Heartwarming story about dog reunited with owners months after Valley Fire in California

Blog Post created by faithberry Employee on Jan 20, 2016

I just read a heartwarming story about a dog reunited with its owner four months after a wildfire destroyed their home and neighborhood. The dog somehow escaped from the home during a massive wildfire that burned in Northern California in September. The dog’s owners, Darci Andrews and Bernie Hosmer, live in Hidden Valley Lake and said that they lost other pets and all of their possessions in the wildfire that occurred in their community.

Tia, a Husky/pit bull mix, was somehow not only able to escape and survive the wildfire but in January was also reunited with Darci and Bernie after a man who cared for the dog contacted them. He said that he tried to call the number on the dog’s tags but the phone line no longer worked. According to another report, he was later able to find the owner and contact her on Facebook.  It was 116 days before Tia was reunited with her family.

This story emphasizes the importance of making sure that your pet has proper identification so that if it is separated from you in a wildfire or other disaster, it can be returned home safely and quickly. The owners were fortunate that the man who found their pet took the time to try and find them on Facebook. Some steps that pet owners can take to make it easier to be reunited with lost pets include:

  1. Make sure that tag information is up to date.
  2. Make sure that the tag number is linked to a cell number or Skype number that would not be “lost” in the event of a wildland fire.
    Bulldog Mugsy Berry and owner Jen Berry make sure that they know how to be reunited in the event of a wildfire event. Picture submitted by Jen Berry
  3. Better yet, have an identification computer chip placed in your pet by your vet. This would include birds, cats, dogs and horses.
  4. Notify Veterinary hospitals in the area with a description of your lost pets including breed, and any unusual characteristics.
  5. Notify local animal shelters about your lost pet. Check the shelters frequently and don’t give up, like this dog some pets can turn up later.
  6. Post flyers up at local parks, community centers, libraries and veterinary clinics.
  7. Post information about your lost pet on social media outlets like Facebook. Sites such as Aiken Pets United do not charge fees to post pictures of your lost pet, so that folks can return your pet to you.

NFPA has created excellent guides for preparation of your household pets and horses in the event of a wildfire. Check them out along with other great tips and tools at