The shower recess needed and upgrade. When Berenice contacted White's Leaky Shower Repairs at Camden the telephonist said, "I hope you don't have any dogs". Totally lost for words for a moment, Berenice explained she lived at the Merigal Dingo Education Centre.
"Oh, no" came the flabbergasted cry. "It is as if David wears a sign saying 'Dog, please bite me' because he is always being attacked. Will you make sure the dogs are all locked up when he comes?"
David duly arrived. As he walked down the driveway his legs were going ten to the dozen, with his head swivelling from side to side to make sure no dogs were attacking from the rear. He was behaving like 'prey', as a hare would run when being chased. Berenice explained he should walk leisurely when entering a property, with predictable behaviour so the dogs had a chance to accept him. Only Sheila was loose, but he asked she also be locked up next time he called.
Next time David arrived unexpectedly. The dogs and dingoes were not kennelled he was walked leisurely. He called out to Berenice "See, I have taken your advice". The dogs had looked up at his arrival, then went back to sleep. They were not interested. David was impressed.
The shower recess was only the beginning of the renovations, and David was so interested with all going on at Merigal, he ended up being advising on colour through the house. Berenice was delighted with the product. The house was dingo coloured house on the outside, and a soft apricot inside throughout, with a deeper coloured tiled floor.
The builder, Jeff Barber, had worked out around Alice Springs. He was cattle dog breeder and had also had a Dingo companion. He was thrilled to work amid the Merigal gang as they kept a close watch on proceedings. Berenice half expected to replace 'stolen tools' but the only one to go missing was a wooden handled trowel. The culprit was probably Kalang. She was too nervous of strangers to greet and meet them, so she steals their belongings to sniff and familiarise herself with the stranger's scent. I think the Dingo's motto could well be 'Where there's a will, there's a way.' The trowel was found some weeks later and returned.
When the carpenter, Scott, arrived, he saw Sheila and said he had known a stray dog just like her when he shared a house with five other men. It turned out Sheila was the one and same dog and remembered him.
Sheila paid him back for deserting her. He had chicken for lunch in his glove box where he thought it would be safe, but she got into the car, and the glove box and stole it. She was normally very good, but can't resist chicken, and got several free feeds from the workmen's lunches she managed to steal.
Scott asked Berenice’s mother the name of the savage Dingo was. Berenice wondered who he was referring to. It was Snowdrift. She explained she never even seen Snowdrift snarl. Apparently, in her absence, while Scott unloaded his vehicle near Snowdrift's pen, Snowdrift flew at the fence every time he went to the truck, as Scott said, "hackles raised, lips turned back in a snarl, and showing a ferocious mouthful of teeth". Snowdrift had taken over. Berenice had never seen this side of his nature before.
The floor tiler loved Sheila. He told me he had had a cross Dingo for fourteen years, and it had been a wonderful carer of the local children. Even the parents had difficulty retrieving their own children, until the dog's owner explained they must speak the dog's name, then there would be no problem. When the dog was fourteen, a new resident, who apparently resented the dog, poisoned her. One month later, his young daughter was raped and murdered. When he told Berenice the story they both wept.
It was fortunate the painter, Jack, who had to spend such a lot of time in and around the house, was a keen dog lover. The Dingoes really liked and trusted him. He had a Chihuahua.
The Dingoes got a lot of good publicity from the many trades persons who worked at Merigal over the three months period. The constant activity did marvels for the temperaments of the puppies raised in 1992. Jack hammers, electric saws, hammers, pop riveting, regular arrival and departures of trucks and vehicles, were all taken in their stride.