A little bit of good news from a destructive wildfire burning near the California-Oregon border as a photojournalist saved a puppy wandering around the ruins of the McKinney Fire. Jonathan Rivas said he arrived at the community of Klamath River early Saturday morning, just hours after the wildfire broke out where he said there was a lot of damage, with trees and homes burned. Rivas said he was finishing filming one neighborhood when he heard yelping. He befriended the scared pup, fed him water and ultimately helped in getting the dog reunited with his owner who was very grateful. James Benton is now homeless, and does not know if three of his pets are still alive, but this weekend he got a much needed dose of hope and relief as he gave a big hug to Patches, his 3 month old dog who was found inside the McKinney Fire’s 56,160-acre footprint.
Benton said he very nearly ended up like two of his neighbors who were unable to get out in time. Then, on Sunday, Benton got a bittersweet surprise. He learned Patches had been dropped at the Rescue Ranch, a nonprofit dog rehabilitation and adoption center in nearby Yreka. Patches was reunited with a tearful, exhausted Benton Sunday afternoon at the Rescue Ranch.
Below is the video that Jonathan Rivas took when he first saw the dog emerge from the embers. You can also see pictures of the reunion with his owner in the Facebook post below.
Here is the raw video he captured when he first saw the dog emerge from the rubble: