Big changes ahead
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    Due to some big life changes (divorce), I'm moving from the suburbs to Chicago proper with my two pooches: Saboo, my 13 year old basenji and Hippo, my 6 year old ACD.

    I've signed a lease on an apartment- it's a little apartment, but it's quick in and out of the apartment (no stairs, elevators, or long hallways) and it's on a quieter residential street.

    I will need to hire a dog walker and find a new vet.

    I have been spoiled rotten with my vets for the past 6 years and the prospect of interviewing and selecting a vet is daunting. Any suggestions? Any recommendations for specific vets in Chicago?

    Similarly, the thought of hiring a dog walker makes me nervous. Saboo is a pretty typical basenji and the other pooch has some ongoing reactivity issues. How do you assess whether the employees of a service are all competent and capable? Or, if you go with an individual, what do you do when they need a day off?

    Does anyone have any tips for helping suburban (formerly rural) dogs adjust to urban life? I suspect Saboo will take the day to day changes in stride- she's been in a theatrical production in Chicago since May, so she's had a good amount of exposure to the hustle and bustle… but I'm still nervous.

    Finally... if anyone has perspective on dogs in divorce, I'd appreciate it. Hippo's sun rises and sets upon me, so I have no doubt she'll be fine and perfectly happy so long as she's got me. Saboo... honestly, she preferred my ex-husband, despite the fact that she's been mine since '98 (long before he was in the picture). She's always preferred men, but she likes me well enough, I guess. I have no idea how she's going to respond to him being gone.

    Thoughts? Words of wisdom?

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  • First, I never know if I should congratulate or give sympathy over divorce– sometimes it is the most healthy and happy move, others a devastating trauma. Just sending support either way and hugs.

    Second, she might prefer him, but she'll get over it. Really. Unless she hates you, and she doesn't, she may miss him some but she'll be fine. Cara PREFERS my daughter Leora, but when she is at college, she adjusts. When she heads to Europe for 7 mos, she'll adjust. Dogs in rescue adjust. And with him gone, she may bond to you closer.

    Third, check with BRAT and local BCOA member for vets knowledgeable about basenjis. This is a good bit of info on selecting one:
    http://www.2ndchance.info/goodvet2.htm

    Dog walker–- that's a bit more disconcerting. It would be nice if we could get them to use a litter pan and avoid the unknown-- but like a vet, interview. Talk to their other clients. Have them come meet your dogs. And use double collar or collar harness with the chain on end to avoid chewing through leash. Actually have the person GO WITH YOU once, and then have them take the dogs with you in a car observing (leave, get in car and have them walk where you will be so your dogs aren't looking).

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    When I divorced and moved, I found the dogs settled in with a firm routine, so they knew when i would be home and walked.
    We have very few accidents, once that was established.

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  • Good wishes for an easy transition. LIke Sharron said, give them as much routine and normalcy as possible, lots of walks. With a good long morning and evening walk, you may not need a walker. Mine can 'hold it' for 12 hours easily.

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  • I'm so sorry about your circumstances. Divorce is never easy-wether wanted or not. It's a big change. Routine is the key as said before. They should quickly settle into a new routine. My husband has less and less to do with the dogs-he doesn't want them, I do. I've changed their routine drastically to reflect how much I work and my (sometimes)16 hour days. They have adapted fine. Yours will be fine as well. Good luck things will get better.

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  • Don't worry they'll be fine and adapt. I went through it back in 97 with 2 Bs (1 was 3 and the other 5) and since I was the one that walked them daily anyway they were fine. For some months I had to travel out of town on weekends and get home late on week days so my neighbor saw after them. After that I got back to normal and everything was great. They lived to be 14-1/2 and 15-1/2.

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  • The dogs will adjust to their living condition, may take a little time but they will.
    You can get suggestions on finding vets from the website DebraDownSouth gave. And depending on far away you're moving, you could still use your old vet in a pinch.
    Now the dogwalker issue. Ask for references and follow up on at least some of them. Be sure to use the interview to watch how they approach and react with your dogs; go with the person to see how s/he handles the dog – just because someone has dog experience doesn't mean they'll understand the basenji -- do they understand basenjis are escape artists? do they understand basenjis can exercise their independence at the worst possible moment? do they understand basenjis and traffic don't mix? do they understand basenjis are natural hunters and will exercise that skill at the worst possible moment? do they understand basenjis don't like to be kept waiting on their walk while you're talking with a friend?

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    Thank you for all the good thoughts, everyone.

    Our divorce is bittersweet, but definitely for the best. The actual logistics are the trickiest bit.

    I think I'm gonna give potty pads a go, at least to start. I know Hippo can handle that sort of duration, but Saboo has little tolerance for being asked to hold it. We'll start with indoor potty pads and see how she takes to them (an attempt at litterbox training years ago ended disastrously!), and at the very least, it'll buy me time to find a dogwalker I like and trust to handle the girls appropriately.

    As for the vets- I've made some phone calls and asked around a bit. Fortunately, in addition to the two pooches, there's a cat as well- plenty of animals to go around in terms of "trying out" vets.

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    I thought I'd drop in and let everyone know that they were absolutely right: the dogs adjusted just fine (and I'm getting there too!).

    We've been in our new digs for a little over a month and the dogs have taken to it like nobody's business. Saboo runs around like she owns the place (which she does) and is about 75% on target with the potty pads. With some creative babygate use, I'm able to make sure that the other 25% winds up on linoleum… and well, she's a crotchety old lady basenji- I'll take what I can get. A plus side to our new place is that it's nearly un-doordashable- outside of the doors in my apartment is a vestibule with another door to the outside, and beyond that, there's a wrought iron fence all the way around the perimeter and keyed entry on the gates.

    I'm still slowly trying to find a dog walker I like and trust- less for midday walks, and more for unexpected glitches in my schedule. So far, I've been able to manage with a friend's help.

    She seems pretty content, though her now goal in life is to kill and eat a pigeon (or twelve). Thus far, she's only come away with a mouthful of feathers (and she managed that while on leash!).

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    I'm pleased to hear that you've all settled well. Gbala says "keep up with the pigeons, Saboo - I haven't quite managed it yet either - just waiting for one of them not to fly too high."

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  • Glad things are going so much better than you thought! Um, but can I borrow her to help with my mourning dove issue?

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