A badly burned dog guarded the only home left standing in the Camp Fire, after her owners evacuated just before the blaze broke out. When a family friend returned to the Paradise neighborhood three days later, she found the border collie, named Ella guarding another person’s home. It was the only home on that block that had not burned to the ground. And that’s where Ella waited.
According to the Visala Times-Delta, Ella’s family, Mike and Leahna Copsey and two daughters, left their dog behind as they filled their vehicle with their belongings. When Ella was discovered alive, Leahna Copsey could hardly believe her dog survived.
The family traveled to the nearby town of Chico to escape the smoke and thought they would be able to return to their home the next day to pick up more of their belongings and Ella. And as they pulled onto the main highway back to their house the next day, the fire had already spread; there was no way anyone could get through to return home for Ella.
Three days later Ella was found; she was protecting the neighbor’s home – the only house on the block left standing. And at that time, Animal Control transported Ella to a veterinary hospital to be treated for severe burns.
Leahna’s 24-year-old daughter, Kayla Westman is caring for Ella, and although the dog’s paws were severely burned, she is reportedly recovering. The family set up a GoFundMe page to pay for Ella’s medical treatment which has already exceeded its goal.
There has been a lot of backlash from social media with people questioning why Ella was left behind when the family first evacuated. Many people have asked that donations be sent to the Butte Humane Society instead – who also assisted the family by providing food for Ella, a crate and toys. In addition, there are many more pets in need of veterinarian care.
To donate to the Butte Humane Society, please click here.
“The BHS Pet Food & Supply Pantry is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you & your pets have been displaced by the Camp Fire, please come to our warehouse to get food & supplies for your furry companion(s)!
With over 6,000 homes destroyed by the Camp Fire, the upcoming weeks and months will be very challenging for those needing to rebuild their lives. Butte Humane Society is accepting animal donations and has opened the BHS Pet Food & Supply Pantry to help displaced pet owners as well as those who have taken in family and friends with pets. Donations can be made at our 2580 Fair Street warehouse (across the street from the dog kennels) every day from 9 am – 5 pm.
(Photos of badly burned dog Ella via Facebook and Go Fund Me)