The appointment was to be at the train station at Alice Springs on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. to meet John Hogan and Donna the world’s first hearing Dingo guide dog.
John and Donna his Dingo were having a few hours stop over on their way to Darwin aboard the Ghan.
They live in Sydney and had travelled to Adelaide to board the train. Due to state laws in South Australia Dingoes are not allowed to be kept as pets, but due to Donna being John`s life support and guide (Donna has saved John from snake attack/bite twice) this Dingo bypasses draconian and ignorant state laws that 'outlaw' the Dingo.
Donna the Dingo has travelled by plane, train, ship and overseas.
The archaic laws in South Australia forbid pet Dingoes, hence Donna could not attend the guide dog school there because of her breed. Donna was trained for two and a half years in Sydney by the police force. Donna is a pure golden desert Dingo and the first Dingo guide dog in the world. The rigid laws enforced against people owning a pet Dingo are still in effect in South Australia and Queensland.
This highlights the stupidity and narrow-mindedness and the much needed alterations to save the Dingo breed from extinction.
There are certain controllin aspects espoused by some people in positions of authority that could eradicate these draconian laws to help the Dingo breed sustain and exist by conservation through domestication; this has not been the case as the powers that are in place appear to have their own agenda and own vested interest that forgets about the forgotten Aussie Icon.
Some of the `self-proclaimed experts` have damaged the breed’s prospects through ignorant comments about the dog being a lousy pet. Nothing could be further from the truth. A basic 'right' of the Dingo is to be a recognised breed of dog (it is the parent of all dogs—canis familiaris dingo, after the wolf, canis lupus.)
The Dingo is the most pure in blood strain, having no alterations in the breeding pattern until recently when formerly domesticated dogs that now gone wild have bred with the Dingo and tainted the pure bloodline.
The Dingo has a right to exist and it is strange that politicians set in place laws to eradicate and make extinct this treasure.
The Dingo does not bark, it is neutral of dog odour and the most prolific of colours in the breed are the red/tan with about 10% being black (woodlands) and only 1% of the Alpine Dingo that are white.
Aboriginal peoples across the continent of Australia had pet Dingoes. Warrigal or Tingo (the first settlers mistakenly thought the word Tingo which means 'tame' was Dingo ) was the name given by indigenous people in Australia.
The first European settlers documented testimonials about their pet Dingoes.
It is ironic that Donna the pet Dingo guide dog would normally not be allowed in South Australia but is 'free' to go wherever and whenever she pleases as a guide dog. Donna has travelled in economy class with her owner, John Hogan next to her, as she looks out of the window of a Qantas plane—imagine a dog in the passenger craft, then imagine a Dingo guide dog sitting in her own seat on the plane!
In the wild, the Dingo is breeding with former domesticated dogs, which is destroying the bloodline.
Pet Dingoes deserve the choice and rights that all other breeds have—a basic equality and right including agility and competition, which will ensure and enable the Dingo survives for all prosperity.
My pet Dingo Lindy is an Alpine Dingo, having had DNA testing on her family stock at the University of Melbourne, which came from Bruce Jacobs Dingo farm in Castlemaine (Bruce Jacobs served as the 'Dingo father' of these animals, dedicating his life and knowledge of the breed to educate people about what wonderful pets a Dingo will make with nurturing, love and understanding).
Conservation through domestication of the Dingo was Bruce Jacobs’s strongest point which often caused him abuse from those feeling threatened.
Unfortunately Bruce Jacobs, who was an expert in the field of Dingoes, died in November 2004.
He was found on the property dead on the floor of his house with one of his favourite Dingoes asleep next to his side.
My pet Dingo Lindy is the most amazing dog, a beautiful animal that has a wonderful disposition and every day is a joy to share in the company of this warm and friendly two-year-old Dingo.
Lindy is funny and inquisitive and displays incredibly funny antics to those who know her.
Lindy is extremely intelligent and follows commands and understands many words directed to her.
Lindy sleeps on the end of my bed. Last summer she balanced on a surfboard in the swimming pool and enjoyed the frolic and laughs and splashes of the children in the pool.
Lindy is the cause for much excitement when she visits the local football training sessions and all in the vicinity come to have a glance and meet with Lindy.
I work in a respite centre for people with disabilities and since Lindy was a very small puppy I have taken her to visit the residents at the respite centre; she is warm and friendly and displays her most beautiful character. All who know Lindy love this friendly Dingo.
One night recently I was woken by Lindy who was licking my face to alert me of danger after a cat had climbed the fence outside our house and a brick had dropped and smashed on the ground. It was something I took in my stride as the more I learn about this breed of dog the more astonished and amazed I have become.
Dinky lives with Jim Cotterill at Stuarts Well, 90 km south of Alice Springs. Tourists regularly come to witness Dinky `play and sing' on the piano. Dinky has been immortalised in the game of Trivial Pursuit! Jim Cotterill`s daughter entered a competition that was held by the game of Trivial Pursuit and Dinky won a thousand dollars for their daughter.
After meeting with Donna the guide Dingo I called the Western Australian branch of blind guide dogs after seeing an article in the newspaper about the cost in training a guide dog.
Thinking it might be a great way to attract donations from the community I proposed that Lindy could be photographed with a golden Labrador for donations.
After a meeting with the powers that concern this fundraiser I was informed that they would not use a Dingo as there were problems with even getting the most basic of changes such as a black Labrador rather than the usual yellow for guide dogs in Western Australia. This seemed quite stupid to me as the blind cannot see anyway and would not care what colour or type of dog was a support as long as they were supportive and if the Dingo created more funds it would only be an advantage for those requiring help.
Dinky, a central desert Dingo saved after the rest of his family fell victim to bait in central Australia, is almost four years old.
Witnessing Dinky play and sing on the piano was spectacular and wonderful.
Lindy`s jaw dropped in awe as she heard the howl of another Dingo for the first time.
Lindy is my Dingo and travelled to Alice Springs for this wonderful event.
A love affair blossomed with Lindy and Dinky which had a small 'hiccup' when Lindy shared a meal but ate the last piece of chicken!
The incredible trip to Alice Springs from Perth and back again in a week included some other funny experiences; in particular one early morning camped on an oval when the sprinkler system started round 5:00 a.m. next to the tent. The exit and rush to the car was extremely comical as three men and a Dingo fled the spray of high-pressured cold water.
It is hoped that this article will provide a basis for important scientific research and conservation measures needed to save the Dingo from certain extinction.
The meeting was a very quick connection with only a few hours availability before the Ghan began its trek north.
But this meeting was special because it wasn’t just with one Dingo—but three!
This adventure was a whirlwind trip, driving in a Ford Laser from Perth to Alice Springs and back again in a week.
Paul Bradley (photographer), Antony Macalvany (film-maker) and myself, Nic Papalia who has Lindy made this remarkable trip. With limited time, I could only get a week off from my work place and we left Perth Sunday to arrive at the train station Thursday at 2:00 p.m. for the two-hour meeting—with great haste and determination we arrived in time for this amazing encounter.
We camped at night and did not drive as the kangaroos were out in force and the danger was overwhelming—a major hazard with constant 'roos' hopping across the road. We were almost washed away one night after setting up tent and a huge storm downpour had us cold and wet on the inside of the tent. We had changed the tent direction a couple of times and I was tired and fed up with the alterations wanting to just sleep, I uttered 'it is just a gentle mist.' Loud laughter could be heard from all three of us as the 'heavens thundered and the lighting continued to fork bolts of vivid flashes across the inside of the canopy all night long.'
The trip took on another angle when Lindy, who had previously been in a car for no longer than 15 minutes, came on heat.
We enjoyed the country; saw eagles, camels, brumbies, kangaroos, foxes and wild Dingoes (four Dingoes in the northern territory that we managed to film.)
At the Nullarbor Roadhouse on the return to Perth we met a house keeper who told great stories about the wild Dingoes who visited the roadhouse almost every day and night. He stated with anger that authorities from South Australia came out and periodically shot the Dingoes that posed no threat to anyone. The diet they ate was rabbit and the workers at the roadhouse had removed a bullet lodged in a Dingo’s head and still alive.
We were told how the staff would ‘close shop’ and walk to their sleeping quarters down the road 3 kms and the wild Dingoes whom the staff all had names for always accompanied them to the dwelling and then ran off to the desert but would return next day to be the inquisitive and curious characters that the Dingo is, creating many laughs as they cleaned the cabin rooms and made beds to be surprised by a Dingo peering through the door. The Dingoes pose no harm or danger to anybody and the staff at the roadhouse voiced their objection to the mindless and cruel shootings that overzealous officials had carried out on a regular basis.
We met remarkable people and the Territorians themselves are a most friendly bunch.
It was a unique connection at the train station with people mingling round the Dingoes and photographs being taken by journalists and locals at the station all captivated by the presence of these remarkable dogs.
The meeting of the three Dingoes—Lindy from the west, Dinky from the red centre and Donna from the east in June 2004 saw these Dingoes serve as ambassadors for their breed. It is hoped this event will help eliminate some of the unjust hysteria that has been created by the media in recent times.
Fourteen thousand attacks on Australian soil last year by domestic dogs were reported compared with the Dingo having had three reported attacks in two hundred years (as a result of human intervention and mismanagement). This has meant the Dingo has born the unjustified stigma that the breed is a savage and dangerous dog.
It is clearly obvious that such sensational and irrational information has denigrated this Aussie Icon.
The Dingo is an Australian Treasure.
~ Nic Papalia