After the Camp Fire raged through Northern California, destroying thousands of acres of homes and property, animal rescuers were among the first boots on the ground in the reconstruction effort, seeking out pets who had survived the state’s deadliest wildfire to date.
One incredibly brave dog named Madison, who proved himself to be quite a challenge to recover, quickly became a favorite of K9 Paw Print Rescue.
“I had sighted Madison a few times deep in the Canyon BUT knew he took his job seriously and wasn’t going to be an easy catch,” wrote rescuer Shayla Sullivan in a comment on the viral Facebook post that shares Madison’s amazing story. Unable to capture Madison, Shayla frequently visited the area to leave food and water for the evasive dog.
Madison’s owner, Andrea Gaylord, was forced to evacuate her Paradise, California home after the Camp Fire broke out early in November, according to The Hill. Gaylord must have been utterly heartbroken as she was left unable to access her home and rescue Madison herself.
Madison, however, is an Anatolian Shepherd, a steady, reserved dog bred to guard livestock against any threat. “Their instinctual job is to watch the flocks and we’re part of them,” Gaylord said of this powerful breed. “It’s a comforting feeling.”
In spite of his home being burned to the ground and his family nowhere to be seen (or sniffed out!) amazing Madison sat and waited for them to return for an entire month!
Sullivan, who had found Gaylord’s other dog, Miguel, a whopping 87 miles away in Citrus Heights, had the idea of placing an article of clothing that would smell like Gaylord at the site “to keep Madison’s hope alive until his people could return.”
“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,” Sullivan announced in her comment. “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!
“Imagine the loyalty of hanging in through the worst of circumstances and being here waiting,” Gaylord said, praising Madison. “You could never ask for better animals.”
“I am sure as more people return the Furr Babies that survived the fire WILL know their people are back,” Sullivan excitedly concluded in her comment. “Here’s to many more reunions ahead! Keep the HOPE alive!”
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Former Green Beret Sentenced To A Night In Jail, But What The Judge Does Next Will Blow You Away
Judge Lou Olivera doesn’t have an easy job.
Sure, it’s great to be the one to hand down justice to an unrepentant criminal or someone who poses a serious danger to society. Still, judges have hearts like anyone else and there are just as many instances where a judge like Olivera is forced to sentence someone they truly wish they could help.
Olivera, district court judge over the Veterans Treatment Court in Cumberland County, North Carolina, showed the world his kind heart after he was forced to sentence former Green Beret Joe Serna for probation violation.
As a Gulf War veteran, Olivera is no stranger to the life-altering experience of combat. He’s seen plenty, placing him in a unique position to serve both his community and his fellow servicemen as a judge.
When Serna’s case came before him, Olivera was deeply moved.
Serna, a three-tour veteran of the war in Afghanistan and two-time Purple Heart recipient, is one of the innumerable veterans who find themselves suffering from PTSD and unable to cope back home.
For many veterans like Serna, alcohol or drugs seem to be waiting with open arms, offering false comfort and sending them on a downward spiral of self-destruction. The Veterans Treatment Court exists to serve veterans fighting this kind of battle, and it became Judge Olivera’s mission to make a difference in Serna’s life.
Serna was arrested for drunk driving a few years before this court date. One condition of his probation was that he was strictly prohibited from drinking alcohol. But when Serna lied about a recent urine test, Olivera couldn’t just let it slide.
“I gave Joe a night in jail because he had to be held accountable,” Olivera recounted to CBS.
Later on, when Serna entered his cell for the night, terrible memories came flooding back into his mind, memories of the event that sparked his PTSD.
“When I walked into the jail cell, and they closed the door behind me, I started feeling this anxiety,” Serna said. “It came back—a flashback.”
As an Army Sargent First Class, Serna survived an IED and a suicide bomber during his time in Afghanistan, but that wasn’t the event that shook him. Instead, it was a simple truck ride with three other men in his company that proved to be the most horrific event of his life.
“We were following the creek and the road gave way,” Serna recalled, tearfully, “And the vehicle went into the creek.”
As the water began rising in the truck, Serna found himself stuck and totally unable to move. The water rose up to his chin before finally subsiding and, tragically, he was the only one to leave that truck alive. Because of this incident, Serna not only suffers from PTSD, but extreme claustrophobia.
Judge Olivera, however, wasn’t finished with Serna. “I knew what Joe was going through and I knew Joe’s history. And he had to be held accountable,” Olivera said, “but I just felt I had to go with him. I felt I had to go with him.”
Within a few minutes of being locked up, Serna received the surprise of a lifetime when Judge Olivera walked through the door to join him for the night.
“We talked about our families,” Serna said, smiling. “The walls didn’t exist anymore. He brought me back to North Carolina from being in a truck in Afghanistan.”
“He is a judge, but that night, he was my battle buddy,” Serna said. “He knew what I was going through. As a warrior, he connected.”
And, just like that, Olivera, who saw his brother-in-arms struggling, lifted him up and carried him through the night, and hopefully sparked a change leading to a brighter future for Serna.
WATCH: A Group of Strangers Work Together to Save Puppies From Pet Store Inferno
The incredible lengths even a stranger off the street will go to in order to save a life, even when their efforts may put their own lives at risk, never cease to amaze.
When a fire broke out at Puppy Love, a pet store in Danbury, Connecticut, 86 terrified puppies were trapped in the blaze.
According to San Antonio Express-News, the call came in around 9 pm that the building had caught fire, and firefighters arrived on the scene in just two minutes. A second alarm was called in right away, but the firefighters knew they had to act quickly to rescue the animals inside.
“Chief, we gotta get the animals out,” one firefighter was overheard saying.
That’s when concerned members of the Danbury community started coming out of the woodwork to help rescue the howling dogs inside Puppy Love.
Civilians stopped their cars in the street, diners at neighboring restaurants got up from their seats, and even the manager of a nearby bar ran to the scene to break into the building and start pulling out crates containing the helpless, whimpering pups.
Even with brave citizens boldly smashing windows to rescue dogs in their crates, the sheer volume of animals inside forced them to come up with another plan.
With the heaviest flames still at the back of the building, the incredible crew of firefighters and civilians quickly formed a “human chain” to pull the dogs out of the building, Deputy Fire Chief Steve Williams said.
Thanks to their bravery, all 86 dogs and puppies were safely evacuated from the building and no injuries to animal or human were reported.
Sean Silverman, who co-owns Puppy Love with his wife, Nancy, revealed that the fire originated at a pole barn behind the store owned by a local utility company.
The Silvermans made their immense gratitude to the community who rallied behind them known in a recent Facebook post.
“We want to thank all of the Danbury Fire Department, City of Danbury Police Department, many veterinarian staff of Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital and South Salem Animal Hospital, staff of Stanziato’s Wood Fired Pizza and the whole community of Danbury and beyond for reaching out and helping the Puppy Love family!”
“All of our puppies are safe, warm and happily ate an extra dinner tonight,” they continued. “Stanziatos was kind enough to open their doors to us so our puppies have temporary housing while our store can be cleaned and be put back to order.”
This fire could have been a heartrending tragedy, but thank goodness for the brave firefighters and civilians who risked their own lives to give this story a happy ending.
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