A basenji finds his purpose
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  • When we got Kipawa, we always knew we would eventually do serious hospital therapy work with him. We just didn't think it would happen so soon.

    My husband is in the hospital right now. He is a quadriplegic (many of you know this). Last week he had a seizure, and since then, we have found out that he has pneumonia, which reduced his oxygen to his brain, thus causing the seizure. Kipawa is always with us, and because of this, I wanted to take him to the hospital to see his 'dad'. I put his little red therapy dog vest on him and hoped for the best in a very busy hospital.

    For lack of a better word, I am astounded. My silly little Kipawa on his own has become such a good will ambassador. I thought he would go for supper trays, chew bedsheets, pull me down hallways and generally 'be a basenji'. But there has been none of that. Does he know what the vest means? When I put the vest on him, there is a very evident transformation. It is incredible. It's almost as if he figured out it was time to grow up a little, and that he had serious work to do in the hospital. I cannot explain it.

    It is quite unbelievable watching him in a crammed full elevator sitting quietly while people ask about him. SO much joy in my heart as people smile at him! He loves being with children while they uncurl his tail (yikes!) or just sitting quietly with adults in the hospital while I talk to them. He lifts up everyone's spirits. People show us pictures of their dogs (on their cell phones) and for a little while the reasons they have for being in the hospital are gone. Their minds go to a different place where they feel themselves with their loved animals. I am blessed to be experiencing this with them.

    I DO know that this is the kind of dog you get when you find wonderful breeders. Therese and Kevin, you should be very proud of your breeding program. You made Kipawa used to strange noises, objects, children, office environments and so much more. Because of the care you take, you now have a boy who is bringing sunshine to those who might otherwise not be feeling it.

    I've taken some pictures and will post them when I download them from my camera. Right now I am craving a nice hot bath with Kipawa in the bathroom with me, snoring happily.

    Happy New Year to all of you. May you be blessed with good health, heartfelt happiness, and joy and wonders with your special basenjis. Because they ALL are special.

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  • What a heartwarming post! I hope your husband recovers soon, but the "silver lining" with Kipawa is a wonderful development.

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  • How wonderful :)

    That is the thing about dogs isn't it…they humble us!

    Watson like Kipawa likes to be the ambassador. We go to events and do the meet the breed thing. I do think they know when they are working.

    I hope your husband is on the mend.

    Happy New Years :D

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  • Fran that was a beautiful message. I hope your husband is doing well and will soon be home from the hospital.

    I too think that good breeding is essential for producing temprement and sound dogs. But I think you are underestimating yourself and what you have done to bring up this wonderful little dog. With your care and guidance you have brought up Kipawa and transformed him into this loving little character…..who you may see differently at home (sock stealing little monster) to a properly behaved dog at the hospital. Pat yourself on the back as well.

    Take care of yourself, your hubby and little Kipawa. Warm wishes to you and Happy New Years.

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    Lovely post, Fran!

    You forgot to mention that your little Kipawa's temperment is a testiment to how wonderful you are raising him!!! My bs bring me sunshine every day and I'm glad Kipawa can do it to people who need a little extra!!!!

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  • First Basenji's

    What a beautiful story and post! Speedy recovery for your husband, and Kipawa- keep up the good work!!! :) hugs and kisses!

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  • Fran, i hope your husband is better and out of hospital soon.
    Sounds like Kipawa is a great little therapy dog

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  • Life is full of surprises and this is a good one. I think Kipawa knows and senses what you need in this situation. I hope your husband heals quickly!

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  • Thanks for sharing! How wonderful to read such a touching event!

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  • So glad Darrel's issue has a cause and solution! I have been thinking of you, hoping for good news. Kipawa is a very special guy, bred well and raised well, and doing what he was meant to do!

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  • Thanks for checking in. Sounds like Darrel is on the mend.

    And I agree, it is amazing to see a silly basenji become a wonderful therapy dog. I have 3 who all have enjoyed doing visits. Z had a great visit at the Alzheimer's facility earlier this month. Curled up on someone's lap and I thought she was going to have a very long nap there. As it turned out this was a new patient who was having some difficulties adjusting.

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  • Fran I am so glad they found out what was going on with your husband so they can treat it and get him home again soon! Indeed, it seems Kipawa has found his calling.

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    Fran, I hope that your husband is on the mend and home again soon.

    Well done to Kipawa and you and of course to Therese and Kevin. I've always found that Basenjis do make ideal therapy dogs whether official ones or no. They always seem especially in tune with the mentally as well as the physically disabled.

    I find them particularly sensitive whentheir owners are ill.

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  • Oh Fran…this is so wonderful to hear about Kipawa but not so good for your husband. I hope he has since recovered from the pneumonia and that any and all complications have been resolved.

    Scarlett is proud to have such a strong, intelligent brother that is doing so much to promote how special B's are and not only in the "dog world" but "people world" as well. Sarah, Scarlett and I went down to Therese and Kevin's this past weekend to visit with them and the little ones. We have decided to bring a Basenji boy into the family and hope he is as wonderful as Kipawa!

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  • S

    Fran, glad your hubby is home by your side again. I think your b would pass the test for pet therapy quickly. You have done such a great job on
    training him. Then he can share his doggie joy with folk who are in pain and need a doggie snuggle.

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  • J

    I hope your husband is doing better! Very inspirational, thank you for sharing! Dexter is in therapy class right now, and sometimes it definitely is tough and feels a long ways away! But I know we will get there sooner or later and this post makes it feel more realistic!!

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  • @Walter:

    Sarah, Scarlett and I went down to Therese and Kevin's this past weekend to visit with them and the little ones. We have decided to bring a Basenji boy into the family and hope he is as wonderful as Kipawa!

    Hi Walter - yes, Darrel is back home and is doing very well. Thank you for mentioning him. So… bringing a basenji boy into the family. Does this mean that you are thinking of breeding in the future? Truly, any basenji coming from Kevin and Therese is going to be wonderful, as you would know with having Kipawa's sister Scarlett. I haven't seen pictures of Scarlett in a very long time, so would love it if you would post some! Glad to see you are still reading the forum. :)

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  • For all those who were thinking good thoughts while Darrel was in the hospital, I really thank you. I believe this kind of energy really makes a difference. Darrel left the hospital with a clear chest x-ray (other than some minor scarring). He is getting progressively healthier each day. The seizure did affect a part of his brain that is responsible for memory and hearing…. yeah, that is why he never listens to me. :) We were told that eventually his memory should pretty well get back to normal, but to not put a time frame on it. As far as memory loss goes, they say it is very mild, so we are extremely happy about that.

    Animals are so in tune with us. Kipawa jumps up on Darrel (in his wheelchair) so many times a day to do a 'check' on how his daddy is doing. It's far more frequent than before, which leads me to believe that Kipawa and probably the basenjis/other dogs that all of you own, are so very in touch with how we are feeling. I can't think of a better word for it than 'beautiful'.

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  • Fran, i'm pleased to hear Darrel is home and doing well

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  • It is so nice to hear that he is at home and doing well. It's also great that Kipawa is keeping an eye on his Daddy. They are so in tune with their people it is unbelieveable. When I came home after my knee surgery, I got into my chair and Tucker jumped up so gingerly on the chair, making sure to avoid my knee. Then he laid on my chest and licked my whole face! He was trying to make his mommy feel better! that or the anesthetic tasted really good coming out of my skin!

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  • @Kipawa:

    Does this mean that you are thinking of breeding in the future?

    Hi Fran! "Apollo", as we are possibly going to use as his call name…will be a show dog. Me and Sarah will not be the ones showing him at this time, Therese is going to do it for us. We haven't yet worked out all the details but he will be allowed to continue in Kevin and Therese's breeding program. Basenjis are very special to us and we are excited to be a bigger part of Kevin and Therese's "family".

    Unfortunately at this point we are still waiting to find out which boy it will be...has to be a good fit all-around. There has been talk of possibly getting one of the "men in black" boys Therese will be getting from Lisa in CA. The waiting is so hard!

    I hope everyday reveals improvement for Darrel. Give Kipawa a huge B hug from us.

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