Authored by Berenice Walters and Pamela Jean King.
The reader needs to be aware this is a combination of memoir and biographical information and observations. A combination that works well and provides an interesting, informative and delightful read that is recommended.
There are three distinct parts to the book. Though the authorship is shown as Berenice Walters and Pamela Jean King they in fact contributed different aspects to the tale consequently, there are distinct characteristics in some of the writing. This does not detract from the read but is something a reader should take into account. The first account, ‘Dora the Adorable Dingo’ was fundamentally written by Berenice. The second, ‘Napoleon (Chair) Dingo’ was principally written by Berenice with some input and editing by Pamela King. The third, ‘Snowgoose Obedience Champion & Dingo’ has been biographically authored by Pamela. The final parts, that provide a roundup, have also been authored by Pamela who undertook responsibility for editing and publishing the whole book.
As the synopsis makes clear, Berenice Walters, now deceased, and her dingoes are the primary topic of this account. In truth that should be the other way round; Berenice’s dingoes are really the primary protagonists.
Through Berenice’s writing the reader experiences the unity and affinity that existed between her and her dingo companions. This really has been written very personally and draws the reader in. They will feel and empathise with, her continuous joy, her occasional frustration, and her sorrow when something happens to her beloved dogs. Berenice already trained cattle dogs prior to adopting a dingo who she proved could and would respond as any dog to appropriate training techniques. It may have needed to be a little more intense, taken a little longer and required a bit more patience but in the end proved more than successful. In the midst of the joy, frustration, fear and sorrow there is also humour, especially with Napoleon. The accounts of how each of Berenice’s dingoes behaved are really very interesting and enlightening.
A few aside comments make clear there is also a tale to Berenice’s own life. However, wisely, considering the overall nature of the book, she avoids going into a lot of detail. After all her accounts were an attempt to show fellow Australians the dingo is not a dog to be feared. Her main exception regards the death of Napoleon, the possible underlying causes of which are unpleasant. Pamela King (Ferrari) has already undertaken some research into Berenice’s life and is seeking funding to expand this with the ultimate aim of publishing a full biography. A book to be looked forward to.
A few observations:
- Early on Berenice Walter’s makes clear, at the time, it was illegal for anyone to own a dingo. Nevertheless, there is no explanation as to why the government had implemented such a law. She implies how people considered dingoes to be unpredictable and violent. A concept she was attempting to prove as unfounded. But it is not until the final stages of the book there are any clear quoted statements ‘…. but I knew they must be ferocious, sharp-fanged, snarling animals.’ ‘Haven’t they been branded as vicious killers to be shot on sight?’. From the start there is an implication the reader would be fully aware of the underlying issues surrounding attitudes toward the dingo. However, it must be acknowledged this is not necessarily the case. It would help non-Australians and probably younger Australians if an explanation was included up front, perhaps in the preface. The reader would then be able to understand more clearly the roots of Berenice’s fears for her companions as well as her own being.
- As with most under resourced self-publishing authors the book would benefit from a little further proof-reading. Nevertheless, such oversights as there are do not detract from this enjoyable read.
- There is an implication the book is only of primary interest to fellow Australians. Not so. It is relevant and will be of interest to other nationalities as well as to the general reading public. The dingo may be native to Australia but each nation has its own feral, misunderstood, ‘wildlife’.
This is not a long read, only consisting 136 pages. In addition, it has been written in such an easy style the reader will find themselves gliding through. The book is recommended to anyone interested in a heartfelt account of an unusual life experience. Four stars (4*).
Available in both paperback and e-book formats:
Pamela King’s (Ferrari) ‘Dingo Lady’ website: http://dingolady.com.au