The doghouse


People often get dogs thinking that they will help protect the house while they’re not home. It is true that a alert german shepherd or pacing rottweiler do look ready enough to deal with many dangers facing an empty house, but how about the scruffy mutts in the picture below?

This is Peter Dowling and his two dogs, Coco and Cody. On Saturday 7th February Peter and his wife Nina were away from home in Taggerty. When the fire warnings started coming through they asked their neighbours if they needed to evacuate could they take Coco and Cody with them who were locked in the house.

But the fire swept through with such ferocity that the neighbours felt lucky to get out with their lives and had unfortunately left Coco and Cody to their deaths. It was a hard blow to Peter but more so for Nina who doted on the animals like her children.

“Nina just broke down. She said if the house was probably gone and the babies had died in there, she wasn’t ever going back again.”

It got worse, that afternoon at the relief centre Nina was convinced the dogs were still alive and took to hugging pillows. She was sure that if she could just get to them everything would be okay. On Monday she was taken to the hospital and admitted to the psychiatric ward.

At the same time, members of the CFA were surprised to hear the barking of dogs. They went to investigate and found a small group of houses threatened with fire from a nearby shed. They quickly put out the fire and saved the whole row of houses including the one containing two frantic dogs.

With the return off her dogs, Nina also returned to her husband and started interacting with people around her.

“She’s become a new person, a renewed person,” he said.

“She’s made a lot of new friends, we all have.”

Afterwards the incident was famous as “the doghouse” story.

Though I heard of dogs rescuing people from drowning, 9/11 rubble, seizures, depression. Saving cats, other dogs, small children, but Coco and Cody owners can say they saved the whole neighbourhood from Australia’s worst disaster.


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