The sounds of soft puppy voices, urgent sucking, and the scratching of tiny feet awaken us after a long and exciting night.
Sunlight suddenly bursts into our bedroom penetrating the thick forest of gum trees.
A mother and her newborn litter are snug in their box in a corner of our room. She is a glorious golden animal, her pups deep mahogany, the coat short, fine, and silky with a dark stripe down the spine. With gentle and loving care, she hugs them to her.
Only a few hours old and they are vigorously struggling for life.
This is not only the birth of another day. For these children of the wild, it is hopefully, the birth of another era. They are of a breed so feared and hated - they are Dingoes, the native dog of Australia. *
What could the future hold for these pups born of tame parents into the world of man? Could they lead the
way to a better understanding of this maligned breed? Conditioned at birth to the domestic environment, carefully reared and trained with understanding and sympathy, could their skills be harnessed and used for the betterment of mankind? And what had domesticity to offer this proud independent and ancient breed?
From early childhood, I had been filled with an overwhelming curiosity about the Dingo, wolf, and other wild breeds of dog. A visit to the zoo meant one thing - Dingoes. I marvelled at the cat-like grace of their agile bodies; the brilliance of their golden coats dazzled me.
But their deep and hauntingly beautiful dark brown eyes filled me with unbearable sadness. These were not the eyes of an insatiable and evil killer; they were the eyes of a dog, a highly intelligent and sensitive breed; a proud animal whose eyes mirrored a great inner sadness.
One day I knew I was destined to be deeply involved with this incredibly beautiful animal, whose very existence had been furtively disguised under a cloak of suspicion and mystery since 1788 when the Europeans first settled in Australia. This is a strange anomaly shared with the wolf and other wild dogs.
"The only good Dingo is a dead Dingo" is a frequently repeated statement in Australia, as is "The only good coyote, is a dead coyote" in the U.S.A.
However, those few who have questioned these statements more often came up against strong opposition views. The incredible lack of knowledge and understanding of our native dog has been largely brought about by a grazing fraternity that has deliberately sabotaged the reputation of the Dingo by smothering it in an impenetrable pall of secrecy, classifying it as noxious or vermin so that its destruction is mandatory, and, under the guise of 'Dingo Control' (killing Dingoes) has embarked on massive programmes of extermination to control a very real dog problem, caused for the most part by domestic breeds that have become feral, or the uncontrolled pets of irresponsible dog owners.
The public would not tolerate poison and trapping campaigns aimed at the numerous domestic breeds, but the killing of Dingoes was generally accepted as a necessary evil by a society brainwashed into believing this dog to be a monster, capable of an insatiable and diabolical lust to kill.
* Note: When Berenice wrote this article in 1982 Dingoes were still considered a breed of dog – a wild dog.