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Guard Dog Wouldn’t Leave Goat Flock During California Fires—And Lived to Tell the Story
By Andrew Amelinckx
The fire the Hendels barely escaped was part of the Northern California firestorm that has so far claimed 40 lives—including one of their neighbors, Lynne Powell—destroyed countless homes, and caused billions of dollars in damage.
"Later that morning when we had outrun the fires I cried, sure that I had sentenced Odie to death, along with our precious family of bottle-raised goats," Roland Hendel wrote in a recent Facebook post.
Odin, named after the Norse God, was known for his fierce loyalty to his flock, over which he shared guarding duty with his sister, Tessa (who was taken to safety with the family). According to his master, it was nearly impossible to separate him from the goats, even in the best of circumstances. "I made a decision to leave him, and I doubt I could have made him come with us if I tried," wrote Hendel.
Odin with his goat flock after the fire.Roland Hendel / Facebook
Finally, on Oct. 10, after the fire subsided enough for the family to return to their home—they had to sneak in via a backroad due to roadblocks that had been set up—they found the property in ruins, with trees still burning and an estimated million dollars worth of damage. They expected the worst in regard to Odin and the other animals. Suddenly the goats appeared (unscathed save for a minor, small burn on one) and raced towards them, followed close behind by Odin, his fur singed, his whiskers melted, and hobbling along favoring his right side. Hendel couldn't believe it, calling it a miracle. Even more amazing, Odin had adopted several baby deer who huddled around him for safety.
Part of the Hendel's devastated property in Santa Rosa. Roland Hendel / Facebook
There was a slight scare on Oct. 14, when it appeared that all the animals had wandered off the property. They returned later that day, however, and Hendel suspects they likely went in search of their humans.
Odin was soon reunited with his sister. "He appears to be getting stronger, and his sister's presence will surely help to lift his spirits and take some of the burden off his giant shoulders," wrote Hendel, who'd rescued the siblings as puppies—this had been the first time ever the pair had spent even a day apart, according to ABC 7 News, which first reported the story.
All the animals were eventually taken to a temporary shelter where they are now recovering from their ordeal. The family has set up a YouCaring crowdfunding page, here, to help cover Odin's medical care and rebuild their property. Since first posting, the crowdfunding page has been shared more than 8,000 times and raised more than $64,000. The animals are doing well, said Hendel. Odin is getting stronger and enjoying all the attention and spotlight, especially a special steak dinner he and his sister were treated to along with a free visit to a local dog groomer.
"Odin has lived up to his namesake," Hendel wrote on Facebook. "Pray for him and his charges. He is our inspiration. If he can be so fearless in this maelstrom, surely so can we." If you'd like to hear more about this story in Hendel's own words, listen to this CBC Radio interview.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Cathy Brown
Most of us have heard about UN researchers warning that we need to make dramatic changes in the next 12 years to limit our risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty caused by climate change. Report after report about a bleak climate future can leave people in despair.
Losing weight, improving heart health and decreasing your chances for metabolic diseases like diabetes may be as simple as cutting back on a handful of Oreos or saying no to a side of fries, according to a new study published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
It's important to remember that one person can make a difference. From teenagers to world-renowned scientists, individuals are inspiring positive shifts around the world. Maybe you won't become a hard-core activist, but this list of people below can inspire simple ways to kickstart better habits. Here are seven people advocating for a better planet.
Scotland produced enough power from wind turbines in the first half of 2019, that it could power Scotland twice over. Put another way, it's enough energy to power all of Scotland and most of Northern England, according to the BBC — an impressive step for the United Kingdom, which pledged to be carbon neutral in 30 years.
By Jessica A. Knoblauch
It's been a particularly terrible summer for bees. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is allowing the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor back on the market. And just a few weeks prior, the USDA announced it is suspending data collection for its annual honeybee survey, which tracks honeybee populations across the U.S., providing critical information to farmers and scientists.
tommaso79 / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Rachel Licker
As a new mom, I've had to think about heat safety in many new ways since pregnant women and young children are among the most vulnerable to extreme heat.