Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Berenice’s Love for Napoleon

Napoleon. Photo by Michael Trafford

Dora was Berenice Walters’ first dingo, captured in the wild and presented to Berenice as a terrified furry bundle. Although Dora was kept illegally at the time, Berenice loved, cared for and trained her young dingo.

Napoleon was Dora’s son and quite possibly Berenice’s greatest love. Through observation and sharing her life with dingoes she began to dispel myths and educate the public on the truth about the dingo. Her Tribute to Napoleon following his passing not only demonstrates her immense love but great insight into living with a Dingo as well as their personality and traits.

When Napoleon passed away Berenice wrote:
We called him Napoleon and looking across the room now I can still see him sitting in 'his' chair.   It was his for the term of his life with us and universally recognised as Napoleon's chair.  If I cast my eyes around the room, I can see the place where he died as I hysterically tried to revive him, pleading with him to live.

How I cherished that dog.  Our house was his 'kennel' and he was always an important family member.  He had his diplomatic and carefully worked out method of ensuring visitors respected his position.

That did not mean he did not misbehave when not under surveillance.  Oh no.  How many plants he dug up and presented to us as if he thought we had lost them - how many sets of leather back key rings were chewed up along with elastic sided leather boots and shoes, how many birds and stray cats he killed, hens when he got amongst them, we lost count.  But these misdemeanours did not diminish my love and respect for him.

On the 19th January, 1985 the Committee Meeting of the ANDTS adjourned for 5 minutes to pay tribute to Napoleon who had died suddenly on the 16th January, 1985.

This was Berenice’s tribute:

In his lifetime, Napoleon set a beautiful example to which we could all well pledge our lives. He was love, kindness and charity personified. The weaknesses and imperfections of humans were not a part of his ethereal being.  His goodness far outweighed the many problems his keeping entailed.

Napoleon was always very fair. He bore no grudges or nastiness, and was at all times anxious to respond happily with appreciation to any little kindness or affection shown to him, irrespective of any hurt he may have received, or stresses endured. He was quiet and unobtrusive, but when stressed through family upsets, reacted in the only way he knew by redirecting attention to himself by asking for his 'cup of tea'.

For 9½  years my family's whole existence was centred round the needs of Napoleon, both physically and mentally, but he was always there to be loved, and to love, to comfort us when in need, to share our happiness’s, to welcome us joyfully home, and to share our troubles by being close.

Those he accepted and loved were blessed with an indescribable feeling of wonder that this unworldly being should so honour them.  If he did not like or trust anyone, he fear­ fully retreated to our bedroom - he just kept out of the way.

All Napoleon asked in return was to be respected and loved as a close family member.  His goodness and nobility affected all who knew him, and he was loved.

I often wondered why I was chosen to be the soul partner in such a beautiful relationship. The joys of the last nine years are indescribable, as is the sorrow and loneliness I now feel at his loss.

But the spirit of Napoleon will live on, to inspire all who were privileged to know him to strive for a better understanding and fairer deal for all his kind.

Napoleon had one great gift, LOVE, and he gave this freely to Bern and I 24 hours a day, to our family, and to children in particular, everywhere.

No greater gift can any being give.

Dora and Napoleon’s stories, along with Snowgoose, are told in the book For the Love of a Dingo, in both print and eBook editions. Visit www.pam.id.au for purchase information.

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