In 2017, one million acres of land in Chile’s forests were ravished by wildfires. Previously teeming with flora, the damaged areas were left without trees and other plants. Restoring the burnt forests is no small feat, but there are people who have made it their personal mission to help in whatever way they can. One such person is Francisca Torres, who has enlisted the help of a very enthusiastic and very adorable team to get the job done: her three Border Collies.
The trio, made up of 6-year-old Das and her two daughters Olivia and Summer, were trained to plant seeds throughout the scorched woodlands and not attack any wild animals they may encounter. They frolic through the forests while wearing special packs filled with seeds that spill to the soil through holes. The dogs are able to sow new plant life as they play and run around, unaware of the important work they are doing for the forest.
Francisca, who is also a professional trainer of assistance dogs and the founder of the animal-centric Pewos community in Chile, pays for the seeds, supplies, and transportation herself with the help of some donations. She says that the trio are the ideal workers for this project, because it requires speed, endurance, intelligence, and focus. Border Collies were bred to herd sheep, so they are not likely to run after or attack other wild animals in the forests.
The dogs are able to plant around 10 kilograms’ worth of seeds over a stretch of almost 24 kilometers in a single outing. And while the project is a serious one, it is also an excuse for Das, Olivia, and Summer to have fun.
“They really love it!” Francisca said. “It’s a country trip, where they can run as fast as they can and have a great time.”
And of course, she makes sure that she rewards each of her hard-working Collies with many treats after each trip.
After a year, they have already worked in 15 forests in the El Maule region.
“We have seen many results in flora and fauna coming back to the burned forest,” Francisca said. She plans to continue the work with her incredible team and help rejuvenate more of Chile’s woodlands in the coming months.
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