Wednesday 27 February 2019

Jarrah – Cheeky Scone Thief

This magnificent dingo was always very gentle and loved people. He was always gentle, firm but fair, with a great sense for fun and drama, and always noble.

He was also a very vocal dingo who loved any excuse to howl. To Berenice’s relief, he eventually gave up doing so under the bedroom window.


By thirteen a number of inactive skin cysts developed in his skin, but one lump started getting larger. Blood needed to be collected from his leg for pre-surgery. While this was being done Jarrah treated all and sundry to one of his infamous roaring episodes, terrorising all within earshot. Jarrah recovered well from his ordeal.

It was said Jarrah had a weight problem. In fact, his greatest admirer banned us from calling him fat, pointing out he was merely cuddly. However, his love of date scones, and anything else he could scavenge may have had something to do with his errrr... cuddliness. He was famous (maybe I should say infamous) for his talent upending garbage bins, strewing the contents all over the floor, and opportunistic rifling through unattended bags of groceries.

One day, Berenice was busy welcoming relatives. Jarrah took himself into the lounge room. While waiting patiently for the guests to join him, he neatly ate through most of the scones, licking the butter off those that remained. Tired of waiting, he finally brought a butterless scone to Berenice, dropped it at her feet, as if to say that he had waited long enough, before sauntering outside, disgusted at not being joined in the lounge room.

Berenice’s kitchen was quite compact. There were three of us in there one day making ham sandwiches and barely enough room to turn around. Deep in conversation, and all facing out the window we did not hear, or feel, one large (and cuddly) dingo creep into the kitchen and remove the slices of ham from the bench behind us. A unanimous (and not uncommon) cry went out “Jarrah!!” The loveable rogue had done it again.

At twelve Jarrah was still the darling he always was and became one of Berenice’s 'oldie' house dingoes. With most of the dingoes she was usually flat out staying one step ahead but with Jarrah he was usually one step ahead of her – the crafty but lovable old man, that he was.

In mid-1997 Merigal received a phone call reporting the sighting of a dead dingo-like dog by the side of the road in the local area. A frantic head count resulted in a heart-stopping discovery, Jarrah was missing. In the middle of the ensuing panic, Jarrah calmly walked out from under his favourite bush, yawning and wondering what all the commotion was about.

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Wednesday 13 February 2019

Peter Pan: Magnificent, Talented and Kindly White Dingo – extract from Merigal Dingoes by Pamela King

Peter Pan (Berenice Walters’ Collection)

Peter was bred by Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney’s western suburbs and was sponsored by the Blue Mountains Branch of the RSPCA. He was the father of Jarrah and Jedda.

He was very much a 'family' man, a gentle Dingo, completely devoid of cunning or meanness. He lived in peace and harmony with his mate Dawn and their offspring over whom he exercised firm but fair discipline. He was always a loving and protective parent. 

Peter Pan shows his son Jarrah the “watering hole” (Berenice Walters’ Collection)

Peter Pan, being a yard dog, was not always in contact with humans, and, at times, tried them out by challenging them in a rather polite, but insidious, way.

During a breeding season, Berenice entered the yard shared by Peter and Blondie to change the water. Without any obvious overture, she found herself pressed against the fence, Peter standing very close, staring straight into her eyes. She was not sure if she was being challenged and did not wish to wrongly condemn him. Quietly walking back to the gate, never taking her eyes off his, she put him on a chain before again going into the kennel to get his bucket.

She informed Ken of the incident, warning him to be on his guard.

Next afternoon while 'feeding up', she was amazed to see Ken in the same position she had been the previous day, Peter standing very close, slightly crouched, and staring straight up into Ken's face.

It was crucial the situation be rectified with diplomacy, not aggression. Unless checked, Peter would probably openly challenge one of them, even attack.

Next day when Ken entered Peter's yard he marched straight towards the kennel. Peter attempted to bar his way. Ken proceeded as if Peter did not exist causing him to bound out of Ken’s way. Peter then romped along beside Ken, tail up, all smiles, bouncing along with a series of 'bows', acknowledging Ken's superiority.

There were no more problems with Peter. He was a very good-natured dog, friendly with strangers, and able to readily adjust to most situations, provided his rights were observed.

Berenice believed they had unwittingly encouraged Peter to challenge them, by always walking around him when entering his yard. From then on, they made a point of heading straight for his kennel, then play with him or brush him. They had no more problems.

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