Photojournalist Jonathan Rivas was documenting the devastating McKinney Fire in California when a puppy emerged from the ashes and ran up to Rivas — ecstatic that it had found a human.
Rivas, of AIO Filmz, filmed the emotional footage and later shared it on Twitter in a bid to find the little dog’s owner.
“Putting this out for the owner. Small pup, estimated to be four months was found roaming within the fire zone,” he wrote on Twitter.
NOT FOR BROADCAST: Putting this out for the owner. Small pup, estimated to be 4 months was found roaming within the fire zone. The pup was brought back to the town of Yreka and surrendered to the Rescue Ranch Inc as suggested by fire officials. #McKinneyFire pic.twitter.com/BOnKYFu6Sc
— AIO Filmz (@aiofilmz) July 30, 2022
Remarkably, Rivas’s post worked and the puppy, whose name is Patches, was reunited with his grateful owner James “Mac” Benton.
Rivas has been taking video of Benton’s still-smoldering property when Patches appeared through the wreckage. The heart-warming footage shows the cute pup bounding toward Rivas, clearly elated that a human had arrived. The kind cameraman sweet-talked the dog and gave it water and plenty of love. Footage shows the dog gulping down a bowl of water.
“As I’m walking up to a vehicle that had burned down to get another shot, I saw this little puppy just come running out,” Rivas tells AccuWeather.
Rivas tells AccuWeather that he had never seen anything alive in the aftermath of a destructive wildfire, he had initially heard a yelp but didn’t think it was anything.
The photojournalist took the puppy to the Rescue Ranch animal adoption center in the city of Yreka where Patches was reunited with Benton.
Benton’s home had been destroyed by the vicious fire and was carrying his dog to safety and thought that his other dogs were following. When he turned around, they were gone and smoke was enveloping him, making it impossible to find the other dogs.
The McKinney wildfire raged in Northern California this week killing four people.
Image credits: Photo by Natalie Golay / Rescue Ranch