mBiF, group winning, AKC Dual Ch (FC, Ch) Idlewild-Jerlin's Digital RN, SC, MX, MXJ, OAP, AJP, EAC, EJC, OGC, AD, ASFA FCh, TDIAOV, MVB, 2002/2007 #1 agility basenji (AKC rankings)
It is with a heavy heart that I want to tell you about Digital's passing. I really cannot help but to feel lucky and blessed that I got to have such a wonderful dog for almost 16 years. I picked him up on Halloween weekend at 10 months old and he was to be my first show dog. I had "big" plans for him to be a conformation champion and a therapy dog. What he gave me was so much more. He excelled at everything I asked of him - conformation, coursing, agility, rally and therapy work. Coursing was easy for him, mainly, I think, because there was so little training for the human end of the leash. Four runs and he had his AKC Field Championship, 3 BoB's and 2 Best in Fields. I'll never forget the weekend in Wichita where he went BiF for 5 points one day and Best of Winners for 5 points the next. Yea, he was that kind of dog. I should add that he was always (very novice) owner handled. He was awarded quite a few BoB's and even managed to get a group 1.
In agility, he was in the top 3 basenjis for 7 (or more?) years. He always kept me on my toes. I wish I knew then what I know now about training. I'm far from perfect, but even so, you always feel kind of sorry for your learner dog. And agility training has advanced so much in the last 16 years. I doubt there are more than a few dogs around from his era, but I think they still live on in our memories and hearts.
And as a therapy dog, he was wonderful. He was a gentle, quiet dog that enjoyed meeting all sorts of people. He delighted residents with his yodel. "Make him talk" they'd say. And I would. And he did!
I was hoping he'd make it to his 17th birthday, but I am grateful for the time I did have. I stopped counting titles at #30, but I know he achieved some more after that. And all with a novice owner. Yea, he was that kind of dog, er basenji. I doubt I'll ever be fortunate enough to have such a wonderful amazing dog again, but he has left a legacy of friends (both human and canines) and passions that will always be with me.
Love your pups tonight, because even if you're lucky enough to have them for 16 or more years, it's gone in the blink of an eye.