The bushfires in Australia are truly tragic. We’ve all seen the images and read and watched all the news, and all of it can be very heartbreaking. But if there’s one thing they have shown, it’s humankind’s amazing quality of pulling together for the good of those who are in need. We’ve seen seemingly ordinary people come up from out of nowhere and make sacrifices and put themselves at risk to save other people and creatures who got trapped in the fires. And it’s not just human beings who have emerged as heroes; some working dogs have also done their part to come to the rescue of their fellow creatures. One such canine hero was Patsy, a six-year-old border collie mix, who played an instrumental role in helping save her human owner’s livestock and farm.
According to Patsy’s owner, the brave collie remained with them and protected their farm and livestock from the fire, particularly by guiding his owner’s large flock of sheep away from an area that was pointed out to be a fire danger zone. She also stayed by their side all the side, even during the times when the fires seemed threateningly close.
In an interview with the media, Cath Hill, her owner’s sister, said about her, “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. They love to work, it’s just what they are bred to do, and they can be very focused and single-minded 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.”
While her owner was operating a tractor installed with a water tank in the effort to keep the flames at bay, Patsy got busy herself trying to guide the farm’s entire flock of 900 sheep and leading them to a paddock located safely away from the fires. The duo worked together, and through their united efforts, they managed to save all of the animals on their farm, except for a few. Also, except for a few wooden buildings, all of the structures on their farm were intact.
Stephen Hill, Patsy’s owner, has this to say about his heroic canine friend: “I’d have been stuffed without Patsy. She’s earned front-seat privileges for the rest of her life.”
Time and time again, creatures like Patsy have proven that they are far more intelligent than people give them credit for. Their heroic and self-sacrificing spirits are also something to be admired. Stories like Patsy’s prove that even in the midst of tragic times, heroes can emerge. Some of them may not be human, but their spirits are just as courageous and generous.
Watch the video below