FOR Ken Potter and Valerie Jackson, Dakky is their miracle dog.
The three-year-old greyhound survived the Carngham fires in her shelter, which is now just metres from burnt-out trees and blackened earth.
The couple expected to come home and find Dakky dead, but the much-loved animal was alive, although barely.
In fact, all of Mr Potter and Ms Jackson’s animals survived, including 12 horses, dozens of sheep, four Samoyeds and a donkey.
While more than 90 per cent of their 70 acre property was burnt, the house, most of the gardens, a couple of shelters and part of a small paddock survived.
But Dakky’s survival, with flames lapping at the edge of her shelter, remains the couple’s greatest miracle.
“I really thought I’d get here and she’d be dead,” Mr Potter said.
“I don’t know what I would have done if she was. Dakky is a very lucky dog, leaves even blew underneath her shelter but it didn’t go up (in flames).”
Dakky did however suffer severe smoke inhalation, an inflamed throat and infected lungs, meaning she couldn’t take in food or water.
She spent six days at the Ballarat Veterinary Clinic, where the staff decided to pay for her medical costs.
Dakky has also suffered psychologically, Ms Jackson said.
“I think she’s more on edge. She doesn’t want to go straight in her house anymore, she needs to check it out first,” she said.
“There’s an added awareness there.”
The couple, who were both at work when the fire started, couldn’t get back to their property at first because of road closures.
When they finally made it back, Ms Jackson said she was amazed to see all the animals alive.
“They were all under stress, they’re eyes were nearly popping out of their heads,” she said about the horses.
“They wouldn’t leave me alone, they were like ‘help me, help me’.
“Some cattle got burnt feet, but they stood in the dam for a whole day.”
The couple spent the night putting out spot fires from floating embers, and somehow managed to save everything important to them.
“How the hell that house didn’t go, it’s just unbelievable,” Ms Jackson said.
“I don’t think they (the firefighters) thought anything could survive it, it was so bad.”