For those of you who haven’t met Ash, he’s a furry bundle of joy who’s always bouncing around the farm and helping us with daily chores. He’s full of character, totally endearing, and we’re all completely smitten. He also has an incredible story to tell.
Way back in January when Shane was out firefighting and protecting people's properties, you probably already know he returned home to find total devastation. Everything around his farm, including his home, had been reduced to smouldering, black debris. He was completely in shock but immediately searched anxiously for his two dogs and their seven five-week-old puppies.
Don’t worry: it’s a beautiful story!
Despair And Dread Turns To Delight And Joy
Shane’s two kelpie dogs, Socks and Lucy were tied to trees between the garlic shed and his house. Miraculously, as he came up the farm driveway, he saw one of his dog’s heads moving in the trees. He found Socks, his beautiful old dog, still chained and tangled in fallen charred branches. But she was alive. The kennels were obliterated by the raging fire, except for Lucy’s which was a big steel kennel, and where he found her cowering alone. Fearing the worst, he continued searching through the wreckage, finding three puppies that night, and the other four the following day!
We know it was almost unbelievable that all nine dogs and puppies survived the blazing inferno, fierce heat and thick smoke. They must have been terrified and had no way to escape. By pure chance, it could have been that the bare earth created by their constantly moving chains over the years had created a natural firebreak. Even though the scorching wind had been strong enough to pick up one doghouse and throw it nearly 40m, the bare earth had potentially saved them all.
It was already astonishing that the fire had skirted his still intact garlic shed, possibly for the very same reason. This was an added wonder that Shane will never forget. Eventually, the puppies found new loving homes around the island, but Shane could not part with one pup.
His name is, of course, Ash!
Dusty The Dog Has Become A The Superstar
One of Ash’s brothers, called Dusty, was adopted by local MP Leon Bignell. When he visited the island following the fires and met Shane, he was also smitten. Dusty has been going to work at the Parliament every day and has become famous as an iconic symbol of survival from the bushfires and optimism for the future. He now has his very own Facebook page and has recently released his own beer - without tasting it of course! Australia’s favourite beverage will help to raise much-needed funds for farm fire units here on Kangaroo Island.
He’s a real doggie superstar, but Ash will always be our favourite four-legged friend!