Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Dora Arrives by Berenice Walters - Extract from For the Love of a Dingo

Dora meets the cattle dog pups

Our very first Dingo arrived, it seemed, by accident. A gentleman wishing to purchase a Cattle Dog pup broached the subject of Dingoes and my efforts to have it recognised officially as native fauna.

He asked me if I would like a female pup, guaranteed pure bred, but no questions asked.

The incredible dream I had nurtured for so long looked like it could at last become a reality. I did not really believe it could come true until she was actually handed over to me, a little fearful bundle of grey. I had told no one, not even my family.

Dora was about 7 weeks of age when she arrived at our home. She was petrified of humans, and extremely cautious of everything, though she showed interest in the other dogs kennelled here, and they in her.

When I took her in my arms she tried to hide from the world by burying her head under my arm.  As a baby she always did this when approached by strangers.

I first took her into the house and gently put her down on the floor, trying to reassure her continually with my voice. She flew into a dark corner under the lounge, petrified. Talking to her quietly, I gradually put my hand on her and carefully edged her to me. Although frantic with fear she did not attempt to bite though she squealed in alarm and growled.

When the family came home, each was speechless in horror. Then, "Mum! That's a Dingo! We'll all end up in gaol. Get rid of it."

My pup and I just clung together, instinctively knowing that we belonged together; that this was our destiny.

Berenice Walters

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Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Dingo Vocals

Wild Dingo
Dingoes use a broad vocal repertoire during social interactions, changes in the environment, food-associated groupings and large range communication.

Large range communication is used to locate mating partners or other dingoes for regrouping; to express alarm; warn pups and others of danger and signal when they find water. These are just a few.

Dingoes have three basic forms of howling (moans, bark-how and snuffs) with at least 10 variations. Usually, three kinds of howls are distinguished: long and persistent; rising and ebbing; and short and abrupt.

Each howl has several variations, though their meanings are unknown. The frequency of howling varies depending on season and time of day, and influenced by breeding, migration, lactation, social stability, and dispersal behaviour.

Howling can also be more frequent in times of food shortage, because they become more widely distributed within their home range.

Howling seems to have a group-function and an expression of joy (for example, greeting-howls). It can happen one dingo starts to howl, and several or all other dingoes howl back and bark from time to time. In the wilderness, dingoes howl over long distances to attract other members of the pack, to find other dingoes, and to keep intruders at bay.

Dingoes howl in chorus with significant pitches and with increasing number of pack members the variability of pitches also increases Therefore, it is suspected that dingoes can measure the size of a pack without visual contact.

Moreover, it has been proposed their highly variable chorus howls may generate a confounding effect to the receivers by making a pack size appear large - amazing species our Canis Dingo.

It is rare to hear a dingo bark, but they can and do.  It is a lot sharper and more abrupt than domestic dogs.

The bark howl is an agitated cry, started by one or several barks usually followed by a plateau howl.

The bark howl is usually directed towards a threat.

Then we have the snuff bark, generally occuring when dingoes are startled, or unsure if something is a threat. The sound is like a repeated sneeze. They take in air to smell the scent of an intruder, so they can identify whether to fight or flee.

They have nasal sounds, growl and snarl, woof and bark, howls, bark howl, whimper and whine and a yelp.

Hybrids tend to bark more. They howl, yelp, chortle, whine, snort, growl, chatter, and purr just like a dingo.

Dingoes communicate using their voices and their bodies. Their postures and facial displays express joy and sadness, aggression and fear, dominance and submission. In humans we call this nonverbal communication.


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