By Jasmine Kazlauskas
A young woman has defended her decision to live with two wild dingoes she keeps as pets and even lets sleep in her bed – despite admitting they are as dangerous as TIGERS.
Lisa Jenkins, 24, from the Latrobe Valley in Australia adopted wolf-like hunters Choppa, three, and two-year-old Thor after both animals were born in the wild.
The 24-year-old claims she has a ‘special and unique’ bond with the native Australian feral dogs, but admitted she has found it hard safely raising the ‘extremely proficient predators’ with no prior experience.
And while dingoes have been known to attack and kill humans, pharmacy worker Lisa said it was ‘love at first sight’ and adopting her unusual fur babies has been the best decision she has ever made.
It is illegal to keep dingoes as pets in Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia, while a special permit is required in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, the ACT and Victoria, where Lisa lives.
Lisa, who is currently studying to become a zookeeper, said: “Going into this, we really didn’t know much about dingoes at all.
“We did our research, but we were not prepared for the challenges thrown at us.
“People who think dingoes are dangerous as a species are in some way correct.
“They can be dangerous in certain circumstances and I would never approach one in the wild.
“Dingoes can be terrifying when they are fighting, or even just communicating.
“They’re extremely proficient predators and should be treated as such in the wild.
“Just because they look cute, it doesn’t mean they’re any less dangerous than other predators such as lions and tigers.
“This is where people get confused – they assume because a dingo looks like a dog, it won’t be harmful.
“But they should be respected and treated appropriately.
“They’re not domestic dogs – they’re extremely hard work and are far more challenging than dogs.
“We have always been aware of the bad reputation of dingoes, but we didn’t let a reputation stop us.
“Everyone was sceptical and kept telling me I was making a big mistake adopting a dingo.
“I was constantly being told that dingoes are dangerous and make awful pets, and still receive negative backlash to this day.
“But we did our own extensive research, and because of that we have a beautiful fur family.
“They’re not for everyone as they take a lot of time and money to manage, but for the right people they make amazing companions.
“I would never change the way we did things or change our minds on owning dingoes.
“Choppa and Thor are my entire life. They are loyal and love us unconditionally.
“It is a very special and unique bond.”
Wild dingoes are predators that are native to Australia and are considered dangerous – and have been known to attack and kill humans.
Lisa had longed for a dog her entire life and when she and partner of five years Matthew Harvey, 24, decided they wanted to get a dog together back in 2015 they were ‘totally against’ buying puppies from breeders or pet stores.
So it was ‘love at first sight’ when Lisa first spied Choppa online after researching canine adoption organisations.
Lisa admitted she and electrician Matthew were intrigued by the fact Choppa was a ‘mixed’ dingo that was born in the wild – with the adoption advertisement giving a warning that he would need to go a ‘dingo-friendly’ home.
The couple officially adopted Choppa in November 2015, and later opened their home to Thor in April 2017.
Both dingoes were born in the wild and taken to animal shelters when they were pups after being orphaned at a young age.
Without extensive knowledge or prior experience, Lisa admitted that she found it ‘extremely hard’ at first to raise an ‘inherently wild animal’ – and admitted she and Matthew unprepared to welcome a wild dingo into their lives.
And while the couple said adopting Thor was ‘the best decision they’ve ever made’ they revealed he is far ‘wilder’ than Choppa and possesses more typical dingo traits.
But Lisa admitted dingoes can be dangerous in certain circumstances and owning them as a pet is ‘not for the faint hearted – while adding that they should not be treated as any other domestic dog.
And while she often faces negative backlash about her decision to keep dingoes in her home, she insisted she ‘wouldn’t change it for the world’.
Lisa said: “Even though we were excited about adopting Choppa, it was extremely hard.
“Dingoes are pack animals. They need company, and leaving them along can lead to anxiety, depression and destructive behaviour.
“Choppa developed serious separation anxiety, and we dealt with serious escape attempts to the point where we almost lost him.
“He also injured himself by cutting his head open above his eye, because of jumping up and trying to scale a fence to escape.
“Nothing we did to try and easy his anxiousness worked.
“We decided to get another dingo to make Choppa’s life as happy as possible.
“Choppa is considerably more ‘domesticated’ than Thor is, regarding his confidence and mannerisms, but it no way does that mean he behaves like a domesticated dog.
“Thor is extremely timid and shy, and that is a true identification with wild dingoes.”