When Ella’s owners evacuated their Paradise, Calif., home, they weren’t able to take the dog with them. But as wildfires raged through the neighborhood, Ella stood watch at the one house that was still standing, according to California’s Visalia Times-Delta.
The outlet reports that Ella, a border collie, stayed amid the smoke and rubble for almost two days. The family wasn’t sure if Ella would survive the flames. But a family friend told Ella’s owners, Mike and Leahna Copsey, that he’d seen her standing guard outside their neighbor’s house, according to the paper.
The Copseys’ neighborhood was almost completely destroyed by the Camp Fire, the deadly California wildfire that started on Nov. 8. As of Saturday, the death toll was 71, and more than 1,000 missing persons had been reported.
As for Ella, the dog is now living with Kayla Westman, the Copseys’ eldest daughter, according to the Visalia Times-Delta. Westman has created a GoFundMe page where users can make donations to help her pay for Ella’s medical bills. So far, she’s raised $175 of a $650 goal to help Ella, who suffered burns in the fire.
“Like many other animals that have been affected by the Camp Fire, Ella is one of them. After going through the fire we are very lucky to have her back with us,” Westman wrote on the GoFundMe page. “And while vet bills have already been discounted for fire victims, it’s still adding up quickly. Already spending $250, any little bit helps for the future visits we will be making.”
Meanwhile, the family’s younger children are thrilled to know their pet is OK. “She’s a really good dog, so I was really relieved she was alive and it was only minor burns,” 8-year-old Clarisa Copsey said.
The family also told the paper that the Butte Humane Society has provided food and toys for Ella, as well as a bed and crate. Still, even though Ella is safe, the family is without a home. A separate GoFundMe page for the Copseys says that the family has “lost everything in this fire.”
On Saturday, President Trump visited Paradise, Calif. “Right now we want to take care of the people who have been so badly hurt,” he said, according to USA Today. “This is very sad to see. As far as the lives are concerned, nobody knows quite yet.”