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Heroic dog herds 900 sheep to safety from Australian bushfires

Heroic dog herds 900 sheep to safety from Australian bushfires
Meet Patsy, the heroic dog that saved 900 sheep from Australian bushfires.

There are many worthy of hero titles who’ve helped during Australia’s bushfires. One of them is a dog named Patsy.

On New Year’s Eve, wildfires took over parts of Upper Murray in Victoria, forcing many of the area’s animals to seek safety quickly. Luckily, the six-year-old pup wasn’t too far behind.

The Kelpie/Border Collie dog spent hours on the morning of Dec. 31 herding 900 sheep to safety, SBS News reported.

READ MORE: ‘Bear’ the dog tasked with finding koalas to rescue from Australia fires

“I’d have been stuffed without Patsy,” owner Stephen Hill told the broadcast station.

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

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Now internet-famous, Patsy’s social media channel is full of photos and video of her at work. In one picture, Patsy can be seen sitting in a field with the fires raging behind her.

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“This is Patsy just after she and her human brought the sheep to safety on the morning of New Year’s Eve,” the caption reads. “Cool as a cucumber, Patsy waited with him until the fire got close enough to fight with a tractor and water pump. What a team!”

A photo shared right after that one shows a herd of sheep feasting on some hay. “And here’s Patsy’s sheep, safe and sound today,” the caption reads.

Video posted to the social media account shows the same herd grazing in a smoky background. Patsy sits patiently in front of the anonymous video taker, who calls her a “champion” and gives her a pat on the head.

“I never dreamed that these 20 seconds of Patsy in a paddock would spread across the world, and that me posting pictures of a little black and white dog would become my way to help my hometown recover from the worst fires in living memory,” Patsy’s owner wrote.

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READ MORE: Carrots, sweet potatoes airdropped for Australia’s wallabies as wildfires continue to burn

“It’s funny how life works sometimes. These fires are not over. Not even close to being over. They will burn for weeks, months even, and communities all over Australia are going to be hit just like Corryong has been.”

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With fires continuing to blaze through the country, brush-tailed rock-wallabies are getting a helping hand from their own personal heroes, too.

The government of New South Wales is preparing to drop from the air, thousands of kilograms of carrots and sweet potatoes for the endangered and stressed critters.

READ MORE: Crafters knit koala mittens, joey pouches for animals injured in Australian bushfires

“The wallabies were already under stress from the ongoing drought, making survival challenging” without help, said NSW environment minister Matt Kean in a statement Sunday.

The aerial food drops are expected to help the survival of endangered species like the wallabies amid the larger wildlife recovery efforts underway across the state in the aftermath of bushfires.

It’s believed that upwards of half a billion animals have been killed in the catastrophic fires.

—With files from Maryam Shah.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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