Dog Protects Family Goats From California Wildfire

PetMD Editorial
Updated: September 07, 2018
Published: October 18, 2017
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The stories of heroism and rescue coming out of Northern California in the wake of the devastating wildfires are nothing short of incredible. Whether it's firefighters working around the clock or everyday people doing their part to chip in, there are countless profiles of courage. 

Odin is one of those heroes. He is not only a survivor of the deadly blazes (which, to date, have claimed dozens of lives and thousands of acres of land), but he saved the lives of others. Odin also happens to be a dog. 

He lived with his family on their property in Sonoma County when, in early October, a deadly blaze ripped through their land.

"We had minutes to load up the animals and run from the advancing firestorm," Odin's owner Roland Hendel said in a post on "Despite the sounds of exploding propane tanks, twisting metal, and the hot swirling winds, Odin refused to leave our family of eight bottle-fed rescue goats." 

Certain that Odin and the goats had not survived the harrowing ordeal, the Hendel family was stunned when they returned days later to the now-vanished property to find the animals alive, and with some new friends by their side. 

"We found a burned, battered, and weakened Odin, surrounded by his eight goats, and several small deer who had come to him for protection and safety," Hendel wrote. "Odin was weak, and limping, his once thick and beautiful coat singed orange, his whiskers melted." 

Hendel described his awe of Odin's bravery in the midst of what was a terrifying, near-death ordeal.

Since then, Hendel has told well-wishers on the site that Odin and the goats are enjoying a well-deserved rest. "Odin seems completely recovered from his sore paws, and the goats have settled down," Hendel wrote. Odin even received his first soothing bath since the fire, but, as his dog dad will tell you, he prefers spending his time near his herd of goats. 

Odin, who is expected to make a full recovery is, as Hendel so perfectly put it, "a message of courage and hope in these trying times." 

Read more: Wildfire Safety and Preparedness for Your Pet

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