Roland Tembo Hendel realized it was finally time to leave the family home as the Tubbs Fire grew closer to their property. The problem? There was no room for their flock of goats.
“By 11:10 we could see the first of the flames across the valley,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “By 11:15 they were growing larger and the winds went mad. We had loaded up the dogs and cats, but Odin, our stubborn and fearless Great Pyrenees would not leave the goats.”
Their dog, Odin, refused to abandon them so the family watched as they left, hoping they would see him knowing he might not survive.
“Even under the best of circumstances it is nearly impossible to separate Odin from the goats after nightfall when he takes over the close watch from his sister Tessa,” Hendel wrote. “I made a decision to leave him, and I doubt I could have made him come with us if I tried.”
After the fire subsided enough for the Hendel family to return to their burned out home, they braced for the worst.
“We were able to make it back to the smoldering wasteland of our forest,” Hendel wrote on Facebook. “Every structure is in ruins. Trees are still burning.”
But suddenly, the goats appeared and raced toward the family. And there was Odin — fur burned, whiskers melted, limping on his right leg. The battle injuries suffered in his desperate fight with the flames.
During the firestorm Odin not only protected his flock, he also seems to have adopted several baby deer who were huddled around him for safety.
“Odin has lived up to his namesake,” Hendel wrote. “Pray for him and his charges. He is our inspiration. If he can be so fearless in this maelstrom, surely so can we.”