One month after the deadly and devastating Camp Fire in Paradise, California, some homeowners are beginning to return to see what — if anything — is left of their property.
Andrea Gaylord was one of them and when she went back to her home off of Merrill Drive, she found it burned to the ground. But her beloved dog, Madison, still remained. Sitting on the charred land where her home once stood, he patiently waited for Gaylord's return.
"You could never ask for a better animal," Gaylord told KXTV-TV in California. "You really couldn't."
Gaylord had a feeling that Madison, an Anatolian Shepherd, had somehow survived the fire. And she enlisted the help of Shayla Sullivan, a volunteer animal rescue worker, to help find him. Sullivan had already located for Gaylord's other dog, Miguel, and returned him to her. For weeks, Sullivan checked Gaylord's property and left out food and water in hopes of luring back Madison.
When the evacuation order was finally lifted, Gaylord returned this week and found Madison patiently waiting for her.
"Imagine the loyalty of hanging in in the worst of circumstances and being here waiting," she told the news outlet. "It was so emotional."
Although she lost every material thing she owned in the fire, she gained something priceless, as well.
"They went up in smoke but I still have a memory and that will never leave," she said.
Sullivan wrote on Facebook that she also lured in Madison by taking a clothing item with Gaylord's scent on placing it the property.
"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!" she wrote. "... Here's to many more reunions ahead! Keep the HOPE alive!"
The Camp Fire killed 85 people and destroyed 18,804 structures, making it the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.