You can see her on the Tour Path!
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 Reba, 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 New Guinea. We read that on the island, Singers were seen more in pairs than in packs. Recently, however, we learned that a very small number of wild singers still exist on their native island!
Reba’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, after five of the Singers who had gone to Arizona 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.
For a number of years following their arrival at Wild Spirit, Reba shared an enclosure with Bono and Princess, and the trio lived together comfortably for approximately 9 years before Princess passed away. The following year, Reba also lost Bono, and eventually, Foxie. Thankfully the last of our Singers, Reba and Bowie, found comfort in each other. thankfully showed a lot of interest in. They would frequently interact and play through the fence, so when the time finally came for our last two Singers to be paired, Bowie and Reba made a fantastic couple.