A family has had a heartwarming reunion with one of their dogs after he was found camping out in what was left of their home burned down by California wildfires. For four weeks, a dog named Madison guarded his former home waiting for his humans to return.
When the California wildfires broke out near Andrea Gayford’s home in Paradise, they were unable to reach their ranch to get to their two guardian dogs Madison and his brother Miguel. But now the canine brothers are back together again, having become separated by the fires. They’ve also reunited with their family thanks to a dedicated animal rescuer and their owner who refused to give up on them.Shayla Sullivan, who volunteers with K9 Paw Print Rescue, has been searching and rescuing animals since it was safe to return to the fire zones that destroyed over 18,000 homes in the State. One dog she rescued was Miguel. She found him in the nearby Citrus Heights. But Madison would prove harder to locate. He was hiding deep in the canyon and guarding his territory, which he would do for several long weeks.
Shayla made sure Madison had water and food until he could be reunited with his family. While dropping Miguel off, she asked Andrea for one of her sweaters so that she could leave it out so that Madison would know that Andrea was in the area. And when Andrea was finally allowed to return to her property after several long weeks they were overjoyed to find Madison there waiting for them.
“He had stayed to protect what was left of his home, and NEVER gave up on his people,” Shayla wrote. “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!”
She explained what happened in full on K9 Paw’s Facebook page:
“Do we all remember Miguel the guardian dog that was one of my tickets? He had a brother named Madison that we have been looking for. I kept Andrea’s ticket the entire time I was “officially” inside. Each other time I was inside, I would return and put out fresh food and water. I’ve also been scouting ALL of the FB found pages in hopes he might turn up. After all, Miguel had turned up in Citrus Heights.
“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. 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!”
Shayla later wrote about the experience and what it was like seeing Madison reunite with his brother Miguel:
“It was the BEST feeling having Madison meet our truck. After feeding him for almost a month, but NOT knowing he was for sure still there, seeing him was surreal. He followed the truck, so he must have sensed Miguel was aboard. He was wagging his tail as if to tell me ‘I know you from around here, I think you’re pretty ok.'”
“Re: uniting Miguel and Madison was amazing. They said their HELLOS and then went back to work. Miguel took Guard over the lower part of the property and Madison took the top. It must be such a RELIEF for Madison to have his partner back. I’m sure it makes his job that much easier…. we looked around and still are amazed that both dogs survived. It’s a true testament to the instincts these dogs have. Their people lost multiple family homes. Andrea’s spirit is uplifting and she hopes to rebuild a new home for the boys to watch over.”
Here’s a video she took of the two dogs reunited and back together.
It didn’t take long for both dogs to resume their “guarding” duties on the land. Apparently, Shayla is telling others in areas affected by the California fires to keep feeding and providing water to any animals they may see. “Madison is PROOF that there are many animals waiting for their people,” and to leave food “just in case, an keep the hope alive”.
K9 Paw Print Rescue added, “It is so heartwarming and wonderful that this family got both of their dogs back. It is why we do rescue. We are so grateful that Madison and his brother Miguel are safe!”
To learn more about K9 Paw Print Rescue and the work they are doing to help reunite families with their pets visit them on Facebook.
The story reminds us a little of when another family of Great Pyrenees were protecting a fawn in Idaho after a devastating wildfire. You can read more of that story here.