Badly Burned Dog Abandoned In Wildfire Found Guarding Neighbour’s House

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A border collie abandoned in the California wildfires was found guarding a neighbour’s house. 

The brave dog, named Ella, was left to protect herself against the raging Camp wildfire which has been tearing through northern California for over 10 days.

The dog’s owners lived in the town of Paradise; where the Camp Fire has destroyed buildings and killed at least 10 people. The town’s residents were evacuated, and Ella’s family escaped the threatening flames by travelling to Lake County, roughly two hours away.

After packing up their belongings, parents Mike and Leahna Copsey and their daughters tragically left no space in the car for their four-legged family member, meaning Ella couldn’t join them in the evacuation.

Leahna was sure the dog wouldn’t have survived the fire, but incredibly – no thanks to the family – Ella proved her wrong.

After the wildfire tore through Paradise, one of the Copsey’s family friends returned to the area and discovered the brilliant dog on the doorstep of a neighbour’s house.

Ella’s own house had been destroyed, so instead she turned to protect and seek refuge at the neighbour’s; the only house on the block which remained standing.

The mother explained to Visalia Times-Delta:

She was protecting it. She was protecting the only house left on the block.

Ella was treated for her burns and has since been staying with the family’s eldest daughter, Kayla Westman. Kayla has shared several photos of the beautiful collie with her paws bandaged up as she recovers from her injuries.

The Butte Humane Society provided a dog crate, bed, food and toys for the deserving dog, though to help pay for Ella’s vet bills Kayla set up a GoFundMe account with a goal of $650.

In just four days, the goal has been exceeded with over $1,500 raised for Ella.

Since beginning on November 8, the Camp Fire has killed 77 people, burned through 150,000 acres, and destroyed more than 9,700 homes.

According to CNN, Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea spoke about the magnitude of the wildfire, saying:

It is overwhelming, I don’t have any word to describe it. This is unprecedented. No one has had to deal with this magnitude that caused so much destruction and regrettably so much death.

Almost 1,000 people are still unaccounted for in the midst of the hectic evacuations, and according to Cal Fire, the blaze isn’t expected to be contained until November 30.

Leahna told Visalia Times-Delta about her experience of the approaching Camp Fire and resulting evacuation, describing how she thought it was simply raining when the sky darkened.

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She recalled:

I thought it was raining. I went and put my hands out and charcoal fell from the trees.

All you could see was where the fire wasn’t. It was like something out of a movie. They had no idea where the fire was, and for it to jump like that – it was unreal.

All those working to contain the fire and helping those affected are doing an incredible job – our thoughts are with all those involved.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected] 


Emily Brown

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.