A family who had almost given up hope that their dog Kingston was alive after he went missing during California’s Camp Fire wildfire was overjoyed with the news he has been found alive.
Kingston, an Akita, has miraculously been found 101 days after becoming separated from the Ballejos family. The 12-year-old dog jumped out of their truck as they fled their home in Paradise.
An animal rescue volunteer caught Kingston roaming in the area. They believe he survived for so long by hunting skunks.
“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.”
After Kingston went missing, the family posted flyers and contacted shelters.
“Every night I would ask my dad and tell him that we needed to go look for him,” said Ballejos’ daughter, Maleah.
Friends of Camp Fire Cats, a local rescue group, saw Ballejos’ missing dog post on social media and contacted them after Kingston was found.
When they arrived to be reunited with Kingston he still smelled of skunk.
“He still smelled even though they used stuff that neutralises the skunk smell,” Suzanne Maxwell, a volunteer for Friends of Camp Fire Cats, told the BBC.
The family’s heartwarming reunion was recorded on video and when Maleah saw Kingston again, she too noted Kinston still had a pungent smell, but that didn’t stop her from giving him a big hug.
More footage of their reunion can be viewed in the video below.