With the sky lit orange, they started driving away to get to safety. As Roland drove out of the area,cars could be seen in the rear-view mirror with flames pouring out the windows. Roland and his family knew they’d only just made it. Escaping the flames with two of their pets, the clothes they had on their backs and a cell phone between them all. Still, they made it out, but not unscathed. They shared tears later that evening certain that leaving Odin, and the eight goats Aurora, Jack Sparrow, Tinkerbell, Peaches, Daryl, JoJo, Dixon and Amun-Ra that they would have died an excruciating death. They could only imagine the horrid scenes that would greet them when they returned…

Roland spent that evening second-guessing himself. Could he have coaxed Odin any harder than he did? As he writes on a Facebook update: “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.” Odin for sure was committed to the work he did. He cared for the goats as the family that they were to him, just like his sister Tessa. The future must’ve felt a lot emptier with the loss of an extended family of 9…

All the family could do was hope and pray. They’d keep an eye on the news to find out when it’d be safe to return. The news looked bleak. Santa Rosa County was ablaze and the updates that were coming were that of a death toll rising. By the time the fire was under control, the total death count from the California Wildfire death count rose to 22 people killed. Hope was fading and turning to memories. Like the time Roland, a vegetarian, bought the goats at an auction, certain they were going to wind up being meat for the local pigs. He’d rescued them before; surely this wouldn’t be the end. Could it?

The news came the following day that residents could return to Santa Rosa to inspect the damage. It was uninhabitable though. Everything was burned to cinders. Homes were blackened and flattened. Burned out vehicles were the only things raised off the ground. The family's home was gone, the workshop, the pumphouse for the water supply and Ariel's ATV that she got for her 12th birthday. Nothing was left. Amongst the devastation though was a miraculous moment. The eight bottle-fed goats run towards the family for ‘cuddles and kisses’. None of the family could believe it. As happy as they were to see the goats, their attention turned quickly toward Odin…

As the goats run across to the family, Odin came limping behind them. He could barely stand up let alone walk. A minute or two standing was all he could summon the energy to manage. His coat was orange, and his whiskers melted, yet around him was a family of baby deer! Odin’s caring nature to protect livestock not only saw the goats through the horrifying ordeal but he’d also took a family of deer under his wing. He lived up to his name Odin – named after the Norse god. All the other animals seemed to be in good shape, with the exception of some of the goats having the odd burn on them. The deer were drinking water from the trough, although they did have the occasional cough, as did the goats and Odin, due to smoke inhalation. Odin was in need of veterinary care though and a volunteer vet did check him and the others. You won’t believe what the veterinarian found…

Despite the orange color of Odin’s coat, it was only singed from the heat. The only burns he had were on his paws and he would fully recover with time. The coughing would settle too, as it would for each of the goats. All that remained was to get all the animals out to safety, which couldn’t be done until the roads were opened. In the meantime, Roland set up a makeshift water supply to keep the animals hydrated. He returned the following day to move them onto safer land, only to find them gone. Roland was certain that, given Odin had seen them all through the fierce fire safely, they’d be safe. Where though, nobody knew…

As it turned out, Odin had gone in search of them and returned with the animals in tow. A YouCaring page was set up to help raise funds to rebuild the filtration system, pump house, barn and replace the fence around the land to keep the goats secure. The family received an overwhelming response and have raised the funds they need to begin rebuilding. However, the fundraising appeal does remain open, as sadly, the deer weren’t able to be rescued in time.