Australian family loses everything in bushfire—except their dog’s favorite toy

For the past few months Australia has been suffering from massive bushfires that have caused widespread devastation.

The fires have spread millions of acres, and over a thousand homes have been destroyed.


But one family left homeless by the fire—especially the furriest member of the family—has found a sliver of home amidst the destruction.

As the bushfires spread towards East Gippsland, Victoria, residents Matt and Katie Zagami had to decide whether to evacuate or stay and try to defend their home.

Deciding not to risk their lives, the couple rounded up a few possessions and headed out, not thinking this would be the last they saw of their farm.

But when they returned they discovered the fire had razed everything—the home, and nearly all of their possessions, were destroyed.


“It’s just bloody devastating … to have everything taken away in one hit,” Matt Zagami told ABC News. “The farm is one thing, but we lost everything in the house — everything.”

In addition to the loss, the couple felt guilty about not staying to fight the fires, wondering how things might’ve been different.

“There’s a whole sense of failure by not staying,” Katie said. “You feel like a coward not hanging around.”

The couple and their four young children were suddenly left with nothing… or so it seemed.

Then their dog OJ found his favorite toy among the rubble:


Even as everything was destroyed, this stuffed animal survived the fires.

In what might’ve been a sight of reassuring normalcy, the dog sat among the rubble chewing his old plaything, looking content.

The photos went viral after they were posted by the popular Twitter account WeRateDogs.


People were moved by the story—a reminder that things aren’t always as lost as they first seem, and that it’s the small comforts that can get us through times of crisis.

“You get real hugs when you go through this — people hug you really tightly, and you can feel it,” Matt told ABC.

“It’s unexplainable the feeling you get when someone hugs you now after going through this.”

The family is still reeling from their loss, but are moving forward—once they get their children settled, they will start replanting their farm.

Our hearts continue to be with all the people affected by the bushfires in Australia! We hope this family gets back on their feet quickly!

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