We have had Ella for almost 6 months and she is just under one-year old. She is a sweet girl but she has not been easy. She was poorly socialized and it has taken her 3-4 months just to get somewhat comfortable. She has finally bonded to us but she is quite shy around most everybody else. We had a short trip planned and could not consider leaving her with somebody else yet. So we headed off with some trepidation on our first Basenji road trip.
We drove from Colorado to Arizona, splitting the drive into parts of two days. Ella spent a total of almost 24 hours in the car on both ends of the journey. Previously, on our shorter drives around town she has gotten car sick and rarely settles down in the car. Although she did get car sick about an hour out of town, for the rest of the trip she settled down into her bed almost immediately each day and was never sick again. We restricted her food before and during the trip anyway. We expected her to get car sick and had everything in plastic bins and had a clean-up kit handy. At every stop we made she did her business in a timely fashion. As a first-time traveler with a dog it felt nice to take extra breaks and walks and know that we were not going to make "record time". At the (pet-friendly) hotel she did her usual Basenji inspection of every square inch of the room and then promptly hopped on the bed and settled in for a peaceful night–her first away from home. The next morning we found a fine walking path just outside the hotel and took a nice walk in the cool desert air before hitting the road.
After about 8 hours in the car, of which 7.5 hours were spent sleeping, we ended up at our destination. We were staying with my mother and her one-year old male Shih-tzu Max. This was another first. Ella was going to spend 3 days in close proximity to another dog. She loves other dogs so we were not worried, but we did not know how the Shih-Tzu would react. They ended up being play pals. Ella is usually the dog that is a pest that will not let another alone. In this case, Ella patiently sat through Max's inquisitions over and over again. They played for hours together.
Another first on this trip was our first visit to a fenced dog park. We live in a small town and there is no dog park. We do not have a fenced backyard so Ella has not had many opportunities to run free. It was great to see her running and to interact with other dogs. She is not a dominant-type personality but she is not a doormat or a wallflower either. And it was nice to observe that although she was free to run, she would keep checking back with us every few minutes.
We had a grill-out and there is a pool in the backyard. The yard is not large so there are areas were there is only a couple of feet to walk around the edge of the pool. We had talked about whether we needed to worry about the dogs ending up in the pool. My mother kept the Shih-tzu leashed. We were sure Ella would stay as far away from the pool as possible. Our agile, graceful deer-like beast slipped and fell into the pool by accident. I saw it happen out of the corner of my eye. After a moment of panic she dog paddled to the edge of the pool where my wife scooped her out so she did not have to struggle getting out. A quick dry off with a towel and she was no worse for the wear.
Also, we met another Basenji as we were walking back from a sidewalk cafe. Our first accidental meeting with another Basenji. The other Basenji owner seemed quite blase, but we were excited.
On the drive home we were eating breakfast outside (so we could have Ella with us) and we met several people that wanted to come and meet her. Your gonna meet people when you have a Basenji attached to you. I now see that if you want to go through life unnoticed then you probably should not own a Basenji.
Whatever our expectations were of this first trip with Ella, they were exceeded. I think we timed it just right. I don't think she would have been ready for all that new stuff a couple of months ago. It was really a bonding experience for all of us and I think she really enjoyed it.