SANTA ROSA (CBS13) — He is a true hero, who saved nine lives as the Tubbs Fire, the most destructive in California history, began burning its way through the hills above Santa Rosa.
If he could talk about it, he might tell you he was just doing his job; a job Odin, a white-haired Pyrenees puppy, was bred to do.
It was late on the evening of Oct. 8, when Roland Tembo Hendel and his daughter Ariel Faye began packing and running for their lives, as the flames roared down a hillside and toward their Santa Rosa home.There was no time to gather eight goats and one tough guardian dog, and the two feared the pets would face a certain agonizing death. But that wasn’t going to happen on the dog’s watch.
Twelve days ago, Roland and Ariel, never thought they would see Odin, sister pup Tess, and the eight goats again, let alone be playing with them:
“This breed of dogs doesn’t do tricks..they’re livestock dogs, Hendel explained. He sat down looked at me “as if to say ‘I’m not going anywhere,’ so I said ‘OK Odie, take care, and we’ll be back for you,’ So I opened the pen and down the road I went.”
After hours of searching for safety, and finding it in nearby Sebastopol, the longtime San Francisco resident broke down and began sobbing, certain his beloved livestock, the animals’ guard dog and his home were lost forever.
Meantime, Odin bravely acted as he was bred to, herding the goats one by one into a large outcropping of rock, where somehow, they escaped the flames pretty much unscathed, suffering not much more than singed fur and one toasted paw.
Introducing Odin to a visitor, he gently set the heroic pup down and gently examined the wound.
“Let’s see how it looks? See it’s much better.”
Eight goats, two dogs, and two adults, laughing, playing and displaying the special kind of happiness that comes when a close family loses touch and despite all odds is safely reunited. Later Friday, the goats, and dogs were trucked off to an animal sanctuary, where they’ll play and wait to be taken back home. Roland plans to rebuild, promising the new home will be fireproof.
It’s already got a built-in security system. A dog named, remarkably, after the Norse God Odin. The God of War, known to protect animals and get out of tough situations through the use of magic.
Odin I, may have been mythical.
Odin II, he’s the real deal.