All eyes have been fixed on Australia since the country’s wildfires began ravaging the bush back in September. The headlines have been pure tragedy as both wildlife and humans have lost everything. No stranger to the hell that has been going on, is Ash Graham, a man who refuses to give up on his lost dog that escaped safety.
Ash lives in Nerrigundah, New South Wales. It’s been one of the areas most affected by the fires, with two-thirds of the houses in the small town eradicated by fires – meaning that two-thirds of the population have been left with absolutely nothing.
Ash is no stranger to tragedy, as he lost his wife, Melanie, to cancer a year ago. Ash had quit his job as a roofer six years ago in order to care for her when she became ill. Even while caring for his sick wife, Ash still managed to find time to give back to his community as a volunteer firefighter.
The day that the wildfires came, Ash evacuated his home with his 3-year-old dog, Kozi. He left Kozie at the safety of firehouse and went off to help defend his community from the path of the flames.
Sadly, when Ash returned to the firehouse, Kozi was missing. Witnesses had seen him flee the building, scared off by the approaching fires. While people tried to stop him, they were unable to, and Kozi was lost. As any pet owner imagine, Ash was crushed at the realization that his best companion was missing – but he has refused to give up the search for Kozi.
Ash tearfully said to Unilad.co.uk, “He was the only thing I was left with when my wife passed away, so, yeah, he’s my best mate. He’s my motivation, he gets me out of bed of a morning on my down days. I’m just hoping that he was faster than Armageddon. Maybe I just haven’t walked that extra hundred meters, maybe I’ve just over-glanced an area and there were a couple of houses I hadn’t looked under.”
Ash is currently sleeping in a tent until he can rebuild the home that he shared with his wife – a home that was once brimming with joy and memories. Currently, the only thing that Ash cares about, is finding Kozi.
In order to help this hero, people in his community have set up a GoFundMe in his name. If you’re interested in supporting Ash’s recovery, please click here.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.