Madison the Anatolian Shepherd mix beat the odds and broke the hearts of millions with a heartwarming story of resilience and loyalty— with a happy ending. A month after the devastating Campfire wildfire hit Paradise, California, Andrea Gaylord was finally allowed back to the ruins of her home. Who was there patiently awaiting her return but Madison? Her dog was guarding the property as always.
Animal rescue worker Shayla Sullivan had seen glimpses of Madison in the area, but he wouldn’t come close enough to be transported out of the disaster zone. So Shayla left out food and water on each visit.
After meeting with Madison’s mom Andrea one day, Shayla returned to Andrea’s property and left a sweatshirt she had hugged Andrea while wearing so that Madison would catch his mom’s scent and know she was coming back.
Shayla was also instrumental in finding Madison’s brother Miguel, who had been rescued and transported over 80 miles away to Citrus Heights, California. Not only did Shayla find Miguel, but she drove out to pick him up and bring him home to Andrea when the evacuation order was lifted for a family reunion.
When Andrea arrived back at her property Madison ran right up to the car to greet her and receive his very favorite treat, Wheat Thins. This heartwarming story could not have happened without the emergency rescue work of wonderful people like Shayla.
Shaya shared this message on her Facebook page and it means so much. “When I work a disaster to help animals what keeps me going is KNOWING that someone loves them and are on the “outside” hoping their pets are ok. If I can, I obtain a phone number so that I can connect with them and keep them updated on my efforts. When I first called Andrea, we were instantly connected and I continued to call her every day for weeks. She called me first thing when Madison was waiting for her when she returned to her property. We BOTH cried from the joy of her seeing him.”
Now that families are returning to their properties, there is a lot of work to be done to make homes livable again. Habitat for Humanity is working with communities across California in their rebuilding efforts.
If you’re looking for other ways to donate, here is a great article listing ways to get involved. At this time, most organizations are out of space for physical donations, but money, gift cards, pet fostering, and volunteer hours are always welcome.
Hat tip: We Rate Dogs