Dog trainer pledges winnings to fireys who saved his home
WHITEMAN Creek greyhound trainers Len and Evelyn Harris are so grateful to the Rural Fire Service, they have pledged Sunday night's $1050 winning prize pot to the fireys.
The couple had entered six dogs at Capalaba in Queensland, but were so concerned about the bushfire threat they were considering scratching the dogs and staying home.
"The fireys were magnificent,” Mr Harris said.
"They could see I was worried about something. One of them actually touched me on the shoulder and said, Len, don't be silly, we've got this. Take your dogs up to Queensland.”
Reassured enough to make the long drive, Mr Harris had to wait until race 11 when Black Tinker saluted for him.
"She won us $1050 which I wouldn't have got except for the fireys,” he said.
"I'm going to give her winner's cheque to them. They can do what they like with it. Put it on some beers, have a barbie, it's up to them.”
Mr Harris said things looked touch and go from Friday afternoon when the wind began blowing the fire towards his property.
"I went down to the bottom of my property and I could hear what was coming our way,” he said.
The Harris's were so worried they considered evacuating their 50 greyhounds to Grafton.
"We had about 20 phone calls from other trainers offering to help us take our dogs to safety,” Mr Harris said.
"John Corrigan at the Grafton track said he would throw open the kennels so the dogs would have somewhere to stay.”
Mr Harris said the combination of firefighting measures on his property and the skills of the firefighters allowed him to stay put.
"Until you see it close up you can't believe they could do so much to deal with something so big,” he said.
"When I saw the fire heading towards us on Saturday at 60km/h to 70km/h, I was really frightened.
"Evelyn was crying and we thought we might lose everything.
"But the fireys said our place was perfect.
"We don't have trees near the house, the sheep keep the grass cropped close and the water and pumps I have installed, they said they could handle it.”