Hello from CraigH and Alex

I became a Basenji owner (or vice versa) when we adopted Cassi from the DFW Basenji rescue organization back in 1992. She had been dropped of at the pound as a puppy due to a cleft palate. A year later, we bought Alex from a breeder (10 week old puppy) as a companion.

We recently had to put Cassi (almost 16 years old) down due to deteriorating health. Alex hasn't handled it very well (loss of appetite and constant baroooing) so I thought I'd try and find some solace from other Basenji owners. So, here I am.

attachment_t_2579_0_cassi-2004.jpg
attachment_t_2579_1_cassi-alex-2007.jpg
attachment_t_2579_2_alex-2007.jpg

Very sweet photos! So sorry to hear of the loss of Cassi, but how lucky for you that she lived such a long time with you!

Welcome to the forum!

I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sure it must be heartbreaking. And poor little Alex. 😞 When the time is right, you could consider another doggie. They know how to heal the pain no medicine can fix. :p

Aw, what sweeties!

So, did Cassi have to have corrective surgery for the cleft palate?

@Quercus:

Aw, what sweeties!
So, did Cassi have to have corrective surgery for the cleft palate?

She had somewhere in the neighborhood of around 10-15 corrective surgeries, then had to be put under every 6 months or so to "clean it out". The palate was never completely closed, but was improved. A dental specialist in Dallas did most of the surgeries and only charged us time/materials.

She learned to live with it for the most part. Soft food was a must (hard food got up in the palate when she tried to chew it. She pretty much gulped soft food down whole, and drank water like a bird. She'd get a mouthful, then tilt her head back to swallow it.

She lived a good long life - I never expected her to live more than 5-6 years with the defect. Here's a shot of her trying to catch a squirrell at age 12.

attachment_p_28736_0_cassi-vs-squirrel-800x600.jpg

Great pic! Fascinating about the surgery. I have never actually met anyone that attempted the corrective surgery. But I have heard of a few Basenji puppies born with cleft palate.

Good for you that you could save her, and had her in your life for so many years.

Welcome to the forum!

Welcome and what a lovely story about Cassi. I am sorry for your loss and that Alex isn't taking it so well. This site is great for support, information and laughs!

Sorry to hear about Cassi and hope Alex works through the grief. What a cute looking puppy! Welcome to the forum too!

@Craigh:

She lived a good long life - I never expected her to live more than 5-6 years with the defect. Here's a shot of her trying to catch a squirrell at age 12.

A friend of ours just lost their Australian Cattledog at 15 years old, she also had a cleft palate. I don't think she had as many surgeries as your girl but she did have a special mouth piece made for her so food and water could not go through the hole.

Sorry about Cassie, but it is great she lived that long with a mouth defect. It is amazing that she did fine with it. These dogs are just great animals, and I am sure Alex feels lonely. Are you going to get him another playmate? I sure hope he feels better soon.

@lvoss:

A friend of ours just lost their Australian Cattledog at 15 years old, she also had a cleft palate. I don't think she had as many surgeries as your girl but she did have a special mouth piece made for her so food and water could not go through the hole.

The specialist made her a plate, but she rejected it and it had to be removed the next day. The thing that did her the most good was removing 4 of her upper molars, and using the gum tissue to close part of the cleft. She had to swallow most of her food whole anyways, so the loss fo the molars didn't impact her much. She could still inflict plenty of damage with the rest of her teeth though. 😉

@youngandtired:

Are you going to get him another playmate? I sure hope he feels better soon.

I've thougth long an hard about it, but am leaning towards not getting another dog at the moment. Alex is a pretty tired old guy, and I'm afraid anything other than another very senior Basenji might just be too much for him. Up until a year or so ago, he was VERY alpha and I'd be afraid he might want to fight another dog. Cassi was very very submissive, yet he still whipped up on her every once in awhile. I've been trying to console him by letting him stay inside when we're home. Most of the time now he just paces for an hour or so, then sleeps.

What sweet pictures. So sorry about Cassie. I lost my first basenji about 5-1/2 years ago when he was 15. I bet Alex would like a basenji friend when you're ready.

Welcome to the forum!

Looks like your connection to Basenji Forums was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.