Friday, 19 February 2021

Snowdrift: Plug Thief (Extract from Merigal Dingoes by Pamela King)

Snowdrift (from the Berenice Walters' Collection)
Snowdrift was born in 1988 at Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria, the son of Boof and Merigal Snowbird (a daughter of Snowgoose). Snowbird was leased to Healesville Sanctuary as part of a joint breeding program. Snowgoose was a very famous Dingo as she and puppy Napilia featured on the Dogs of Australia series 20c stamp in 1980 and starred in the ABC documentary Trust a Dingo in 1977 along with other Merigal Dingoes Dora and Napoleon. 

He was 12 weeks old when he arrived at Merigal. He was always very friendly and outgoing, no doubt partly due to his breeding, and the excellent and varied handling he received at Healesville in the all-important first three months.

He was a tall dingo, brilliant chestnut in colour, and had a huge sense of humour but continually getting into strife. He was always terribly sorry afterwards but couldn’t help himself.

When Snowdrift was a pup, the kitchen plug disappeared. Berenice went to borrow the one from the bathroom, but it also had gone missing as had the plugs from her mother's granny flat. Further searching revealed all the plugs from the headquarters building no longer existed.

Berenice bought a new kitchen plug and wondered if the others would turn up. She heard Snowy's feet quickly, but quietly pattering out of the kitchen and flew after him. She was just in time to see him furtively slithering out the back door. In his mouth, protruding like a deformed tongue, was the new plug. Caught in the act, he coyly circled her, and then collapsed in a submissive heap. What could she say - what could she do but join him on the grass, laughing with him and telling him what a naughty boy he had been.

Once he was caught in the act, he never attempted to repeat the 'crime'.

His manners in the house were impeccable but, knowing dingoes have an unquenchable curiosity, Berenice frequently checked on him. She always found him laying quietly beside a bed unit she had just purchased. As she peeped in, he was resting innocently on a mat beside it. It was not until she noticed the sudden appearance of threads hanging from under the bed she discovered he had neatly chewed through the base!

One day, she couldn't find Snowy and noticed the door of her mother’s granny flat open. She was stunned when she looked inside. Cushions, dolls, doilies, mats had been flung all over the room. Snowy came to a sudden halt in the middle of the pandemonium when he saw her, unsure what to do at being caught out. Fortunately, no damage was done except for one doll's leg being dislocated.

On another occasion Snowy attacked a feather quilt. When he jumped on it, feathers squirted out. It was a great game. The walls, ceiling and furniture were covered with black pin feathers. Despite regular vacuuming, feathers were still appearing months later.

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