First, let me say I'm not a pro rescuer, or anything close to it. I respect anyone who is able to devote the kind of time and patience it takes to rehabilitate dogs in need. Now, on to the stories:
I drive truck for a living and always thought it was cruel to take a dog on a truck. (Now I eat my words.) But anyway, I was teaming with a guy whose ex-wife had too many dogs and the city was coming down on her. AJ was the eldest in the pack, but is neutered, so can't show. (I think it's ridiculous, but that's a political thing with AKC that I won't get into.) He was fighting with the show dogs to maintain his place in the pack and seemed to be the center of trouble in the house, so she was talking about having AJ put down for all the fighting.
Since my grandmother used to raise Basenji, I understand the breed and didn't have the heart to let him be put down. I gave him a shot at being a truck dog. He is one of the most affectionate dogs I've ever known and became my little Velcro buddy. When I went back to solo driving, AJ came with me.
I changed companies and had to leave him with some friends for about a week. While I was away, my friends told me he laid around being bummed out the whole time. He would play, but only half-heartedly for a short period then go lay down and pout. When I walked into the house to get him, he jumped all over both couches, singing his heart out, wagging his tail and just beside himself. That really makes a person feel good, eh? I took him out to the new truck and he tried to climb in himself to check it out. He basically told me the road is his home, now, and it's what makes him happy. So, here we are, trucking the USA and I'm eating my words.
The same previous owner of AJ was still having trouble with the city and had some knuckleheads move in next door to her who let their dogs tease hers. She had been trying to find a home for Melody because of this and was getting nowhere. I found out about it and called my grandmother, who had a Basenji kennel in Nonpareil, Mehama and Lyons Oregon over a period of nearly 50 years. She had lost her last Basenji three years previous to my phone call.
I asked whether she would like to have another Basenji. Her first question was, "Aren't you getting along with yours???" I told her of course I'm getting along with him. This is a different dog. She immediately agreed to take Melody without any information at all. Then I described Mel to her (red and white female, three yrs old, history of fear biting) and she still (very excitedly) agreed to take Melody and told me that red and white females were always her favorite. When I picked Melody up from the previous owner, the owner was in tears to let her go, but relinquished her to me. Melody joined AJ on the truck and off we went to Oregon.
When we pulled up in my grandmother's yard (no easy feat, even bob-tail) she heard the diesel engine and came running out as fast as she could. She came around the corner, saw two beautiful, perfect Basenji and lit up like Manhattan on New Year's. She has never had a problem with Melody biting or even wrinkling her mouth or growling at anyone. Melody sits with her watching TV, helps her feed the parrots, gets along with the cats and washes the elderly golden retriever's face.
This will probably be my grandmother's last dog. She is in her 90's now. I think it is only appropriate it will be a Basenji.