As firefighters and members of the public continue to deal with the devastating effects of the recent wildfires in California, there have been just a few silver linings for some people in the area.
The deadly fires started on November 8, and rapidly swept across the state.
One family caught up in it all was the Yeager family, who knew their home was in danger and that they had to leave the area immediately. After picking up her daughters from school, Michel Yeager drove home to get their dog – a one-year-old husky called Max.
Unfortunately, after returning to the house, and with the fire getting ever closer, Max was nowhere to be seen.
Speaking to The Dodo, Michel said:
We have a pretty big yard and he always likes to hide under our porch when he’s scared, and I wasn’t able to get to him.
I saw the fire ash falling from the sky and I knew I had to get my girls out. We were only able to stay for less than five minutes.
After leaving the house, the Yeager family feared they would lose their home in the fire. Sadly, on November 10, it was confirmed that their house had not survived the blaze.
The family also feared that, with the loss of their home, the chances of seeing Max again were slim. However, they refused to give up, and posted messages on social media in the hope that someone might have seen him.
However, while scrolling through their news feed, the Yeager family came across a news video about a dog that was found in the fires, whose name was Max.
Though the dog on screen looked nothing like the Max they knew, the family decided to investigate.
My husband Jeff was actually looking through news videos on Facebook and came across one that said they found a dog named Max by Stratton’s Market on Sawmill.
We live about a few houses down, so we called up the news person [and] asked how he knew his name and everything, and he described his collar.
As soon as they heard the description of the dog’s collar, they knew it was in fact their beloved husky.
They rushed to see him and, though he had been badly injured in the fires and had lost all his fur, Max was still overjoyed to see his family again.
It was amazing and sad, with a lot of emotions from my girls and I. He’s the same dog but he looks so different now. My youngest daughter is just so in love with him. At first she was scared, but after a few minutes she knew it was him.
Thankfully, Max is now recovering at a veterinary hospital, and staff there are confident that he will make a full recovery.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help those impacted by the fires – you can donate here.
If you are affected by the California fires, please visit Cal Fire for up to date information about evacuation centres and containment.
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.