“I think she likes you” Ann says as Mirrhi steps a paw from the table to my shoulder so she can get a really good sniff All around my head before commencing an investigation down my top (where she saw me put my lens cap… don’t ask, curvy girls know the drill).
“Oh yeah, she loves you alright”
So this was my first meeting up close and personal like with a dingo. Really up close and personal.
I found out about Crossroads Dingo Rescue through my work with WISH animal rescue. WISH wanted to pass on a fundraising opportunity to Crossroads because they weren’t so well known or funded, despite Ann from Crossroads having been involved in Dingo rescue for about 40 years.
Ann’s Dingoes live at her home and property in Serpentine, Western Australia. They are all kept mostly separated, some inside in different rooms, and some externally in large pens. They then get rotated around when possible in order to spend time with Ann inside as part of the family. It is a fine dance though, knowing who can tolerate whom added to the problem that Dingoes are very sensitive to change in their environment. Everything Ann has and owns and earns goes towards caring for these Aussie icons.
Dingo rescue is a complex world and not so easily marketed the way dogs and cats can be through cute pictures of puppy dog eyes and fluffy kittens. The temperament and needs of a Dingo are very different from that of a dog, because they are not a dog, they are a wild animal. They are Australian native predators. They are Dingoes.
None the less, there are those that insist on cross breeding with domestic pets then offering these unique creatures to people enamoured by the idea of owning a Dingo. Much like one might want to own a tiger. Maybe it’s the thought of taming a wild animal, an ego thing. Or more charitably, it perhaps comes from a place of genuine care and respect for this amazing creature.
Though if there is one thing that became immediately clear upon my first visit to Crossroads, it was that one does not ‘own’ a Dingo. The relationship needs to be based on a mutual respect, not fear or dominance. And Dingoes are happiest being treated as one of the family rather than a pet. Even then Dingoes are not naturally pack animals so do not automatically seek out the social interaction of a large family group. They will pick and choose who their people are.
Unfortunately, many of these Dingo pet experiments end up in pounds or surrendered because people can’t ‘control’ them or keep them contained. Did you know that a Dingo can jump straight up about 3 metres from standing? I didn’t, but I’ve now seen it with my own eyes. Ann sadly has to turn away too many of these animals due to a lack of space and funding.
I’ve now met quite a few of the Dingo characters from Crossroads and I am looking forward to introducing you to them and bringing you their stories.
If you want to contribute to the good work Ann does please consider donating. Every dollar goes straight to the care of those animals.
Crossroads Dingo Rescue
BSB: 633 000