Heroic humans all over Australia have been rescuing wildlife from the devastating wildfires spreading across the country. Now, one brave pup has captured global attention for saving hundreds of sheep from the blaze.
On New Year's Eve, Patsy, a 6-year-old kelpie-border collie mix from Corryong, Victoria, faced the raging fires to herd 900 sheep into a safe enclosure, her owner told Australian broadcasting service SBS News. He said he never would have been able to save the sheep without her.
"She's earned front-seat privileges for the rest of her life," owner Stephen Hill said.
Patsy's owners set up an Instagram account for the pup, "Patsy the Corryong Wonderdog." Ever since, people from all over the world have praised her for her courageous efforts.
Hill said several sheds burned down, but only a handful of sheep died. Patsy managed to remain calm and save the majority of the animals, he said, even as smoke covered the entire property.
"Cool as a cucumber, Patsy waited with him until the fire got close enough to fight with a tractor and water pump," one Instagram post reads.
According to Patsy's Instagram, the sheep are now "safe and sound."
Millions of acres have burned across Australia since September, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 25 people. In addition, wildlife experts estimate more than 1 billion animals have been killed by the unprecedented fires spreading across the continent.
Researchers say koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, and other animals have perished either directly or indirectly as a result of the fires. Because of the fires, species unique to Australia are moving closer to extinction.
"So many others have lost quite literally everything they have," Patsy's owner wrote. "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."
"Our fire season here isn't even half way through, and it seems like nowhere is safe," the post continues. "It's easy to feel helpless. But, it's also easy to help. Make a donation to bushfire relief, no matter how small it is, trust me it will be appreciated."
As Australia attempts to battle this unprecedented national crisis, organizations need all the help they can get. See a list of organizations supporting evacuees, firefighters and wildlife here.