Scentpost - January 1997

Newsletter of the Australian Native Dog Conservation Society Limited

590 Arina Road (PO Box 91), Bargo, NSW, 2574 Australia 'phone +61 46 841 156 fax +61 46 841 156

e-mail - merigal@zip.com.au

Coo-ee!

Well, the neighbours have moved in at last, I think. So we'll see what they're like, I guess. It must be eleven PM and I can hear someone bashing in a star post over there. At least the Dingoes are quiet, and the barkers are all on the other side of the house. Wonder how the neighbours will like the morning chorus.
Which reminds me ... they've chosen an absolutely wonderful time to move in. Right on the start of the breeding season.
Black Magic has pre-empted the Dingoes by coming in about two weeks ago and, for obvious reasons, has been banned from sleeping on the bed. I have no desire to have bedcovers which look like they've been designed by Pollock.
'Dusty may be coming into her first season, too. More on that later ...

Weather Conditions and Grounds

It's supposed to be summer.
Summer? What summer? The weather has been really strange, lately with cool weather, then dreadfully dry, hot weather, then, just as the grass finished dying, buckets of rain to help the paspalum take over. Now it's just hot and sticky, with the promise of the same tomorrow and not a storm cloud in sight. Real homicide weather. No point in early bed.
What grass we've got has leapt into life. If one had time around here, one could watch it growing. Back to mowing, eh, George?
Shrubs and trees are coming on marvellously, thanks to our gardening team. Slanting evening sun shining through the trees looks magic.

Capital works

The new office building fronting onto the parking area is powered up and guess what! The air conditioning works!
But bad luck to anyone thinking they'll sneak off in there on a hot day and sit in the cool. I've padlocked it just in case anyone gets tempted.
Lawrie Winney and I have put in an accessory conduit which can be used for telephone and network to the new building. Once we're settled in there on weekends, things will be a lot less confusing for visitors.
New enclosures have been built for dogs owned personally by Berenice and myself at our expense (of course!). Two expanded enclosures will replace the delapidated cowyard on the northern corner of the houseblock while the kennels on the north-eastern side of the parking area are now walled off. We will be looking at some solid fencing to isolate the parking area.

Livestock

In general, things have been pretty quiet on the livestock front. Of course, we are post-solstice now, so as the days get shorter, the Dingoes have their minds on what one might get up to on long, cool nights!

Psycho-bitch ZoŽ Strikes Again!

A couple of months ago I was surprised to find Remus inside a tree-guard in his enclosure after I had gone down into the kennels to investigate a scuffle. He appeared somewhat nervous, but unhurt.
Wrong. The next day I examined him in daylight only to find a 10cm cut 1.5cm deep in his groin. Well, we're not sure that it was ZoŽ, but I'd put money on it. After what she did last breeding season ...
Anyway, we had Remus' wound to deal with. Should it be sutured? I took Remus to Andrew for a second opinion.
There is no point in suturing infection into a wound to have it form an abcess. After some discussion, we agreed to allow it to heal without surgical intervention, but to maintain Remus on antibiotics for a few days and monitor the situation. The wound was inaccessible to dirt and flies and would best drain without being closed.
Meanwhile, ZoŽ was spayed. We'll see if this cools her off a little.

"Noses" (Muzzles) again!

Every year at about this time, several of the Dingoes will begin to rub their muzzles raw. Nardoo and Blackdog have been affected again. Amber is unaffected this time. But Lasca, Bloomfield, Harry, and even Shadow have been rubbing.
Antihistamines have, in most cases, done the trick, although Blackdog's muzzle is a little raw. Otherwise, all the Dingoes look marvellous.

Willie

... is not quite the Merry Widow, but had been enjoying freedom from Kimba's dictatorship. Indeed, it was impossible to give Willie her breakfast bone because Kimba would promptly pounce on her and remove it (she did get it later, when he had finished).
Sadly, though, the loneliness has set in. But we have plans.

Kennel Reshuffle

Do you remember Oola and Romulus on their first date? Yup, love at first sight. In fact, as they bounded around the ruins of the old Wooleston kennels in what is now the parking area, leaping together over tussocks in a cloyingly sentimental display, it seemed like they'd never need to be parted.
Lately, Romulus has been bossing the somewhat pliable Oola around, and I noticed a tooth mark over one of her eyes a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, a rather chubby-looking Aussie-Host has been giving one of our star attractions, NGWD, Kadoka, a bit of a hard time. I have to put Kadoka's bone in his mouth or 'Hostie will attempt to pinch it.
So ...
My plan is that Kadoka can run with Willie, 'Hostie can run with Romulus (who I reckone will cave in when he gets a firm woman ) and Oola can be a house dog. We end up with an extra dog run.
Now, I wonder what the Dingoes' plans will be! (VBG)

Immunisations, etc.

Everyone who's going to be immunised, for now, has been immunised. Some of the bitches have put their paws down on the issue, no doubt turned off by the contraceptive they've had in the past, which does sting a little.

New Puppies

Not Dingoes ... Australian Cattle Dog puppies. We've had 'em about a week and a half and they are now about fourteen months old.
ACDs seem to engender either fierce love or hatred. If you are in the former group and are paying us a visit, let me know and I'll get them out, in addition to my usual routine of bringing out the more out going Dingoes, for a cuddle - it's good socialisation for them.

Research

Things have suddenly begun to look quite promising on the research front. I've run many more samples on the automatic sequencer now PCRs are working better and some interesting patterns are emerging at a number of loci. The information could well go some way to helping us distinguish between Dingoes and domestic dogs and is also providing some surprising (to me, anyway) insights into the structure of our Dingo populations (captive ones, anyway).
We now have several honours students working on microsatellites in the lab. and things are getting a little crowded in room 141! The honours students are all female and, true to sex, I guess (OK, OK, I can swallow my male pride!), are doing a good job of getting things organised. Optimisation of PCRs is proceeding rapidly.
One student will be working on the Dingo project with me, others will be working on the Border Collies. With several heads on the project, we should make some good progress.
Finally, I'm pleased to say that Dr Wilton successfully obtained $8 000 funding from the School of Biochmeistry and Molecular Genetics for the Dingo project and is currently looking at the possibility of further, larger-scale funding.
One way to go is to look at industry cooperative grants. If we could scrape ten thousand dollars together, along with the resources in terms of dog accommodation, personnel (me!) and other contributions from "industry" I think we'd have a pretty credible basis for an application.
Some people have got in my ear about how the various people involved in Dingoes should get together for the good of the "breed". OK, here's your chance to put your collective money where your mouths are, literally!!
Donations can be sent directly to Dr Alan Wilton at the School of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics (at UNSW), made payable to the University of NSW. Ring Alan on (02) 9385 2019. He's writing the application as I write, and if we get some money together at the "industry" end, the government might cough up. 'Bout time they did something for Dingoes, isn't it?

Communication and Information Technology

Our membership is spread out over a large area of the globe. I have always felt it important to make all of our large "family" feel a part of what is going on at the Dingo Sanctuary. One way of doing this is keeping communications timely.
With the Journal and N/L, communications are necessarily somewhat spread out. Further, with the activity level building up here, and the amount of effort which goes into getting the format of print media right, deadlines have been quite a challenge.
I want members to be assured that we will continue to put out the Journal and N/L at the current standard and, if anything, the quality will continue to improve. On the other hand, to improve communications, we will make use of modern technology to keep you informed.

Welcome to our den!

Those with Web access will be able to keep up with a few extra local stories through our page at http://www.zip.com.au/~merigal where I have been putting up items of interest (with colour piccies!!) from time to time.

E-mail list

By the time you read this, I hope we will have an electronic mailing list established. This will be open to anyone to subscribe to (provided they stick by a few rules to keep things nice and friendly) and will address issues relating to Dingoes, in particular, and related wild canids. E-mail me at merigal@zip.com.au if you want subscription details.

Tourism

Things look very promising for now, with quite a number of bookings, and with membership renewals and money coming in from booked and casual visits, we have been able to make several good bankings.

Donations

Thanks so much to all who have chipped in a little extra with their memberships. I expect we'll be able to do a lot now to make things more pleasant for our resident Dingoes and the visitors who will pay come to see them. We will publish a list of donations in the next Merigal.