As the so-called Valley Fire wildfire raced toward his Lower Lake, Calif., home six days ago, 76-year-old Lawrence Ross had little time to evacuate.
He grabbed what he could, but had to leave behind his senior Black Lab, Thumper.
“I think my house is okay, but I don’t know, and my dog is there, and my goats and horses and alpacas,” Ross tearfully told Associated Press reporter Brian Skoloff yesterday at an evacuation center.
“My dog, my dog.”
Ross said he’d had a nightmare that his house was burning down, “and I could hear her screaming as she burned.”
Skoloff asked Ross to show him where his house was on a map. The reporter then drove 10 miles, past burned terrain and downed power lines, to the address. He couldn’t believe what he saw.
The grounds around the house were burned, but the house was still standing.
“Two horses grazed on hay in the yard. The alpacas stared at me from their pen. Goats scurried about like nothing had happened,” Skoloff wrote. “But there was no sign of Thumper.”
For an hour, Skoloff walked around the property, calling out Thumper’s name. The dog finally appeared, covered in soot and wagging her tail. She had been hiding in a crawlspace under the house.
“She leaped into my lap, licked my face, then rolled over on her back as I rubbed her belly and I cried,” Skoloff wrote.
“‘Good girl, Thumper!’ I kept telling her. ‘You made it!'”
There were more tears when the reporter called Ross to tell him the good news.
Skoloff drove Thumper to the evacuation center to be reunited with her dog dad.
“I barely had the back door open when Thumper pushed her way out and ran toward him, her entire body wagging now,” he wrote.
“I can’t believe it,” Ross kept saying.
Here are some ways you can help pets displaced by the devastating wildfires in Northern California.
Photo via Facebook