Bowie is a neutered male New Guinea singing dog. We rescued him in 2010 when he was around one year old.
Bowie is an extremely affectionate boy. He loves just about anyone who comes to visit him, and will bravely run up to guests and caretakers. He loves to wrestle, but his older habitat-mate, Foxy, can’t keep up. Bowie is able to go for long enrichment walks around our sanctuary.
Bowie lives with an older female New Guinea singing dog, Foxy. He and Bono used to get along well until they had a bad fight resulting in injuries. So, we had to separate them. Bowie is on our tour path and loves to come to the fence to greet our guests.
Bowie was named after the beloved singer, David Bowie. His and Foxy’s house is the former bedroom set that our former director Leyton J. Cougar originally built for his daughter when she was a little girl.
Likes & Dislikes
Bowie loves giving kisses, getting scratches on the side of his head, and sniffing around his caretaker’s bucket when he gets a chance.
Bowie dislikes when people are paying attention to Romeo, who lives across the path, instead of him – he’ll sing as loud as he can until he has their attention. He also doesn’t like Bono, and we make sure to keep them apart when our Singers go out for a walk.
Some consider the rare and wild New Guinea singing dogs to be most like dingoes, but others report that they have completely unique DNA. They get their name from their equally unique howl which is nearly impossible to describe. Some say it sounds like a barbershop quartet, and others describe it as an ethereal trill. When we rescued Bono, we heard there were less than 200 New Guinea singing dogs in captivity, and that they may already be extinct on their native island of Papua. We read that on the island, Singers were seen more in pairs than in packs. For 30 years now, no one in their native country has seen them at all, although they report hearing them sing.
Bowie’s story begins with a Pennsylvania man who bought a breeding pair of New Guinea singing dogs from a flea market. That same year, he obtained another pair from a kennel that had been shut down by his state. By October of 2010, he had over 80 Singers. They endured unsanitary, makeshift living conditions, including a half dozen adults housed in travel crates stacked on top of one another. The press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture said that, aside from not holding the proper licenses and not vaccinating his Singers for rabies, she thought the animals seemed loved and fed. However, it was clear that their owner was overwhelmed and she considered him to be a hoarder. Pennsylvania animal officials decided it would be best for all but 10 of his Singers to be placed in other homes or sanctuaries, and their owner cooperated fully. We are thankful for James McIntyre from New Guinea Singing Dogs Conservation Society who went to assist, and Tom Wendt from New Guinea Singing Dog International who went to the rescue and found refuge for 62 of the 88 animals. We send huge thanks to Samantha Burleson from Tom’s organization who called us several months later. Five of the Singers who had gone to Arizona now needed to be relocated again.
After all the details were arranged, the Singers made the trip to Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. We were elated to welcome three girls, Foxy, Reba and Princess, and two boys, Bono and Bowie. In 2010, Foxy was 2-years old; the others were only 1. They all had the unusual luxury of being examined by Silje, the celebrity “Wildlife Vet” from Norway only moments after they arrived. We have done no official research so far, but in our professional opinion, Singers are capable of giving you an extreme case of “Too Cute-itis.” They will steal your heart in approximately 18 seconds. As adorable as they are, the folks who know Singers best, including the man who was hoarding them, all agree they are not good pets and of course all wild animals want to be free to live their lives in the wild and not in captivity.
We’ve already had to do some rearranging with our five Singers. Princess and Reba suffered a few bloody bites and had to be removed from the original pack of five; now they live with Bono. Beautiful Foxy is Princess’ mom and lives with Bowie. Because they are inbred, none of the rescued Singers could have been good candidates for any kind of conservation breeding program. However, they are great at making our staff, volunteers, and guests fall in love at first sight!