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Dingo Discovery Sanctuary & Research Centre

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Published January 13th 2018
Come play with dingo puppies at the Dingo Foundation
dingo, rescue, puppies
The Dingo Discovery Research Centre

Who doesn't like to play with puppies? What about dingo (Canis dingo) puppies? These are 100% dingoes. Last month a few groups of people were fortunate enough to do just that when an unexpected litter of pups was born in spring 2017 at the Dingo Discovery Sanctuary & Research Centre in Toolern Vale, Victoria.

dingo, rescue, puppies
A volunteer leads Saxon through the audience

Though we were there to see this special litter of puppies, it was impressive to learn so much about dingoes, and this knowledge helped prepare us for the puppy encounter. "Normally," explained Lyn Watson, co-founder, "dingo puppies are born in late autumn, but every once in a while a special litter of pups is born in spring." Lyn and her husband Peter once bred, exhibited, and judged purebred dogs, but they soon realised their future calling in the rapidly dwindling population of the dingo.

dingo, rescue, puppies
Lyn Watson explains the unique abilities all dingoes have, depending on their environment

Before you can play with the puppies though, you must learn about dingoes, and yes, you are privileged with an up close and personal encounter with one of their ambassadors. Our assigned ambassador was named Saxon, a stunning male dingo. For about 30 minutes, Lyn explains a few facts about dingoes, for instance, once a dingo has looked into your eyes as Saxon did for just a moment when he passed by each of us, Lyn explained, "Saxon will never forget you. If you return next year, five years, or longer, he will recognize you have been here before, and he won't need to look you in the eyes again."

dingo, rescue, puppies
Saxon shows off his profile

The primary goal here is to help you understand that dingoes are not dogs. They are much more intelligent than the smartest dog, incredibly resourceful, fascinating creatures who have earned their place in this world, and most importantly, they are vilified more often then they deserve. One leaves this session in awe of the dingo.

dingo, rescue, puppies
Saxon shows off a few of his amazing abilities

With your new found respect, you are allowed to enter the dingo's playground. Lyn warns the group not to make eye contact for more than a few seconds because dingoes are timid, and we are about to be introduced to the newest members of their pack which could upset the adults. We are also advised, not to make any high pitched sounds for the same reasons.

dingo, rescue, puppies
Volunteers check on the adult dingoes before visitors are permitted near them

After we broke off into two smaller groups and given a handful of treats, we wait for the puppies to be lead to us. It was an absolutely profound experience! Lyn continues the educational experience as the puppies played around us. Next, we met Kimi, and witness her amazing climbing abilities. Afterward, we have an opportunity to take selfies with this small, but beautiful female dingo.

dingo, rescue, puppies
Dingo puppies greet their guests with enthusiasm

Lyn, and her late husband, Peter, fully fund this beloved project themselves. In all the years they have had their rescue foundation, they have only accepted one small grant from their local council, and every single staff member is a volunteer so when they take you into their shop, purchase something, or sponsor a dingo for $1 a day (tax deductible).

dingo, rescue, puppies
Dingo puppies play as Lyn discusses the dingo's natural habitat

The dingo is an iconic Australian native animal. Its reintroduction into the wild has restored a balance in the natural environment. Support the dingo foundation by playing with a puppy, and learning about why we need these amazing animals in our ecosystem.

dingo, rescue, puppies
Kimi shows off her amazing climbing abilities
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Why? How often does one have an opportunity to play with dingo puppies?
When: Visits by appointment only
Phone: 03 54281245
Where: 350 Gisborne Road, Toolern Vale, Victoria
Cost: Puppy Encounter - $50.00, Private Tours: Adults - $60.00 Children - $30.00, Groups of 20 encouraged & receive discount
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