Thursday 27 December 2018

Amber and Gunda - from Merigal Dingoes by Pamela King

Photo showing Amber’s ‘mane’. (Berenice Walters’ Collection)
Amber and Keira were born in 1992, daughters of Humpty-Two and Snowqueen. They regularly challenged each other by standing straight up on their hind legs with front legs pressed against each other’s chest. Glaring at each other, they'd carry on a very noisy challenge. The altercations sounded furious but neither ever got hurt.

Amber had an interesting feature. The hair down the back of her neck stood erect forming a mane.

Amber was put with Gunda. He had been a particularly wayward pup. He charged over to challenge her to begin with, and things seemed touch and go, but they developed a close relationship. He quietened down considerably after that.
Gunda was a tree-climbing expert. He lived in an enclosure at the rear of the property but learned to climb a tree and, one morning, was seen walking to the front gate to be let in. After the tree was cut back, he found another to climb. He had to be moved to a run with only one gum tree, smack bang in the middle. One volunteer was heard to mutter, “If he learns to climb that, we'll grease it!”
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Tuesday 18 December 2018

Berenice Undergoes Hypnotherapy

Anyone who met Berenice could not help to be impressed with her strength and conviction on behalf of the Dingo … but it wasn’t always so.

In 1976 Berenice still carried the scars of her early experiences with her father; always afraid she would fail, make a fool of herself or be seen as showing off.

As the date for the Inaugural Meeting of the Australian Native Dog Training Society approached, she was consumed with self-doubt, panicking and frightened out of her mind. Even though everyone attending were well known to her, she was unable to sleep and constantly drenched in stress induced perspiration.

The day before the dreaded meeting she visited a hypnotherapist, briefly explaining her predicament. She laid back in the chair and relaxed as he quietly and soothingly built up her confidence. It worked. She faced the meeting like a professional. She was calm and sure of her facts. No one had any idea of the trauma she had endured before the hypnosis.

The meeting was visited by three journalists from the Sydney Morning Herald. Everyone in the room expressed their confidence in her to lead the new organisation into a long hard fight for justice and appreciation of the dingo as a valued member of Australia's wildlife.

The response to her presentation gave her the courage to stand up and fight in public. She knew she had the inner strength to lead the society and, if necessary, fight the whole of Australia to protect the Dingo. She was 48 and felt at last she had matured and found her role in life.

Based on the upcoming biography of Berenice Walters, the Dingo Lady

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Tuesday 4 December 2018

For the Love of a Dingo – Review by Will Lowrey, Author and Publisher

I had no knowledge of context on dingoes before reading this book and found this a very interesting, informative, and easy read. 

The book is divided into three sections, each covering the life of a specific dingo and their relationship with Berenice Walters, their caretaker. 

The book starts with the life of Dora, Berenice's very first dingo. Dora's story is quite interesting as it describes in good details the learning curve that Berenice had with acclimating to a dingo from the cattle dogs she was familiar with. 

The "heart" of this book seems to be the middle section about Napolean, Dora's son. You can read in the words how close the bond was between Berenice and Napolean (or "Nap"). 

There is a profound love that shines through the pages and it is evident that Nap changed Berenice's life and became an ambassador for wild dingoes in Australia. The final section is about Snowgoose, an alpine dingo (who even knew there were different types of dingoes?). Snowgoose was more challenging and there are some interesting stories about her antics (including being chased around by a pig on a farm).

The book is very well-written and is neatly broken down into 3 chapters with individual sections within each that mark the progression of Berenice's relationship with the dingoes. Pamela King does an excellent job of weaving together information that is both informative and entertaining. The language is plain and clear and the book is not complicated or "heavy" to read despite being on a topic that was unfamiliar and could have easily gotten bogged down with complexities on animal biology or Australian regulations. The descriptions of Berenice's home and property allow you to visualize her life with Dora, Nap, and Snowgoose. I particularly enjoyed the anecdotes of Nap's chair in the house. Also noteworthy are the pictures which were invaluable in adding to the story.

As someone who has spent many years advocating for pit bulls, I found many parallels in this book as it relates to how dingoes are viewed in Australia. The story of Berenice's determination and perseverance to change perceptions on these animals are viewed and treated resonated strongly. I very much enjoyed this book and thank Pamela for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.