Australia

How Patsy the Wonder Dog saved her flock of sheep as bushfires raged

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Talk about Man's Best Friend - this gusty pooch calmly rounded up her flock and got them to safety as bushfires moved in.

Meet Patsy - now known as the Corryong Wonder Dog. 

When the fire closed in on the tiny Victoria town, in the early hours of New Year’s Eve, Patsy sprang into action to herd her 900 sheep into a safe paddock away from the moving fire front.

“I’d have been stuffed without Patsy,” owner Stephen Hill told SBS News.

“She’s earned front-seat privileges for the rest of her life.”

Patsy - who bravely stayed to protect her 900 strong flock of sheep - and owner Stephen Hill.
Patsy - who bravely stayed to protect her 900 strong flock of sheep - and owner Stephen Hill.
SBS News

Despite the heat and terrifying conditions, Mr Hill said Patsy kept her cool and kept an eye on her charges, even as smoke blanketed the property. 

While the property lost several sheds, only a handful of sheep were killed during the firestorm.

Patsy kept clam in the face of the raging bushfires.
Patsy kept clam in the face of the raging bushfires.
SBS News

“She’s been very spoiled after that,” Mr Hill said. 

News of the pooch’s heroics has travelled across the world, with calls coming in from farms in the USA, Canada and the UK. 

The property lost several buildings - but thankfully, only a few sheep.
The property lost several buildings - but thankfully, only a few sheep.
SBS News

Further west in the tiny town of Cudgewa, Joshua Collings is one of 14 to have lost his home during the recent bushfires.

He returned from being evacuated from the area to find his community ravaged by flames. He’s now raising funds to rebuild the community and has already raised about $125,000 in just six days.

In addition to funds, reinforcements are starting to flood into Victoria – including foreign firefighters keen to do their bit. 

Joshua Collings and his house. He's vowing to rebuild and has already started fund raising.
Joshua Collings and his house. He's vowing to rebuild and has already started fund raising.
SBS News

More than 60 firefighters from the US and Canada have arrived in Victoria as emergency services predict soaring temperatures later this week.

State Emergency Services Commissioner Andrew Crisp said dangerous conditions are inbound.

“At this stage, it has all the elements of a significant day for us, there will be northerly winds, there will be hotter temperatures,” he said.

“(But) probably not as hot as we saw last week.”

Patsy and Mr Hill keep an eye on their flock. She's ready to roll out and keep watch again.
Patsy and Mr Hill keep an eye on their flock. She's ready to roll out and keep watch again.
SBS News

Back on Patsy’s farm, there’s little left to burn – reducing the fire risk.

But Mr Hill reckons that should the worst happen, the Wonder Dog will jump back into action to defend her flock.

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