Hi from Massachusetts with elderly Basenjis

  • I have been lurking for a couple of weeks now. Boy, I wish that this forum was around back in 1996. Many trials, swears, tests, and much laughter later, I think that I can say that I have experienced life with basenjis. I have 2 Bs, 16y/o tri female and 15y/o r/w male, brother and sister 1 litter apart. Rory, the female, is a little angel. She would NEVER dream of putting her paws on the counter, steal food, tear up a stuffed toy, chew up the furniture, or do anything that is unlady like. I thought that she was typical, (ha ha ha), as we all know, she is not. So I figured that since 1 was great 2 would be spectacular. We got Tim, our male. My husband has many nicknames for him, one man gang, furry wreaking ball, Tim the tornado, clown, and wild man. He is the mischief maker, often commandeering his sister into his antics. I say he is a 15y/o going on 2y/o with ADD and ADHD. Even at his age, he is still active and always looking for something to get into. Whenever my husband is at the computer and leaves the chair, Tim is in the chair looking at the computer desk searching for anything that my husband might have been left behind. I joined the forum because our Rory is having many health issues due to her age. Also, in need of opinions regarding when is it time to let them go to the Rainbow Bridge.

  • Welcome to the forum! Been through all of the above with 4 Basenjis. What's going on right now with their health? Sounds like Tim is doing pretty good at 15. Have you had their full blood panels done? Also the thyroid can be a problem too. You'll know when it's time to let them go when they cannot function, eat, etc.

  • Welcome…

    ...your pair sounds precious.

    You have come to the right place. We would love to see some pictures of your two elders.

  • Many of us here have experience with elderly Bs. I had a BRAT foster last year who lived until just shy of her 17th birthday.


  • Tim is much healthier than Rory, although he had a bout with pancreatitis this summer. Rory on the other hand has chronic bronchitis, elevated blood pressure, and kidney disease (from old age). She had full panel blood work done when she was at Tufts animal hospital. They told us that she also had something neurological going on. She is now on a low dose of an anti seizure medication. I give her iv solution daily. We found a growth on her upper gum last week. Took her to the vet who is sending us to a surgical dental specialist next week. We will see what the specialist has to say about the growth before we decide anything.

  • Welcome to the forum you are obviously completely Basenjid.

  • I think the animal tells you when it isn't worth carrying on. At least that has been my experience so far, with 4 dogs, 2 cats and 2 horses. Of course, sometimes it is obvious that the time has come, but quality of life is pretty subjective. A very wise friend once told me she would rather wonder if she made the decision too soon than know she made it too late…..

  • Welcome. It sounds like you have been on top of her issues and are keeping her comfortable. We have had one basenji make it to almost 19 and 2 to 17; also lost many much younger. We have waited too long to help them along more than once and felt terrible about it. After a good long life, it becomes all about quality, decent appetite, some interest in surroundings, lack of pain. It is never an easy decision, hugs.

  • I believe you will know when it is time and they will tell you

  • Thank you all for your knowledgeable advice. We had to put Rory down yesterday. She died in my arms. And I have a hole in my heart that you could drive a Buick through. We have Tim who has been looking for his sister. He has NEVER been alone. His sister has always been with him. He can not be left alone, not just because he will destroy anything and everything, but he howls loudly and until someone comes and rescues him. We didn't find out that he howled until recently. My question: How soon should we get a companion dog for him? How long should we wait for us to mourn her passing? I should also note that Tim believes that I gave birth to him and can be possessive, but his sister would put him in his place. I would appreciate any advice on this matter. Thanks.

  • My sympathy on your huge loss. there is no ideal time for another basenji. some people wait a long time, others get one within days. If you are looking for a rescue, the right one may fall into your family in 'their' time, not yours. I'm sure your boy is beside himself, losing his sis. He may actually accept another dog for the companionship.

  • Thank You Anne. Your advice could not be sounder. I think that we are planning on getting a rescue. And like you said, sometimes their time schedule is different than what we think ours ought to be. It will happen when it is meant to.

  • I am so sorry. And yes, a whole shaped like Rory will stay in your heart. The only good thing is that as you love more, the percentage taken up by that whole decreases as your heart grows bigger.

    Like your "one man gang, furry wreaking ball, Tim the tornado, clown, and wild man" Arwen missed dog companionship. We lost Sayblee to cancer and she tried hard to make the chow-coyote take her place. Much to the disdain of the Chow who let her lay next to her with a look of both horror and disgust. The we lost her to cancer and we knew our aging Rottie would not be long behind her. So we got Cara. I had to have a young dog because of Arwen's termperament and while a male would have been a safer bet, I wanted another female.

    You might consider what he gets along with, his health and energy. If YOU want another long term commitment, getting a puppy and making sure the humans take the brunt of the exercise/play so it doesn't bother/stress Tim. Breeders have upcoming litters and I believe BRAT has 5 young puppies you could apply for.

    If you are comfortable with an older dog with more similar energy levels, either rescue or breeders may have dogs ranging from 2 yrs up that need a home.

    But the decision for a new dog needs to be based on the humans more than Tim. Tim may only be here a few more yrs, but unless you get a senior dog, you got a long run ahead. So the answer is, it is time to get another dog when YOU are ready. You can comfort Tim by lavishing more attention, walks, training, play and even grooming time. He'll adjust til/when you are ready.

  • I don't think that we will ever be without Bs in our life. I was NEVER an animal person. I got Rory for my husband, but she bonded with me. I even quit smoking for her, not the husband, but the dog and that was 16 years ago! We have no children and these are our fur kids. I don't know that I want to go through puppy hood again. I don't think that Tim would do well with the extra attention that a puppy requires. I would love to get another senior because I know that often they are harder to find forever homes, but, then in a few years are we back here again with other health issues. We would rather haven a lifetime commitment, however long that may be. I guess that we are open to welcome a 'new' fur kid into our hearts. I think that like Anne said in her post, it will happen when it is meant to. I think that a lot will depend on Tim and how he interacts with the 'new' candidate.

  • I'm so sorry to hear about Rory's passing. We always wish they could be with us a little longer.
    And yes, when its time, it'll happen.

  • I am sorry to read about Rory. Since your other dog is also elderly, I would only recommend an older dog or one that would not be overly playful.


  • I'm very sorry to hear of your loss. I hope you find the right fit both for you and for Tim. Since he has never been alone, it may seem urgent to get him a companion soon. However, once a little time has passed, he may even enjoy not having to share your attention. As far as the age range to consider, I don't think that is written in stone. I have seen successful puppy/older dog pairing, so I wouldn't rule that out, but a suitable older female might be the most likely to fit in. I hope you find the perfect match.

  • I'm sorry to hear that Rory has died. My sympathies are with you. I was in a similar position when Jewel's brotyher died as they were always an inseparable pair. I tpoo would encourage you to wait for another dog despite Tim's anguish. I'm sure you'll find ways to help him over his loss until his next compoanion arrives..

  • My sincere condolences for Rory's passing. I understand the huge hole in your heart - our fur babies are so precious to us, and it is so hard to say our final goodbye to them. May you remember all the love that Rory gave to you, and that you gave as well. As for the 'when' or 'what', things will fall into place as they are meant to. Hugs to you all.

  • Thank you everyone for understanding what I am feeling and going through. I want to get an older companion for Tim. But other half is afraid of having this hurt all over again and too soon for his liking. I want what is best for Tim. Caught him today up on the breakfast nook chair looking for something to get into. He found my meringues. He didn't eat them, just basenji-fied the container to let me know his displeasure at being left alone. I can only hope that one falls into place soon.

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