PARADISE, Calif. - When Andrea Gaylord finally returned to her home in Paradise, she didn't expect to find the dogs that she was forced to leave behind the morning of the Camp Fire.
When the flames approached her home on Nov. 8, she couldn't find her two dogs, who mainly lived outside, and was forced to leave them behind to escape the flames.
"It was the worst feeling in the world," she said. "It's like you have to choose."
When the area shut down to evacuees, Gaylord couldn't get back in to search for her dogs Madison and Miguel.
However, a short time later she got a call from an animal rescue volunteer, Shayla Sullivan, who heard about her dogs and started to leave food and water for them in the area.
"I figured if they're there, they won't go hungry," Sullivan said.
One month later, Gaylord was finally able to return the area where her home was in Paradise. When she arrived she stumbled upon a miracle: Madison, one of her dogs, sitting next to her burned home as if she was waiting for her return.
"It was like there was this higher power," Gaylord said. "It was an affirmation that these dogs were survivors."
Gaylord's second dog, Miguel, was found by volunteers and reunited with its brother.
"This is their home and those dogs protect their flock," Sullivan said. "These people are their flock. They love those people."
Gaylord said she knows that Paradise will recover and homes can be rebuilt, but nothing will ever replace the love of a pet.
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