As an inferno roared towards Dingo Sanctuary Bargo in December, survival instincts kicked in for a left-behind pack.
Twelve dingoes sheltered inside and under their kennels, as the Green Wattle Creek fire moved in and destroyed their sanctuary.
Dingo Sanctuary Bargo president Lucille Ellem said the team had "no choice" but to leave the dingoes behind, but she knew they would survive.
"We retrieved 18 dingoes with volunteers and there were 12 that had to stay," she said.
"They were amazing because they went under their kennels and inside their kennels so they were safe.
"They're very smart animals. I was one of the sanctuary's founding members 52 years ago. I know them, I breathe them, I know how they behave.
"Their characteristics are freedom and survival. Unfortunately all of our pet dogs, mine included, don't have the amazing initiative dingoes do.
"Yet we bad-mouth dingoes. We should be so proud of our Australian breeds."
Ms Ellem said sanctuary volunteers were "running on adrenaline" after the bushfire.
"We're planning what we need to do, waiting for assessors to come and seeing how we can rebuild," she said.
"At the moment we're putting one foot in front of the other."
Volunteers worked hard on Thursday to begin the rebuilding efforts.
"We've got everything to rebuild because we've lost everything," she said.
"All of our gardens are gone and our sheds where we had 52 years of our history are gone. Our photos and computers are gone.
"My volunteers are totally loyal, they would walk for miles to help."
Despite the devastating loss, Ms Ellem said the sanctuary had wonderful support.
"I'd like to publicly thank Brad Wilson from the Australian Wildlife Foundation. He's been enormously helpful," she said.
"The National Trust [owners of the property] have worked with us and they've been a great.
"Gordon from Bargo Quality Meats was the first person to put his hand up if we need meat or bones so the dingoes had something to chew on and feel good about."
Dingo Sanctuary Bargo is asking for donations to help them rebuild the sanctuary.
Visit https://dingosanctuarybargo.com.au for more information or to make a donation.