How to Evaluate a Basenji Rescue

I think this would make a good topic for discussion.

When you as a rescue worker go to evaluate a Basenji that is being considered for Rescue, what steps do you follow?

What do you look for when evaluating the dog?

What disqualifies a dog that is being considered for Rescue?

Thanks
Jason

BRAT has an evaluation list but the primary thing is to determine that the dog is not aggressive to people. We frequently accept basenjis whose owners say they bite after determining that the bites were situational. We rarely decline one but recently advised an owner to have her dog PTS. He was such an aggressive biter he would chase family members and bite them when they invaded what he perceived to be his space. Unprovoked biting, or unpredictable aggression are very difficult to manage. Most rescuers, like me, need both hands and all 10 fingers to do the paying job!

Most BRAT rescues are moved to foster homes so we can determine more specifically what type of home will best suit their needs.

The BRAT evaluation tool is very useful, finding out the "real story" is very important, as Liz said. And just good dog-sense helps too.
One of the first dogs we evaluated was older (12), not a house dog, brother had recently died and owners had to move across country to an apartment. We did all the tests and he seemed good, he was a little edgy when we took him to a park to meet other dogs, we thought maybe his vision was not good as he startled easily. The second person that helped get him across country realized he was deaf! Neither the owners or us or several other people picked up on it…that is why he startled when a dog came up beside him! He lived out his life as a house/lap dog with wonderful people in California.

So advanced age, not housetrained and deaf did not disqualify him!

Houston

I think the foster environment is a crucial step in a rescued dogs road to the right family. It gives the dog a chance to settle down from what many times proves to be a very stressful upbringing or previous home and it gives the fosters a chance to evaluate the dog in a home environment as supposed to in a kennel or cage, no dog, no matter what breed, will show their true colors in a caged up area, it is just too traumatic.

One of my fosters in the past had a pretty big issue with men in her previous foster set up, we only got her, to see if she did well with children, since I have a 4 yr old and a 9yr.old.
As soon as we got her, we invited friends over to come and be around her, female, male and kids. We focused mainly on men after all, being taht I have young kids, plenty of different kids streamed in and out of our doors, enough of them for her to show absolutely no fear or anger what so ever.
My hubby is a retired highschool/college football player, so a lot of his friends are huge..they all came over, one at a time and she pretty quickly on her own came up to say hi and even let them touch her..her fear wasn't for men come to find out, but maybe the other b's in that previous foster home or maybe something else.

She ended up getting adopted by this lovely couple out of Dallas, he is a retiree, staying home all day..and she is now his best of friend, I never would've known when I first met her..fosteingher an devaluating her in a calm and happy environment, meant that she found her forever home..
Being a foster for BRAT is an awesome way to not only help an organization, it also helps the potential adopter, but most importantly it helps the dog…

@Basenjimamma:

I think the foster environment is a crucial step in a rescued dogs road to the right family. It gives the dog a chance to settle down from what many times proves to be a very stressful upbringing or previous home and it gives the fosters a chance to evaluate the dog in a home environment as supposed to in a kennel or cage, no dog, no matter what breed, will show their true colors in a caged up area, it is just too traumatic.

One of my fosters in the past had a pretty big issue with men in her previous foster set up, we only got her, to see if she did well with children, since I have a 4 yr old and a 9yr.old.
As soon as we got her, we invited friends over to come and be around her, female, male and kids. We focused mainly on men after all, being taht I have young kids, plenty of different kids streamed in and out of our doors, enough of them for her to show absolutely no fear or anger what so ever.
My hubby is a retired highschool/college football player, so a lot of his friends are huge..they all came over, one at a time and she pretty quickly on her own came up to say hi and even let them touch her..her fear wasn't for men come to find out, but maybe the other b's in that previous foster home or maybe something else.

She ended up getting adopted by this lovely couple out of Dallas, he is a retiree, staying home all day..and she is now his best of friend, I never would've known when I first met her..fosteingher an devaluating her in a calm and happy environment, meant that she found her forever home..
Being a foster for BRAT is an awesome way to not only help an organization, it also helps the potential adopter, but most importantly it helps the dog…

Excellent point Petra. What is the percentage of BRAT Basenjis that get fostered first?

Houston

Ok, so I guess I should know this, but I don't
I hope maybe Sharron or Liz chimes in with that, but I do know we try to get all dogs into foster especially before they go on to be adopted, we have to know what we are adopting out, it is our responsibility after all.

While this thread is a good…. what needs to be addressed is dogs that are evaluated or with a foster that have serious issues .... and how those are classified and what is to be done with them?....... we all know about the ones that overcome hardships... but what of the ones that have serious problems, regardless if due to breeding or how they were placed/raised? Again I point out the issue of a dog that is a serious problem and could be a potential to give serious harm to a person or another dog.... these are the hard cases ... and the ones that give many pause on what should become of them.

Houston

Some of the dogs that come to BRAT and are fostered that has issues, large and small, will never get adopted out for various reasons.
Some stay in forever fosters, if that makes sense, others, I don't know what happens to them, but truth be told, not all dogs are adoptable, that is just a fact. Sad, but the truth..

Add to the mix the question of how much in resources should be used or allotted for an animal that may never be suitable as a pet? Also is fair to the dog and the foster homes for these dogs to be left in a foster situation for extended periods of time? The question of how long is long enough still begs to be answered!

Jason

@Basenjimamma:

Some of the dogs that come to BRAT and are fostered that has issues, large and small, will never get adopted out for various reasons.
Some stay in forever fosters, if that makes sense, others, I don't know what happens to them, but truth be told, not all dogs are adoptable, that is just a fact. Sad, but the truth..

Exactly and that is my point… and for those who have to make that hard decision, my hat is off to them... been there, had to do that....

Houston

Add to the mix the question of how much in resources should be used or allotted for an animal that may never be suitable as a pet? Also is fair to the dog and the foster homes for these dogs to be left in a foster situation for extended periods of time? The question of how long is long enough still begs to be answered!

I don't know what is the deciding factor on when a dog or foster is ready to move on in that situation, if that makes sense.
The foster situation is purely voluntary, so no money goes towards that, but vetting does and kenneling if needed does, so yes it does cost money to have these dogs around, and yes you have to be a very special person to be able to subject yourself to harm or the potential of harm, knowing this dog will never be adoptable..what do you do..?
The only human thing to do, is to let that dog go..across the bridge..such a hard option though…but necessary..I think.. i am very much on the fence on this one. One minute it makes sense to me to just let that dog go, the next minute it sounds like an aweful option..
I don't think I can tell when that time is, unless I am put up to that decision..
I would get the strength, when I would need for me to have the strength..

@Basenjimamma:

I don't know what is the deciding factor on when a dog or foster is ready to move on in that situation, if that makes sense.
The foster situation is purely voluntary, so no money goes towards that, but vetting does and kenneling if needed does, so yes it does cost money to have these dogs around, and yes you have to be a very special person to be able to subject yourself to harm or the potential of harm, knowing this dog will never be adoptable..what do you do..?
The only human thing to do, is to let that dog go..across the bridge..such a hard option though…but necessary..I think.. i am very much on the fence on this one. One minute it makes sense to me to just let that dog go, the next minute it sounds like an aweful option..
I don't think I can tell when that time is, unless I am put up to that decision..
I would get the strength, when I would need for me to have the strength..

This sounds like a common dilema. Therefore what guidelines should be determined to make those kinds of decisions? Another problem that arises is really based on how many people are deciding in particlar cases such as these.

Jason

The shelter that I volunteered at used a temperament test to evaluate all dogs before approving them for the adoption floor. Many shelters now do this and there are several variations out there. The seminar I attended by Sarah Kalnajs included a portion where she went through what she does for a temperament test.

Even with the temperament testing sometimes dogs would get to the adoption floor and after awhile of being worked with the volunteers would notice things that may not have shown up on the test day.

Rescue and shelter work is very hard because you can't save them all. Some come to the shelter or rescue too broken to be fixed.

@tanza:

Exactly and that is my point… and for those who have to make that hard decision, my hat is off to them... been there, had to do that....

Karen Jones at Medfly keeps them for good. I adopted a rw in 94 that had serious issues which I did not find out until after. I found him through an ad in the paper and sent my then wife to pick him up. The rescue breeder didn't say anything to my wife. We found out his issues the first week. And he had malobsorption (hard time digesting) and only weighed 19 lbs and came with a bottle of Pancrezyme to mix in his food. He was very quiet and depressed. You could see his ribs. If he was laying on the couch and you walked towards him he'd really growl at you. He bit my b/w on the back the second day here. I just kept him and decided I'd work with him. Had him till he died in 2007 at 14-1/2. He made a lot of improvement over time with a lot of walks and diet improvements. I called the rescue breeder and she knew where he came from but did not know too much of what if his experience was good/bad. He lived with a couple an apartment and hardly ever got walked. They got him from a breeder in Texas.

Dogs who are damaged are IMO given 2 options. YOU as the person who is responsible for the dog, be it fostering, or having this dog in a foster, keep the dog until it dies, or you put it down.
NOT making a hard decision, to kill the dog, will give rise to all sorts of issues, including humans and animals being hurt, or the dog, who is damaged, suffering even more with folks who think they can "break" it to their will.
Jason, there are suggestions for basenji eval in the BRAT site. I believe you have access to this. If not, I will send it to you.
Fostering is the idea place to see if a b can be rehomed, but sadly, now, we are short of foster homes, and sometimes a b goes from a home to a kennel…that is very tough on the dog.

I have been a BRAT foster home for several years and hosted many basenjis. There is no limit on how long a basenji will be fostered and depends completely on the dog's needs and the availability of a suitable adopter when the dog is ready to move on. I have adopted two fosters who were both here longer than normal due to health issues. A foster home in MO frequently ends up with basenjis who have serious health or behavior problems. They have lots of room on their farm so can manage several basenjis at once although the work is demanding, sometimes overwhelming. Currently they have 9 fosters and have adopted others who were deemed to be unqualified for other placements due to age or other problems. Two fosters have been with them for 4years. BRAT will have a dog PTS if it is suffering from physical illness or too aggressive to be placed. If they are old, have Fanconi or other manageable illnesses they may remain in a foster home until they die a natural death. We always need more foster homes.

Good threat Jason.
Thanks for asking the question.

@LizNewton:

I have been a BRAT foster home for several years and hosted many basenjis. There is no limit on how long a basenji will be fostered and depends completely on the dog's needs and the availability of a suitable adopter when the dog is ready to move on. I have adopted two fosters who were both here longer than normal due to health issues. A foster home in MO frequently ends up with basenjis who have serious health or behavior problems. They have lots of room on their farm so can manage several basenjis at once although the work is demanding, sometimes overwhelming. Currently they have 9 fosters and have adopted others who were deemed to be unqualified for other placements due to age or other problems. Two fosters have been with them for 4years. BRAT will have a dog PTS if it is suffering from physical illness or too aggressive to be placed. If they are old, have Fanconi or other manageable illnesses they may remain in a foster home until they die a natural death. We always need more foster homes.

It must be difficult though, to allot funds for medical care, and foster space that is always in need, to an animal once you know it is not adoptable. There are just too many animals in need, and only so much that can be done. It must feel like a no-win situation sometimes.

Miranda

@sharronhurlbut:

Good threat Jason.
Thanks for asking the question.

LOL Sharron… would that be Thread, not threat!!!!

LOL, can you tell I have NOT had enough coffee!

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