Safari and the Flames
By Elaine Ballman

I was awake at 4:00 AM on February 8, 2011, an extremely cold and windy winter morning. I planned to leave for work at 5:00 AM, so I let the dogs out while I prepared their breakfasts. When I let them back in, my youngest Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Safari, would not cooperate. I finally made her come into the house and I put their food down. Safari, for the first time in her life, refused to eat. She uncharacteristically ran to the back door barking to be let out.

Fearing something was dreadfully wrong with my girl, I donned winter gear so I could go out with her to make sure she was not ill. I grabbed a bucket of water thinking I might as well care for the animals in the barn since I was dressed for the cold. Safari ran to the barn, barked, then returned to me and barked. I continued walking and she continued her impatient and insistent barking. I figured there was something in the barn and Safari was trying to tell me about it. I wished for a flashlight to see what creature lurked in the dark. Southern Minnesota is noted for coyotes, foxes, and the occasional cougar. I proceeded cautiously.

As I drew closer to the barn, I realized something was terribly amiss. I saw the distinctive glow of a fire!! I ran into the barn, leaving the door and gates open. Because I had a bucket of water, I decided to douse the fire on my own. The animals' water trough was just outside the back door, so I continued dousing the fire until the flames were gone. The water caused an electrical short circuit draping the building in darkness.

Once the flames were extinguished, I took stock of the situation. I was afraid my animals might suffer smoke inhalation if left in the barn any longer, so I went in to gather them. I couldn't find them! I remembered that when I rushed in I left all the gates and doors open. I began to panic, thinking the llamas could be a long way down the road by this time, and daybreak was still several hours away.

Ch. Idyll Safari
owned, bred, and adored by Elaine Ballman, Lafayette, Minnesota

I did not need to worry. My wonderful little dog had the animals neatly gathered, and was holding them just outside the main door to the barn. All the animals were safe. The building and its contents were saved because of this great, young Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

She is my everyday hero!