It would seem that dogs, in addition to being man’s, are also best friends with goats and deer. Odin, a loyal, headstrong Great Pyrenees who guards his owner’s goat herd, refused to leave their side even when fierce wildfires bore down around his home in Sonoma County, California. “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,” wrote Roland Tembo Hendel, Odin’s owner. “I made a decision to leave him, and I doubt I could have made him come with us if I tried.” Thankfully, even though buildings around their location burned to the ground, Odin and his goats survived and were even joined by a few adopted baby deer.

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Santa Rosa, wildlife, dog, goat

Around 10:30, Hendel began to smell smoke at his property. About a half hour later, Hendel and his family caught their first glimpse of flames coming into their valley. After Hendel and his family gathered their other dogs and cat into the vehicle, they had to depart without Odin, who refused to leave his goats. “Cars behind us on Mark West Springs Road were pouring flames out of the windows as they roared down the road,” said Hendel of the scene. “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.”

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Santa Rosa, wildlife, dog, goat

Hendel and his family were thrilled to return and find their animal companions alive and well. Although every nearby structure had been destroyed, Odin kept his flock safe from harm. “Eight goats came running to see us and get cuddles and kisses. Dixon has a burn on his back the size of a nickel. Other than that they are perfectly fine,” said Hendel. Odin received minor injuries from the fire. The baby deer that joined the herd found both shelter and clean water with the help of their new canine papa. “Odin has lived up to his namesake,” wrote Hendel. “Pray for him and his charges. He is our inspiration. If he can be so fearless in this maelstrom, surely so can we.”

Santa Rosa, wildlife, dog, goat

Hendel and his family are raising funds, half of every dollar for a replacement trailer for Odin and his goats and half for the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Center. After the trailer has been paid for, all of the proceeds will go to SCWRC. Donations can be made here.

Via Treehugger

Images via Roland Tembo Hendel/Facebook