Princess was a spayed female New Guinea singing dog. We rescued her in 2010 when she was around one year old.
Princess was a very shy girl. Her habitat-mates easily bossed her around, and Princess often stayed up on her house, out of their way. It took some time for her to trust new people, but if her caretakers made an effort to connect with her, she loved giving little kisses and receiving pets.
We know that Princess was the daughter of another of our female New Guinea singing dogs, Foxy. Sadly, Foxy never got along with Princess and picked on her so much, we finally had to separate them. Princess spent some time in our animal care office and complained very loudly about it. For such a little girl, she had quite the set of lungs on her!
Likes & Dislikes
Princess loved getting new toys, but she had to find ways to keep her habitat-mates from stealing them! She also liked going for leash walks and rolling in anything smelly she came across.
Princess didn’t really like her female habitat-mate, Reba, because of how much Reba picked on her. She tolerated her though because Princess also hated conflict – she was a lover, not a fighter!
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 Princess, 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. Just recently, New Guinea singing dogs have been spotted in the wild again. For 30 years or so, no one in their native country had seen them at all, although they reported hearing them sing.
Princess’ 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 well-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 NG Singing Dogs Conservation Society who went to assist, and Tom Wendt from NG 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 had gone to Arizona and needed to be relocated again.
After all the details were arranged, the Singers made the trip to Wild Spirit. We were elated to welcome three girls, Foxy, Reba and Princess, and two boys, Bono and Bowie. Foxy was 2-years old in 2010; the others were only 1-year old. 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, they are not domesticated, and 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 in the wild, not in captivity.
We’ve had to do some rearranging with our five Singers in their time here. Princess and Reba suffered a few bloody bites and had to be removed from the original pack of five; they now live with Bono and are known as “The Singing Trio”. Beautiful Foxy is Princess’ mom and lives with our other boy, Bowie. All five Signers take “No Scoot” fiber supplement to help with impacted glands. Because of inbreeding, none of our rescued Singers could have been good candidates for any kind of conservation breeding program. They are happy to be home at Wild Spirit instead, where they are safe, well-cared for, and adored by our staff and volunteers.