A great story out of the California wildfires, as told in the first person by Associated Press reporter Brian Skoloff. He met a 76-year-old man who had been evacuated to a high school near Middletown. After five days away, Lawrence Ross was worried about his home and his dog, and Skoloff, who was heading out to find more stories, took down his address. To his surprise, he found Ross's home unscathed and his livestock grazing happily. But no Thumper, the old Lab:
- "I feared the worst as I walked the property for another hour, eventually crouching down and putting some crackers in my hand, whistling and calling out Thumper's name."
- But then: "Thumper emerged from a crawlspace, covered in ash and soot, darting toward me—her tail wagging, her tongue flopping. She leaped into my lap, licked my face, then rolled over on her back as I rubbed her belly and I cried."
- He called Ross with the good news. "There was momentary silence on the line, and then Ross began repeating: 'I can't believe it. I can't believe it.'"
- And then he brought the dog to Ross: "I barely had the back door open when Thumper pushed her way out and ran toward him, her entire body wagging now. It was a moment of pure joy."
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