When fires reached Santa Rosa, California, the residents had only moments to escape. For one family, that meant making the heartbreaking decision to leave their bottle-fed goats behind. But their hero dog absolutely refused to leave the goat herd.
Odin, a Great Pyrenees dog, was raised to protect the herd. And that is exactly what he chose to do when fires threatened his home and his goat-family. Despite the sounds of twisting metal and cracking foliage in the fire, Odin was determined to stay true to his mission and protect “his” eight goats.
A mandatory evacuation had been issued and Roland Tembo Hendel knew that he had to get his family to safety. What he wasn’t expecting was how quickly the fire arrived.
"It was about 10:30 [p.m.] when we first smelled smoke from the approaching Tubbs fire that has ravaged Northern California," Hendel says in his account on Facebook. "I ran up and down our roads on the ATV, but saw nothing. At 10:55 I could see the sky turning orange. 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."
The family loaded up as many of the animals as they could. But then they had to face a horrible decision – leaving the goats behind. When they called Odin to come into the vehicle he refused and turned back to the herd of goats. With literal moments to spare, they had to continue to safety without them.
"I made a decision to leave him, and I doubt I could have made him come with us if I tried," Hendel says. "We got out with our lives and what was in our pockets."
WATCH: Sherriff’s Dash Cam Footage Driving Near Hero Dog’s Home
In his online posts Hendel shared that when the family reached a safe stopping area, they stopped to mourn what they believe might be the end of their beloved dog and goats. It wasn’t until days later that the fires had been controlled enough for the family to return and evaluate their property.
To their absolute amazement, they arrived to find not only Odin and all eight goats, but several deer who had joined the others for shelter! Odin was in bad shape however. It was obvious that he had worked hard during that time – his fur was singed and full of soot, whiskers gone, and his feet pads were burned. The dog was only able to stand for a minute here or there. He was limping and completely exhausted.
All of the structures on the family property were decimated. Their pump house and well for the animal’s water was completely destroyed.
The family expressed their overwhelming inspiration and amazement in a loyal dog with unending bravery! Out of their situation the family has been overwhelmed with help from the surrounding communities. Thanks to the internet “family” also offering to help, the Hendel’s have started a YouCaring page to raise funds to rebuild for their animals.
WATCH: Hero Dog, Odin, And His Goats Enjoying Family Time
Since the fires, Roland has been keeping everyone updated on the recovery of the goats and their fearless leader, Odin.
A local pet groomer offered her services to help restore Odin’s fur so that the singed areas can begin growing healthily again. After a little pampering he was beginning to look like the strong Great Pyrenees that he truly is!
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Rescue Cat Saves His Human From The Gatlinburg Wildfires