are survivors,” she said.

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