When disaster strikes, it often brings out the best in people and many extraordinary heroes accomplish great acts of bravery in the face of the harshest of conditions.
Such is the case with many unsung heroes who risked life and paw to help save others from the terrible wildfires burning in Australia.
One of these heroes is an Austrian sheepdog mix named Patsy. Patsy is owned by Stephen Hill, who works on his cousin’s sheep farm in the small Victoria town of Corryong, 220 miles southwest of Canberra, Austria.
When Stephen rushed to his cousin’s farm at 4:15 am on New Year’s Eve, he quickly discovered the farm was surrounded by red hot flames. It was apparent that he would need to act quickly to save the sheep from burning alive.
In the midst of the flying embers and smoke, he and his dog, Pasty, got on a four-wheeler and headed toward the flock of sheep. Once there, despite the danger, Pasty rose to the challenge and courageously did her job and herded the sheep toward safety.
As quickly as they could, Pasty and Stephen herded the flock of 220 sheep to the barn and away from danger. Because of Patsy’s bravery, they were able to save all but six sheep.
"If you haven’t got a good dog, you can’t do so much with the sheep," Hill told NBC News. "They’re really difficult to move in any way, shape or form unless you have a good dog."
To date, the devastation in Australia has been catastrophic. The fires have killed 27 people, and the number of animals affected likely exceeds 1 billion, according to Chris Dickman, a professor of ecology at the University of Sydney.
Hill attributes the success of their mission to Patsy’s skill and her night vision. He said, he would not have been able to save the sheep without her at his side.
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