Dog that was abandoned by family during California wildfires found badly-burned but guarding neighbor's home

A courageous border collie was found protecting the only home still standing on her block in Paradise, where the deadly Camp Fire destroyed more than 90 percent of the neighborhood


                            Dog that was abandoned by family during California wildfires found badly-burned but guarding neighbor's home

On November 8, Mike and Leahna Copsey, along with their daughters eight-year-old Clarisa and 10-year-old Emma, followed evacuation orders and moved out of their home after the raging Camp Fire blaze broke out. Unfortunately, due to their vehicle being completely full with their belongings, they were forced to leave their dog Ella behind. Two days later, she was found alive by a family friend who returned to the area. Ella was badly burned and despite being considerably frightened, she was found guarding another resident's home.

Unfortunately, due to the vehicle being completely full with their belongings, the Copseys were forced to leave behind their dog, Ella. (GoFundMe)
Unfortunately, due to the vehicle being completely full with their belongings, the Copseys were forced to leave behind their dog, Ella. (GoFundMe)

In a conversation with Visalia Times Delta, Leahna Copsey explained the relieving phone call she got from a family friend after she had presumed that Ella didn't make it out of the blaze alive. "She was protecting it... she was protecting the only house left on the block," Copsey said. Clarisa, her daughter, said: "She’s a really good dog, so I was really relieved she was alive and it was only minor burns."

After leaving Paradise, the Copseys traveled to Lake County, which is approximately two hours away. Now, as the family works to rebuild what was lost, the border collie is being cared for by Kayla, the couple's oldest daughter. A crowdfunding page set up by Kayla to help her family pay for Ella's medical bills has crossed $1,800 of its $650 goal as of Monday.

Ella was badly-burned and despite being considerably frightened, she was found guarding another resident's home. (GoFundMe)

Ella was badly-burned and despite being considerably frightened, she was found guarding another resident's home. (GoFundMe)

"It’s definitely an odd feeling asking for financial help. And among the thousands of others that need help as well, my family and I are there too," Kayla wrote.

"Like many other animals that have been affected by Camp Fire, Ella is one of them. After going through the fire we are very lucky to have her back with us. 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."

The family was provided with food, a crate, and toys for Ella by the Butte Humane Society. (GoFundMe)
The family was provided with food, a crate, and toys for Ella by the Butte Humane Society. (GoFundMe)

The family was provided with food, a crate, and toys for Ella by the Butte Humane Society. Katrina Woodcox, the executive director of the organization, knew she needed to do something to help after seeing tens of thousands of residents displaced because of the fire.

Now, as the family works to rebuild what was lost, the border collie is being cared for by Kayla (pictured), the couple's oldest daughter. (Facebook)
Now, as the family works to rebuild what was lost, the border collie is being cared for by Kayla (pictured), the couple's oldest daughter. (Facebook)

"I just thought we need to create a pet supply and food pantry," she said. "Our focus at the humane society is to think about the immediate needs of the evacuees and really anybody affected by the fire."

"When the media goes away, and the fire is out, and life goes back to normal and kids go back to school, we’re still going to have the occupants of 7,000 homes who have nothing," Woodcox continued. "I would like to see and hope that our community and beyond our community can support these folks for the next however long it takes." 

As of Sunday afternoon, the death toll from the Northern California Camp Fire had risen to 76, Daily Mail reports.