Fay Karamanakis tells the story of her beloved Labrador-cross Blackie, who was shot dead six hours after saving her family’s life by a police officer. The dog was one of hundreds shot by Government authorities in a bid to control roaming packs through the northern suburbs and control the spread of disease. Blackie was one of the first to go.
Fay still finds it hard to talk about that day, but her recall is vivid. As the weather intensified, Blackie became more frantic and began scratching the door and yelping.
“When I went to get a towel to dry him up he runs straight to the baby’s bedroom,” Fay says. “He grabbed the baby’s sheets and pulled them and the baby knocked her head on the metal cot and started screaming. I grabbed the baby and I thought ‘you naughty dog, how could you do this?’ My baby was blue from the impact and crying.”
As Fay comforted the baby, Blackie ran to 3yr old Katie’s room next door and grabbed her by the pyjamas, pulling her onto the floorboards where she landed heavily. Fay thought Blackie had gone mad.
“I remember holding both screaming kids in my arms thinking this stupid dog was going to make me give the baby measles ... I was crying with the kids,” she says.
But Blackie began trying to nudge the family out the front door: “this dog is telling us to go, so we went downstairs.”
They took shelter in the granny flat below the elevated house with another couple. Within seconds, the top of the house, where they had been only moments earlier, began to peel away.
“The entire house collapsed from above and fell onto one side,” Fay says. “When the eye came over us we thought it was over so we kissed and hugged, but minutes later it started again and the big noise – well it was twice as bad. This time missiles were going everywhere. We accepted we were going to die ... the fear was that bad.”
Darwin had been absolutely obliterated. And there was Blackie, who after sheltering under a car all night raced straight to the family. He had not wanted to come into the granny flat, but he was fine.
Police helped the family slowly drive the short distance to the school.“As I walked into the shelter I heard a bang. I turn around to see what the bang was and I saw my dog had been shot … that was devastating.. devastating because he had saved our lives. There was no pre-warning; they thought he was a stray because he had run after the car.”
“I still miss him and feel upset when I think about him. He saved our lives.”