With bushfires still raging in Australia, over 500 million animals have died there since September. However, communities are coming together, people are volunteering to fight the blazes, and complete strangers all over the world are donating what they can to support Australia. What’s more, some animals are turning out to be real heroes and they’re saving their fellow animals.
You’ve probably already read about Bear, a good boy who finds and saves koalas. Well, it’s time you met another hero doggo—Patsy, a 6-year-old border collie-kelpie cross who saved a flock of sheep while her owner fought the flames approaching their farm.
Read on about Patsy’s heroic deed! When you’re done, have a look through Bored Panda’s post about the pictures that sum up the Hell on Earth that’s taking place in Australia right now. And in case you want to make a donation to help our fellow Australians who are affected by the bushfires, scroll down to the bottom of the article for several links.
Cath Hill, Patsy the wonder dog’s owner’s sister, spoke with Bored Panda about the situation in Australia, about whether her brother plans to evacuate, what the risks of further fires in the upcoming days will be, and told us more about Patsy herself. Read on for our full interview with her.
Meet Patsy the border collie. Patsy saved a flock of sheep from fire
Image credits: Patsy The Wonderdog
“Now, it’s a waiting game”
According to Cath, her brother’s farm is mostly safe for now and he doesn’t plan to evacuate. “My brother’s farm is located in a valley. The town of Corryong is in the middle of the valley, and our farm is on one side of the valley, at the base of a mountain. The fires that came through our farm on New Year’s Eve came over the mountain, burned through our farm and pretty much all the way up to the edge of the town, on that side of the valley. There’s really not very much left to burn on our side of the valley now.”
“However, the other side of the valley has not burned, and the weather conditions over the next few days (Friday and Saturday) are expected to be extremely dangerous for fires again. The original fire that started on 30 December 2019 is still burning out of control in the bush near Corryong and throughout North East Victoria. If the weather conditions are bad enough, the wind can blow embers from these fires for many miles and start new fires in unburned areas, like the other side of the valley and areas around Corryong that haven’t burned yet,” Cath said.
“Another risk is that when embers blow ahead of a fire front, they can land in houses and buildings that may have made it through a previous fire, burning them down in a separate fire. The danger in a bushfire zone never really goes away, the risks just increase or decrease depending on the conditions any particular day. The good news is that the weather has been much better over the last few days, so there’s been an enormous amount of preparation by the firefighters and emergency services. Firebreaks and containment lines have been made at critical locations, more equipment and supplies have arrived, and more firefighters. Now, it’s a waiting game.”
In this photo, you can see the Australian bushfires near the doggo’s owner’s farm
Image credits: Patsy The Wonderdog
Patsy isn’t afraid of fire
“For Patsy, funnily enough the fires don’t really make much of a difference!!! She’s a border collie/kelpie cross, so she’s a working dog through and through. These dogs have been bred for generations to develop their ability to work with sheep and cattle on farms, and they are very intelligent and resilient animals,” Cath explained. “They love to work, it’s just what they are bred to do, and they can be very focused and singleminded on the job! So when my brother needed Patsy to help bring the sheep into safety, that’s exactly what she did. She just got on with her job and did it, regardless of the conditions. Cool, calm, and collected. We think Patsy’s a hero dog, but we also think that most well trained and skilled working dogs would have done the same.”
Cath said that Patsy loves to jump in water troughs, enjoys swimming in the creek, and loves riding on the quad bike. “She also loves a good belly rub. Really, she just loves being on the farm and doing her job with my brother.”
“This crisis is going to go on for a long time yet, no matter what we do”
“These fires are the worst in living memory here, and our fire season is not even half over. Normally, in North East Victoria, the most dangerous months for fires are February and March, but these fires started in December. Along the East coast of Australia, other fires have been burning for literally months. Many areas have been in severe drought, and 2019 has now been identified as the hottest year on record in Australia (since European settlement).”
Cath continued: “This crisis is going to go on for a long time yet, no matter what we do. But the support from everyone, coming from literally all over the world, has been incredible and means so much to our community. If Patsy’s story helps put a smile on people’s faces, then that can only be a good thing! And if people would like to donate to bushfire relief, every little bit helps and will be greatly appreciated.”
And here are the sheep that Patsy the wonder dog saved
Image credits: Patsy The Wonderdog
“He has nearly 1000 sheep to take care of”
Cath revealed that her brother, like most farmers in the area, doesn’t plan to evacuate because of how much livestock he has.
“He has nearly 1000 sheep to take care of and has already started cleaning up and making urgent repairs to the farm. He’ll stay on the farm to do what needs to be done. The time to evacuate is well before the fire comes, and that’s what my family and I did.”
She continued: “We were staying on the farm for Christmas and New Year with my brother, and when the call came through that spot fires were starting near our farm, my husband, kids and I evacuated to a house in Corryong and my brother stayed on the farm with Patsy to get the sheep into a safer paddock and protect them and the farmhouse from the fire. After we lost power and phone communications, we just had to wait until he came back. Longest and most worrying hours of my life.”
Image credits: Cath Hill
Patsy the dog rounded up the sheep and brought them to a safe paddock on her owner’s farm in Corryong, Victoria. Meanwhile, her owner was putting out the fire bearing down on her property with a tractor equipped with a tank of water.
The doggo-owner duo managed to save almost all of the sheep from the blaze. Not only that, the pair saved the farmhouses, the hay, the shearing shed, as well as the silage. In other words, their entire livelihoods.
Watch the video that Patsy’s owner’s sister took of her
Patsy’s owner’s sister Cath Hill told Metro that the situation in Corryong is “like Armageddon.”
“Everyone is just trying to get water and feed to their animals, shoot the ones that can’t be saved, get temporary fences up to keep stock secure, and put out all the logs and stumps still burning. And there’s people who have nothing left but the clothes on their backs.”
“It’s unbelievable and it’s only going to get worse. That’s why we put Patsy’s story out there. People need something positive,” Cath said.
The cooler weather delayed the bushfires around Corryong recently. But things might get worse this week, as the hot windy weather will most likely make a return and spread the blaze.