Fairy light blaze – saved by our rescue pup
A thump on the bed saved Judy’s life
Holding back tears, I picked up a golden Labrador puppy. ‘I’ll take him,’ I told the owner.
Advertised online for $100, this poor pup had scrappy fur and his skin was crawling with worms.
You could tell that for the first eight weeks of his life, he’d been left to rot.
As an animal activist, my heart broke and I just couldn’t leave him behind.
With enough animals back at my house, I decided to drop off the dog to my friends who ran a refuge.
Jumping in the car I handed my son Mike, then 30, the scared pup.
Mike, who has an intellectual disability, instantly smothered him with cuddles.
‘You can be my buddy and stay in my bed,’ he said.
Glancing over at the two of them, I felt a smile stretch across my face.
No Judy, you do not need another dog, I scolded myself.
But by the time we got home, my mind had changed.
‘We can keep him,’ I told Mike.
Overjoyed, he wrapped his arms around his pup which he, of course, named Buddy.
Heading into a home with six sausage dogs, geese, ducks, chickens, horses and cats, Buddy quickly found his place.
When I heard another report of puppy abuse, I sprang into action bringing another dog home.
Just over two years old, Red, the red heeler, had been kept in a box for his whole life.
We all welcomed him into our home and Buddy was happy to finally have a friend his size!
The pair were inseparable. As our fifth Christmas as a family rolled around, I unpacked the dusty tree.
With the lights still wrapped around it from the year before, I set it up in the corner of the living room.
Placing presents around the base, the tree lit up the room.
That night, as I watched TV beside the glowing tree, I noticed the lights flickering.
Loose plug, I thought, sliding behind the tree and jiggling the cord.
The bulbs continued to flicker off and on all week.
It’s time for new lights, I thought.
As Mike dozed off one night,
I whispered in his ear.
‘Nine sleeps till Christmas!’
With Buddy snuggled on the rug in the lounge room,
I lifted my sausage dogs onto my bed and drifted off.
But at 2am,
I felt a thump on the bed.
Opening one eye, I saw a golden tail flick past.
Then a huge lick slurped across my face, waking me properly.
‘What are you doing Buddy?!’ I asked.
He’s never done this before, I started to worry.
Just then, a slight smell of smoke tickled my nose.
Jumping up, I headed down the hall following the smell. With Buddy on my heels, I saw thick black smoke filling my lounge.
The toxic smell sent my heart pumping and my throat gagged at the stench.
I instantly knew that my Christmas lights had started
Racing to Mike, I roused him out of bed and into the front yard.
‘There’s a fire,’ I soothed, as I sat him in the car, safely away from the house.
Jumping in beside him, Buddy comforted my boy.
Wanting to get my other animals, I rushed back inside.
With sausage dogs under my arms, I piled pet after pet into my four-wheel-drive.
Each time I ran back in, the thick smoke had engulfed more of my home.
Sitting in the car, I quickly did a head count… I was missing some of my pets.
But with smoke billowing out of the front door and my lungs full of toxic gas, I knew I couldn’t go back in.
Having dropped my phone, I couldn’t even call for help.
‘Margaret!’ I screamed running over to my neighbour’s home.
Margaret comforted me as I dialled for help, shaking.
Then we stood together watching the blaze take over my house.
In less than 10 minutes, all we could see was flames.
Tears streamed down my face watching it burn.
‘I hope everyone got out,’ I cried.
When the firefighters arrived and doused the flames, they slowly died out.
But with just our pyjamas on, Mike and I had lost everything – and just nine days before Christmas.
In the weeks after, our neighbours opened their doors to us, giving my whole pack a roof over our heads.
Finding some of our cats snooping around the ash of our home, it was great to see some more of our animals had survived.
A few months later, we found a new place to call home and our family has continued to grow with animals I’ve rescued.
And, of course, extra belly rubs were in order for Buddy because without him I don’t think we would be here.
I might have rescued him, but he saved us.
He’s our Christmas miracle.
Brave Buddy woke me just in time Buddy and Red with the other fur family membersA huge lick slurped acrossmy face, waking me
Me and Mike with Buddy Me and Buddy in front of the burnt out shell of our home Tears streamed watching itburnDid your pet save your life?