Named after a revered Norse god, Odin the dog more than lived up to his mythical moniker last week when his innately heroic nature took over during the devastating California wildfires.
As ABC News 7 reported, the Hendel family of Santa Rosa first saw the Tubbs fire flames spread across Sonoma County at 11 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8, and by 11:15 p.m. Roland Hendel knew that he and his daughter had to flee their home. They quickly began loading up their cats and dogs, but knew they’d be unable to save their eight bottle-fed rescue goats. However, one furry member of the family, Odin the Great Pyrenees, wasn’t going anywhere.
“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,” Hendel wrote on a YouCaring.com fundraising page.
“He was determined to stay with the goats and I had to let him do it,” Hendel told ABC News.
This meant that Odin was even risking separation from his sister, Tessa. Hendel had rescued both dogs as puppies, and they’d never spent more than a day apart in their lives. He was certain they’d lost Odin and the goats to the all-consuming flames.
“I was sure I had sentenced them to a horrific and agonizing death,” he wrote on YouCaring.
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Instead, all the animals shockingly beat the odds. When Hendel checked in with his neighbors, they reported back that they’d spotted Odin and the goats alive and well on Hendel’s property.
By Tuesday, Hendel was determined to return to his animals. He dodged police roadblocks throughout his still-burning neighborhood to get home, where he found his heroic, albeit injured dog, safe and continuing to protect the goats as well as a few baby deer who’d also joined the herd. The steadfast pup’s fur was singed, his whiskers melted and he had a limp — plus, everything the Hendels’ owned was gone — but all things considered, the animals’ survival was a miracle.
“We lost a million dollars worth of property; I don’t really care, we can replace all that. I just want my animals safe,” Hendel told ABC News.
Odin and the goats stayed on the property since Hendel didn’t have anywhere he could take them, but he gave them food and water, and he returned the next day to reunite the hero dog with his sister, Tessa.
Since then, Odin has been getting stronger, but Hendel says they are not out of the woods yet.
“Our pumphouse was destroyed, and we have no fresh water supply for them. All structures on our property were decimated, including the barn we had lovingly rebuilt for them earlier this year. And winter is coming. We have been overwhelmed with offers for help and assistance from our extended family of friends and loved ones. We would like to ask that you all direct this compassion to Odin, Tessa, and our goats, so we can re-establish a fresh water supply and rebuild their barn before the winter. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated,” wrote on YouCaring. “When you lose everything, it is easy to see what is important. I pray we can get our animal family what they need to win their heroic fight for survival, so Odin’s bravery and sacrifice are not in vain.”
Since Hendel first posted the YouCaring page, the family has raised more than $43,000 of a $45,000 goal. The page has been shared more than 5,000 times, but Odin and the Hendels can use all the help they can get. Click here to further help the cause.
As of Monday, Hendel had a happy update to share with the Facebook community.
“Ariel and I saw Odin, Tessa and the goats at the shelter yesterday. They are all doing great, and Odin is his old happy self! He is sure enjoying the attention and spotlight,” Hendel wrote. “I got some steak for Odin and Tessa, but did not have time to cook it yesterday, so I am going to do that now. A local pet groomer has offered to give both Odin and Tessa a full treatment for their coats! What a treat for them both.”
“I am overwhelmed by the support that we have received from all of you. So much kindness and compassion. The human spirit is truly a remarkable and wondrous thing.”