A Dog in the Desert #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a dog in the desert. Why is the dog there? Who else is involved? Is there a deeper metaphor you can make of the desert? Go where the prompt leads!

We are told to write what we know, and I am not a dog person. I’ve never owned a dog though both my children and their families now do. I’m currently trying to complete a story for this year’s Story Angels Anthology that has ‘Tales from the Bark Side’ as its theme. It took me ages to get a story started and I hope I can complete it to my own, and the judges’ satisfaction. Fingers crossed.

The last time Charli included a dog in the prompt, I didn’t submit. This time I’ve followed the prompt into the desert with Australia’s own native dog. I’ve gone for a type of information-packed free verse, not really a flash fiction, but there I went. I would’ve liked more time to work on it. Perhaps I still will. But this is it for now. I hope you enjoy it.

Desert Dog


wild dog of this vast land

of forest, scrub and plain

no stranger to the desert

with golden fur and quiet white feet

a bushy tail and pointed ears

and long sharp teeth

Australia’s largest mammal carnivore

apex predator

been here 4,000 years or more

nocturnal hunter

with howls that rip the night asunder

call the pack in

or warn intruders away

marking territories with body scents

curious but shy

beautiful but dangerous 

lean and mean


opportunistic hunter

hungry scavenger

do not coax it in

be ever wary

treat with caution

lest you become the dingo treat.

I think the Azaria Chamberlain story in 1980 made the world aware of the Australian dingo. It was a story that rocked the nation, not to mention its effect on the family. Although dingo attacks on humans are rare, they do occur, particularly if campers welcome them to their campsites and feed them, particularly if they are hungry and particularly if campers do not treat them with sufficient caution and respect. They may look like domestic dogs, but they are not domestic. They are wild. As recently as a week ago, a young girl was attacked by a dingo on K’gari (Fraser Island). However, many more people die by drowning and car accidents than by sharks, and even fewer by dingoes. Be cautious but not afraid.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Impossibly Blue, including mine, can be read at the Carrot Ranch.

37 thoughts on “A Dog in the Desert #99WordStories

  1. calmkate

    I really like this informative poetic style Norah, thanks!

    Saw an albino dingo at Currumbin, he was so plump and healthy looking I had to ask what he was. No lean howling machine there, just an overfed captive 😦

    Liked by 1 person

      1. calmkate

        there is a broad range, but while the bird show was on – I was outside the main arena for better shots – one of the volunteers called me over as the dingo and tassie devils were prowling about their enclosures.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Dog in a Desert Collection « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  3. Jules

    With anything in the wild “Be cautious but not afraid.”
    We had a bear in the back yard of a local neighborhood.
    Thankfully no one was hurt… sometimes the animal is just looking for food.
    Animal control was called and they were able to safely remove the bear!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. robbiesinspiration

    Hi Norah, I love this poem (I’m sure you knew I would). I was talking to another Australian blogger (Meeka’s Mind) about dingoes recently as I compared them to hyenas. They are much more like our wild dogs though, than hyenas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Robbie, that’s made my day. Thank you. Coming from a poet, it’s a lovely comment. I love to dabble with poetry, but have never considered myself a poet and I felt this one could have done with more work. Having read your recent post about hyenas, I’d agree that dingoes and hyenas are not too similar.


  5. petespringerauthor

    Humans are obsessed with thinking they can treat wild animals like domesticated ones. It’s a curious habit. I know of someone around here who used to feed raccoons outside his house. The raccoons got used to this and expected it. One night he was out and the raccoons shredded his back screen door.

    Best of luck to you with the story for the anthology, Norah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Wow! That’s a tale about a raccoon. I wonder what that someone did after that – continue to feed them? or stop? At least it was only his back screen door.
      Thank you for your wishes for my story. I have my pen ready and my fingers crossed. 🙂 (Actually, I don’t write with a pen. Perhaps I should have said keyboard ready. 😂)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. beth

    what was the final outcome on the Chamberlin story? I remember this. my old rescue dog was an undetermined mix of breeds, and a bit unusual looking. many people stopped to ask if he was a dingo )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      That’s interesting about your old rescue dog, Beth.
      Sadly, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain were vilified by the media and Lindy did three years in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. It was finally proven that Azaria had been taken by a dingo and Lindy and Michael were vindicated, but not before great suffering had occurred.

      Liked by 1 person


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