When a family in California were forced to leave their home, they didn’t have much time to run the incoming flames. In fact, they only just escaped the danger as the fire rapidly made its way towards their house. But when they eventually returned to the scene, they found a recognizable figure waiting for them.
The Weaver family home was situated in Santa Rosa, northern California. Parents Clint and Kathy Weaver and their nine-year-old Bernese mountain dog Izzy occupied the home. And the couple’s children, Jack Weaver and Beckyjean Widen, and their son-in-law, Patrick Widen, lived nearby.
That was, of course, until the horrific wildfires flared up across the Wine Region of California. When the flames spread and threatened to destroy plants, buildings and lives, several thousand local residents were forced to evacuate their homes.
Yes, the Weavers were just two of the many people who were fleeing for their lives. When the couple woke up at 1 a.m. on October 9, 2017, a wall of flames reaching 30 feet in height had surrounded their home. They needed to get out, then – and they needed to do it quickly.
Sprinting from the house, Clint and Kathy were attacked by rising heat and flames. They scrambled to unlock their gate and escape to safety. Suddenly, though, something exploded and knocked Clint into a ditch where he landed badly and broke his arm.
But despite his injury, Clint continued on towards their car. His wife and their dog Izzy followed behind him, with Kathy holding the pooch by the collar. When Kathy unlocked their vehicle, however, she briefly released the dog’s collar from her grip. Izzy, “so spooked by everything” according to son Jack, then took off into the darkness and flames.
“Mom tried to go after her but she had to get out,” Jack went on to state. Yes, sadly, Kathy couldn’t chase after the dog without risking her own life. And as 60-mile-an-hour winds fanned the flames to even more ferocity, the couple knew that they would have to leave without their much loved pet.
In their desperate bid to escape the fire, the couple “had to drive through walls of flames and across a burning wooden bridge to get to Mark West Springs Road and to safety,” their daughter Beckyjean wrote on Facebook. Understandably, the pair were devastated by the burning destruction all around them. And they knew the blaze was devouring the family home which they had lived in for nearly 30 years.
Most of all, though, they were heartbroken by the loss of Izzy. Jack admitted to People magazine, “It was awful. My mom couldn’t stop crying, the grief and sadness of it all.” They hadn’t all given up on the dog, though. You see, although Kathy believed her beloved pet had been taken by the flames, her son Jack and son-in-law Patrick were determined to try and find the pooch.
The following morning, then, Jack and Patrick set out on a mission to find the missing hound. Beckyjean informed people on Facebook that police officers, who clearly deemed the area still unsafe, had tried to discourage them. This, however, didn’t deter the pup rescuers, who then decided to hike up to the property.
Having grown up in the area, Jack knew of an alternate path to the home. The treacherous route would include climbing a wall, slogging up a steep hill and heading through a creek. On top of this, heavy smoke from the fire still hung in the air. The men protected themselves, though, simply by covering their mouths.
What’s more, Jack made a video of the climactic minutes of their trip. And the video shows just how much havoc the blazing wildfire had caused. The surroundings were blackened, leaving very little behind. All that remained of the Weaver home, in fact, was a wall and the gate where Izzy was last seen.
Ever hopeful, though, when the men reached the spot where the house had once stood, they called out to the dog. “Izzy!” they yelled. In fact, they made as much noise as they could – by whistling, shouting and clapping – to alert the animal to their return.
Then suddenly, as if by a miracle, Jack spotted her. And the happiness in his voice is clear as he exclaims, “Izzy’s here! Izzy, Izzy, come here baby.” At this point in the video, you can see the dog bounding towards them, and she was probably just as happy to see her family as they were to find her.
Yes, the dog runs over wagging her tail, and that’s where the heartwarming video ends. Later, Jack explained on Facebook, “When she came running around – you can probably hear it in my voice – we were shocked and ecstatic. I wish I could have filmed longer – the happy reunion – but I was so happy I dropped my phone.”
With Izzy finally back in the safe arms of her family, Jack stated that the pooch “was very happy to see us. She’s such a brave dog. She was panting a lot and clearly stressed. But she wasn’t frantic or anything.” Next, then, it was time to cheer up the rest of his family by giving them the joyful news of Izzy’s survival.
Luckily, in spite of poor phone reception in the area, Jack was able to get hold of his mother and give her some truly uplifting news. “She just lost it,” he said. “She went from being devastated about losing her home to being the happiest person I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t get home fast enough.”
But Jack couldn’t go racing home straight away – his first priority was to get Izzy to the vets. You see, after the dog’s terrifying ordeal, he wanted to make sure that she was okay. He explained, “We took her straight to a vet and had her completely checked out. And aside from her being covered in soot and ash, she was in perfect health.” Interestingly, the vet also added that the fire may not have penetrated her coat, saving her from any injury or burns.
Izzy is quite clearly, then, a dog who against all odds survives everything life throws at her. Indeed, as Jack states, “She is a miracle dog, she survived cancer twice. And now she’s lived through fire, she’s an incredible dog and the sweetest dog.”
As for the family, they are now all living at Jack’s home in nearby Windsor, California. They are, undoubtedly, all overjoyed at Izzy’s miraculous survival and relieved to have her home with them at last. And Jack would tell CNN “it meant everything” to have her back. He added, “My mom was completely devastated and so was my dad. Everyone was feeling pretty low at that moment, then when we found her it changed everyone’s perspective.” Thankfully, then, the story had a happy ending.