Plane, train, or bike, Natasha Wallace of Santa Rosa, California, was going to find a way to flee the destructive wildfire approaching her neighborhood — with her dog.
On Monday, Wallace was studying across town from her house until 2 a.m. It wasn’t until she left to head home that she realized the danger that lay ahead.
The Santa Rosa Junior College soccer player saw one of California’s numerous wildfires from the freeway on her drive back and quickly realized the fire storm was heading straight for her house.
At that moment Wallace’s first thought wasn’t to flee; it was to save her loyal dog Bentley, who was waiting for her.
“I would never part ways with my dog. Ever,” Wallace told FOX 40. “That’s my ride or die.”
Wallace raced home, got the 4-year-old pit bull into her car and took off, but she was soon stopped by traffic congestion. The fire continued to advance.
“It was coming faster than I could leave in traffic, so I went back and got my bike,” Wallace said.
After driving back to her house, Wallace picked up her bike and a duffel bag to serve as Bentley’s transport for the trip.
“So I grabbed my dog and I told him, ‘Hey man, this is serious, you need to just sit in the bag.’ And he, he hopped right in,” Wallace said of the 70-lb. pet.
From there, Wallace biked several miles ahead of the fire with Bentley strapped to her back. Eventually, a driver, Paul Johnson, spotted the pair and gave them a ride the rest of the way to safety.
Revisiting her home after the fire, Wallace knows she made the right choice: all that remains of her former abode are the charred foundations.
“You don’t even see a resemblance of what it used to be,” she said.