Imagine driving through a wooded area with a wildfire raging all around you. The instinct, for most of us, would be to move as quickly as possible out of the flames and into safety.

But, as Toni Doherty drove through the brush fires around Port Macquarie, Australia, she discovered a heartbreaking sight that compelled her to hit the brakes and jump into action.

She’d seen a koala cross in front of her car, running toward a group of burning trees.

“It was terrifying to see him just come out of the flames and he looked so defenseless running along the road,” Doherty told Australia’s Nine News of the sight that spurred her to jump into action.

Doherty literally took the shirt off her back to wrap up the animal to protect him. Once she got him to safety, she doused him with water to try to minimize the burn damage. The rescue was caught on video, posted on social media and has since gone viral.

“I’ve never heard a koala before,” Doherty said. “I didn’t realize they could cry out. It was just so heart-rending and I knew I needed to get him out of there as quickly as possible.”

Doherty rushed the koala, which has since been named Lewis, to the local animal hospital. The Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie has been tending to Lewis, who received burns on his feet, chest, stomach, nose and other parts of his body.

At 14 years old, Lewis is an older koala and has a long road of recovery ahead of him. He has been bandaged, given antibiotics and is starting to regain his appetite, according to recent news updates, like this tweet from Australian journalist Lizzie Pearl. As you can see from Pearl’s video of him eating eucalyptus leaves, he is still very vulnerable.

Doherty decided to visit her new friend in the hospital to see how he was doing. Caretakers greeted her with hugs and thanks for her quick, heroic actions.

“You’re a legend,” one of the caretakers said as Doherty came into the hospital to visit Lewis. “Give us a hug.”

Responses to "Koala rescued from wildfire was reunited with the woman who saved him"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, dear lady, from the bottom of my heart for risking your own safety to save this poor little sweetheart of a Koala. Very quick thinking and action on your part. Rewarding to know that Lewis is improving from his very painful burns. Thanks too, to all the wonderful folks who give these animals the best of medical care. Continued best wishes for a speedy recovery for Lewis. - Blessings to all! <3

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