A Basenji, a Volcano & a Clown Car

A Basenji
After we lost our Jengo I began toying with the idea of rescuing another Basenji. I wasn't convinced I was ready, but I miss him, missed having a dog and wanted to just see what might be available. Kinda dip my toe in. I spoke with Karen at MedFly and she said she was winding things down, but that she hadn't had a call for rescue for quite some time. I started checking in with several other rescue sites regularly, but not much there either. This was bit concerning. Would there be one once I was ready? Maybe not. This drove me to reach out to a few breeders. Initially I didn't get any response despite more than one inquiry. But, eventually a few others either responded or gave me a referral. I began trading emails with one particular breeder. I won't mention the name until I have permission. Coordinating a time to meet took some time. I was really hoping to work with this breeder, so I decided to wait. Plus, articulating what I was looking for was awkward. I didn't know. A puppy, a mature dog, or a dog needing to retire? Yes, yes, and yes. Male or female? Yes, that would be nice. Chestnut, Tri, Brindle, or black? Sure, I'd take one of those. I'd heard that breeders had lengthy reservation lists, so I was prepared to wait a year or two, and I was in no position to make any demands. Was just looking for a nose. I did make a few other contacts as backup, but was honest with them that I was speaking with this particular breeder and wanted to see where those discussions might lead before moving forward with them.

Well, after several more weeks, emails, and waiting; the stars finally aligned and we were invited to meet the breeder and the Basenjis. We drove down last Friday and were able to visit with the breeder Saturday, Sunday, Monday and again on Tuesday. We got to know one another and all the dogs!

A Volcano
Several years ago my wife, son and I visited the Big Island in Hawaii. One of the things my son and I wanted to do was see real lava. We drove to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and found our way to the Jagger Museum at the edge of the Kilauea Caldera. Way off in the distance, about 6 to 10 miles away, in the far back left corner of the caldera was a pit. We could occasionally make out a bit of boiling lava as the steam cleared every few minutes. A binocular really made it easier to see. It was still breath taking, but my son said "Dad, I can't really see the lava that good. Is this as close as we can get?" Didn't need to ask me twice. I was thinking the same thing. I asked the Rangers if there was anything happening elsewhere on the island where we might be able to get a bit closer and was informed that we needed to go to the Leilani Estates area along highway 137. We headed there, got parked, and walked to the observation area. We could catch glimpses of lava oozing through the trees about a quarter mile away. It was about dusk, so the red aura lighting up the sky above the lava field was impressive. But, once again my son said "Dad, I can't really see the lava that good. Is this as close as we can get?" Didn't need to ask me twice. We'd passed a few popup canopies between the parking and observation areas. They were offering close up lava tours on private land. So, we walked back there and asked how close to the lava we might be able to get. They assured us that it would be close. Really close. Okay. When our group was called up we followed the guide to a property about a quarter mile up a side road. Once there we were given some history, science and rules. Then we were led to a split rail fence at the back of the property where we were told to grab a stick. I asked, "Do we need a stick if we feel comfortable hiking the lava field without one? The guide responded, "No, but what are you going to poke the lava with, your finger?" 😱 We all grabbed one and were led across the lava field to an active area with flowing steaming lava where we began probing it with the sticks. There we were standing in what had become the blackness of night, the lava lighting our way and 360 degrees all around us were dark clouds occasionally erupting in lightening strikes. This was the most primordial thing I'd ever done. So, by now you're asking yourself, "Great story, Monkey, but what the heck does this possibly have to with a dog gone Basenji?" Hang on, gimme a minute, I'm gettin' there. In life, there are things that make an indelible impression on us. Things we look back on like it was yesterday and say to ourselves, "I am SO fortunate to have experienced that."

A Clown Car
Getting to the breeder's house was one of those indelible moments... that will live in my mind forever. We pulled up on the driveway and called. We were met and invited through a gate into a side yard where we encountered another gate. I could hear all kinds of Basenji noises coming from behind the gate. My excitement and eyes grew in anticipation. Now this next part is no big deal for breeders cause you've seen this everyday for decades, but for me... I've never seen this. Always wanted to and this was finally... my moment. The gate was opened and all of the sudden here comes a pack of yacking Basenjis climbing over top of one another and spilling through the gate like a parade of clowns exiting a Volkswagen. It was adorable and hilarious at the same time. There were a few standing on their hind legs with necks and noses outstretched as if to ask, "Do I know you?" It was glorious! We'd parked the RV at a park not far, so it was easy to visit while we were there. Each of the next four days we were met with the same basenji clown car gag. It never gets old. We were treated with oodles of affection, a bit of trepidation, lots of excitement and a dash of puppy breath. This story isn't over yet. It's another adventure that will unfold over time and it's fun not knowing where this trail will lead. I'm pretty confident that we're going to be able to become monkeys for another Basenji at some point. This was truly THE best weekend 2020 has offered me this year.

last edited by JENGOSMonkey

You are a really fun read.

💖💖💖 you will find the right one. And it will right one for your family. There will always be a shape cut out of the heart of ones that we loved. And t
k

last edited by DebraDownSouth

@jengosmonkey
Your posts are engaging and entertaining! I think Jengo will have his PAW 🐾 involved in the selection of your new basenji. ❤

So I've gotten permission to mention the breeder and post pictures of our Basenji weekend. Her name is Stella Scapios, but I forgot to ask her kennel name. She was an incredibly generous host, but more importantly... the more time we spent with her, the more we got to know her, the more we really like her. I wish she lived closer to us. I'd love to spend more time with her. Stella is passionate about Basenjis.

She's been a breeder for more that 35 years if I'm remembering correctly. She's fiercely proud of her pack as she should be. They were a pack of beautiful girls, one handsome boy and a couple of pups. It was fun getting to know Zayna, Ziggy, Logan, Sparkle, Mazy and the two pups: one male and one female. They ranged in age from 6 years to 6 weeks. All had distinct personalities including the pups. I really enjoyed sitting on the ground and having several Basenjis climbing on me, rubbing on me and demanding pets from me all at the same time. Holding a pup up to my nose and having him bite it like it was his last meal; loved it. Oh, and I forgot to mention Biz. Biz is a big Rhodesian Ridgeback... because who doesn't need one of those? Biz got lots of pets and attention too.

We learned a lot about Basenjis from Stella. She didn't say this at all, so I don't want anyone thinking I'm throwing her under the bus. I think based on current judging standards Jengo was too tall, too big, legs too long, ears too big, chest too wide, nose too pointy, head not wide enough, and his tail came out of the wrong dang spot. It's a good thing I'm not a breeder though because to me... he was perfect and I'd breed so every single one looked just like him. I never knew that if you nueter a dog too early that their legs can grow unusually long. Serious and passionate breeders really do have a lot to pay attention to. And it takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to create a Champion line. I tip my hat to all the ethical serious passionate breeders. A sincere... thank you.

All of Stella's girls are coming into season. Logan is going nuts and will no doubt be in the way. His momma is Zayna, so as a human monkey I'm thinkin' that's not gonna work. I don't know anything about Basenji breeding. Nothing. Anyway, Stella mentioned that she might be moving Logan off site for a bit till breeding and season's were ended. We offered to take him and return him once breeding season was over. She said ok.

Logan is an almost 2 year old Champion male. I'm thinking that is a pretty big deal. To me he's a Ferrari dog. We get to borrow a Ferrari dog! He's a love bug too. @DonC He's crate trained and rode home with no issues whatsoever. Yes, crate training is a really cool thing. It's really fun having a Basenji back in the house. My son has responded really well to Logan. I can't thank Stella enough for trusting us to care for Logan, and for affording us the opportunity to experience what another dog might feel like. So many emotions. Logan and I have bonded well. But, I think I would have bonded with any of Stella's dogs.

Cause you all wanna see puppies... Ferocious needle dagger growing destroyers of all your best stuff.
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This is Zayna and Ziggy behind her. Zayna is the Grand Dam. A gorgeous Tri and Logan's momma. I didn't get a better picture of Ziggy, which I now regret.
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Boy puppy... cause... we need more puppy pictures!
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Pretty sure this is Sparkle. She's almost 2 and the absolute sweetest most people friendly Basenji I've ever met. As a pet person she's exactly the kind of temperament I want. I have dibs on her when she retires. I just love how much all of Stella's pups love people.
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This is the girl pup. It was hard to get a good picture because she was always attached to my shoe. I cleaned my shoes before each visit really good before we arrived and again when I got out of the car. Her puppy breath was priceless.
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Pretty sure this is Maizie, a perfect little 10 month old in your face bratty adolescent. She was in everyone's business as she should be. Thank goodness she didn't have a cell phone.
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Rated R - A Basenji eating a monkey
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Stella has the best life. Look at that. How is that not the coolest thing?
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And finally, Logan. Our borrowed Ferrari dog back at our house having an adventure while separated from his girl pack. We're keeping him busy while adhering to a strict show dog diet... well... mostly.
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last edited by JENGOSMonkey

I'm don't think Logan is going to end up being a "loaner"...

Wonderful story and well written. So glad you and Cherie are now in our lives. And thanks again for taking Logan and keeping him safe.

After a few years in the Basenji community, I finally had the opportunity to meet Stella (of Astarte Basenjis) at last July's Puppy Match at the legendary Carol Webb's house. Stella breeds champions and cares very deeply about the breed and her vocation.
https://www.basenji.org/BasenjiU/Breeder/DogBreeding/Interviews/MB_Astarte-Basenjis_January-February-2012.pdf
You've struck gold, Monkey!!!! 😆

last edited by helle devi

@astarte
Stella,
Your Basenjis are gorgeous! Welcome to the forum.🐾🐕

I couldn't think of a better temporary or permanent home for a Basenji than your home. Quite wonderful really.

Love those puppies with fat bellies. They look super healthy. We get posts here from people saying their puppy weighs 8 pounds at four months and I can't help but think there is some issue. Not for these little guys. So cute.

Sparkle looks like a doll. With respect to temperament, I wish more breeders would care about that. They all say they do but they rarely seem to. The problem is that it's impossible to judge in a show setting -- which is like speed dating. If you want a champion it's about a number of things but not really temperament.

@helle-devi Thank you for your kind words. I do try to breed for conformation quality, but certainly for temperament too.

A few observations about Logan's temperament... I've noticed Logan is very well mannered. He seems to always look for permission. He won't enter the house until I do so first. He always looks to me before entering a room as if to ask "Is it ok?" Maybe from being with his Momma for two years?

I find him really easy to walk too. Easy to correct the direction we're going without a big fuss on his part. And, he's figured out where the house is that he's staying. He can lead us right there. Smart little guy. And, he's a talker. While I haven't heard a baroo yet he definitely let's us know that he's all in for a meal or a walk. 😁

@donc - I disagree DonC, there are many many responsible breeders, however that said people need to "vet" breeders as they do in buying a car or a home. Difference is this is a living breathing animal that will be in your family for 15+ years. Responsible breeders breed to improve the breed... and health/temperament are at the top of that list. Reason that responsible breeders "interview" potential homes and learn about their lifestyle. And we differ in opinions about a show setting, if a dog has a poor temperament it will show immediately in the show ring or in a performance event like lure coursing. And it is MOST certainly about temperament for a show champion. Many of these Basenjis are then used for breeding, however responsible breeders DO NOT BREED FOR THE MONEY... in raising a litter it is very rarely that you can make a profit, we are lucky to break even. It is the "for profit" people that only care about the money. They do not health test or very limited if at all, they do not raise their litters in the home... they do not socialize pups, they do not take responsibility for the pups they breed. Most all responsible breeders place the pup that fits the home/family, they have contracts that state that the pup is to be returned to the breeder regardless of the reason for its life. Granted there are far too many non-responsible breeders that have websites, sell on line, ship to whoever and where ever.... And for sure, Astarte is one of the best responsible breeders. Our last litter was sire by a dog that she bred, Astarte's Sir Tristan With Pips At Kazor that Carol Webb has (Kazor) who is a Grand Champion and a dog with a wonderful temperament... we had lovely pups and placed in wonderful pet homes and in show homes. And two of these girls will make their debut at the shows in Reno the end of the month... should be fun to watch!

last edited by tanza

Wishing you good luck in Reno with your girls. I won't be going but Jay Webb will be there with another Tristan puppy. I already feel like a winner. And I agree with all your comments on temperament....at the top of the list for sure. We have come a long way to not continue.

@jengosmonkey I teach all my dogs not to rush gates or doors. Very important for any dog. Too many die from being hit by cars.

@tanza
@Astarte
Here are a couple pictures of the renowned Tristan, as a young boy in June 2019, sitting pretty on Jay Webb's lap. Tristan was such a delight to meet, and so even-keeled even at that young age!!
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@astarte I did a quick check to make sure there was a picture of Tristan in the database - there is but I'm sure there is a more up-to-date one lying around someone could send me ?

'Tis but the work of a few seconds to update a photo, once the program is aware one exists.

I have several I can send you of him stacked. Should I send it to your email address?

@astarte
OH MY! Tristan is so sweet! What a HANDSOME young man! 🐾🐕

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