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Pets

Our canine conservationist: Meet the faithful detection dog saving wildlife left devastated by the bushfires

A true Aussie hero!

As Australia begins the recovery from this summer's hellish bushfire season, The Australian Women's Weekly is looking at some of the good news stories to come out of the tragedy.
Meet the New South Wales firefighter and his adorable rescue dog, who are working hard to seek out animals hurt, injured or displaced by the fires.
As fire closed in on his home and his wife Jen rushed between their son and their premature twins in Port Macquarie hospital, Ryan Tate and his faithful detection dog Taylor went to work rescuing wildlife.
Fire had devastated the local koala habitat and Ryan (with Jen's full support) felt compelled to help.
"We both genuinely felt a moral responsibility to get out there," he says.
Ryan with his detection dog Taylor. Supplied
Ryan and his specially trained Springer Spaniel Taylor worked for up to 12 hours a day in heavy gear and harsh conditions, spotting koalas that had been injured, displaced or left without adequate food as a result of the bushfires.
"A dog can cover in an hour what would take 10 people half a day," Ryan says.
Ryan and Taylor sharing a sweet moment together. Supplied
Taylor is trained to sniff out koalas or, in bushfire conditions where it's smoky and windy, their scats.
"She's probably one of the most broadly trained conservation detection dogs in the country."
Taylor has been specially trained for this job. Supplied
The Tates' twin baby daughters, Evie and Wren, had been born seven weeks premature, and at times fire cut both Ryan and Jen off from their newborn girls.
"There are three ways to the hospital but many times all three of them were on fire," Ryan says.
WATCH BELOW: These two koalas rescued from the bushfires are eating again. Story continues after video.
The area where Ryan and Jen live came under threat from an ember attack but fortunately the flames never reached their house.
Ryan says the kindness of people has made what would otherwise have been a tortuous time more tolerable.

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