Clint and Kathy Weaver awoke to 30-foot walls of flames surrounding their Sonoma home at around 1 a.m. last Monday. They knew they had to leave right away.
As Clint, 68, ran down the driveway surrounded by heat and flames to unlock their gate to get out, an explosion knocked him into a ditch, breaking his arm. Kathy, 62, followed behind, while holding the collar of their 9-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, Izzy.
As Kathy unlocked the car door, she took her hand off Izzy’s collar. The startled dog sprinted into the darkness as 60 mile per hour winds fanned the flames.
“Izzy was so spooked by everything,” Jack Weaver, 37, the couple’s son, tells PEOPLE. “My mom tried to go after her but she had to get out. My mom was just devastated.”
The couple drove through “walls of flames and across a burning wooden bridge,” to safety, their daughter, Beckyjean Widen, wrote on Facebook.
The enormity of it all, of losing her home of almost of 30 years and losing her beloved Izzy overwhelmed Kathy. “It was awful,” says Jack. “My mom couldn’t stop crying, the grief and sadness of it all.”
So on Tuesday morning, Oct. 10, Jack and his brother-in-law, Patrick Widen, decided to check on the Weavers’ property and “see if by some miracle Izzy survived,” Beckyjean Widen wrote.
“They were turned away by police officers, but if you know my brother Jack or husband Patrick . . . neither one likes to be told no,” Widen wrote.
Jack, who grew up at the home, knew a way in that would involve jumping a wall, hiking through a creek and walking up a very steep hillside.
The pair wore masks to protect themselves from the heavy smoke. Jack filmed the final minutes of their journey, to show his parents what the property looked like.
In the video, which BeckyJean posted on Facebook and now has over 2 million views Jack’s heavy breathing is heard as he and Patrick approach the Weavers’ property.
They see what’s left of the house — “Nothing,” says Weaver. The smoke is so thick, “I can’t show you the view,” he adds.
The pair intermittently calls and whistles for Izzy.
Then, just beyond a green bush, there is some movement. Then a brown ball of fur emerges, tail wagging.
“Izzy’s here, Izzy. Izzy,” shouts Jack. “Come here, baby!”
Izzy romps to the camera as Patrick yells: “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.”
“When she got to me I dropped the phone, I was so excited, I was in disbelief, I was thrilled,” says Jack. “When she got to me we hugged and kissed her.”
Weaver took Izzy straight to a veterinarian, who thought the pup’s thick fur insulated her from the flames. She had no injuries, just mild dehydration.
“She is a miracle dog, she survived cancer twice,” says Jack. “And now she’s lived through a fire, she’s an incredible dog, and the sweetest dog.”
Jack called his mother to share the good news. Says Jack: “She was sobbing too much to keep speaking.
As for Izzy, she, Kathy and Clint are living with Jack and his family in nearby Windsor.
“We were hoping against hope we’d find Izzy, but based on what my mom had seen, she was certain Izzy was gone,” says Jack. “We didn’t expect her to be there like she was.”