This is really great news!

Reproduced in full from the BBC.

There are so many times when a loving dog just has to do what it has to do.


Camp Fire: Dog missing from Paradise wildfire found after 101 days

21 February 2019

Kingston is believed to have survived by hunting skunks

A dog called Kingston has been reunited with his owners 101 days after he went missing during the deadliest wildfire in California’s history.

The Ballejos family last saw Kingston, an Akita, during the devastating Camp Fire in November.

Kingston, who is 12 years old, had jumped out of their truck as they fled their home in Paradise.

A local animal rescue volunteer caught Kingston on Sunday, and the family believe he survived by hunting skunks.

About 18,000 homes were destroyed and 86 people killed after the Camp Fire broke out and spread rapidly on 8 November north-east of San Francisco.

“When I found out, [it] just about brought me to tears,” Gabriel Ballejos told Associated Press (AP) after being reunited with his dog. “I’m so proud of him. I can’t believe it. He’s a true survivor.”

The family posted flyers and contacted shelters in the hope Kingston would be found. He was eventually recognised by someone who saw a post online.

Over the weekend, animal rescue volunteers spotted a large dog on surveillance cameras before setting up a trap to secure Kingston.

“When I went to check [the trap] on Sunday, there he was,” local dog-trapper Ben Lepe told AP. “It was awesome to see him and know he would be fed and warm.”

Kingston, who the family say was known to hunt skunks before the fire, smelled so strongly of the pungent odour that volunteers spent several hours washing him before reuniting him with the Ballejos family.

“He still smelled even though they used stuff that neutralises the skunk smell,” Suzanne Maxwell, a local resident and volunteer for Friends of Camp Fire Cats, told the BBC.

She described a “heart-warming” reunion between Kingston and his family.


I bet that heart-warming doesn’t do it justice!

20 thoughts on “This is really great news!

  1. wow – what a wonderful – happy ending – even smelling like a skunk – I am certain his family is sooooooo thrilled to have him back.


  2. Great when you hear positive stories like this. The owners must have been relieved and oh so happy to have him back. I reckon one of the saddest things in life is for a beloved pet to go missing.
    Btw, I’ve always been curious to know what skunk odour smells like. I guess I’ll never know, living in another part of the world. From what I’ve read it must be pretty bad….


    1. So, so true, Margaret!

      As for what skunk smells like, I just asked Jeannie and she said it’s a very distinctive smell, not like anything else. She added that she didn’t find the odour unpleasant albeit certainly strong.


      1. Interesting. Thanks Paul and Jeannie. The worst smell I have ever smelt in my life was also associated with a dog, in fact my Jack Russell cross, Cairo, who is sitting beside me on the couch at the moment. He once rolled in the remains of a large dead lizard. The smell was beyond horrific and I was gagging as I carried him into the laundry. It took about 3 shampoo washes and vinegar rinses to get rid of the worst of it but I swear I could still smell it a few days later.


  3. I think this story is why I’m not a fan of putting animals in the back of unenclosed pickup trucks. You see it all the time and they can jump out or be jostled out. It’s not safe for them. I saw it on the news and while happy the dog was safe, I was disturbed the dog was not inside with them. My daughter brought a dog home this week that had bolted from an owner with her leash on and some sort of chain around her collar. I found the owner’s son looking for her but was truly uncertain about handing her over. If I find her again, she probably won’t go back. Something felt off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marlene, we know how your feel. We see dogs around here that are away from their owners. Just the other day we stopped in the snow and tried to have a dog come to us. It ‘belonged’ to someone quite close to us, didn’t have a collar on, but wouldn’t come up to us. If it had we would have kept it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So irresponsible and frustrating. I think it’s my job in this lifetime to try and rescue as many as possible even though I can’t keep them. Next time around, I’d like to have land where I can keep them. I was a gypsy this time. It had its moments but I’ve learned I like animals better than people. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy ending for this story. I hope the Akita is not too partial to skunks. It could be a little pongy for the family. I do wonder, though, why they allowed their pet to hunt skunks? Something not quite right with that picture.


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