Thanks for all the comments and thoughts from the group. It's very easy to see how important these dogs are to all their owners and how loved they are! The almost eleven years we?ve had Skeeter and Heidi has been mostly rewarding and even as they age things change and issues do come up, we would never falter in our responsibility of giving them the best we can for their whole lives. I remember when we decided to get a dog back in 2000, we had no idea what type or breed of dog to get. I just got on the internet and went to Dogs.com and just clicked through the pictures of all breeds. Ha, when the picture popped-up of a Basenji, I was instantly impressed. I knew absolutely nothing about them, but something about the looks, the tail, the ears, heck I dunno, I was just very impressed. So, I started reading and it was a little strange seeing all the references and warnings about owning a Basenji and trying to explain the good and the bad and making sure we knew we were sure, etc. It almost seemed like we were being warned and to really be aware of the issues, before deciding. I couldn?t imagine what could be so bad . . . but eventually I found out.
I did a little more research and found a breeder down in Warrensburg, Missouri, about an hour's drive from Kansas City. And again I was told by the breeder to read up about Basenji?s and make sure I knew what I was doing. So, my wife Dana and I drove down to take a look. Linda Ehlers was the breeder and she had a few Basenji?s that were just weeks old for us to look at. Out of a group of 4 or 5 we instantly saw one that was a chestnut red female and had a very nice pattern on her coat. She came right up to us and we knew right away she would be perfect. So, Linda explained how the father of these new pups came from Denmark (getting in some new blood) and the mother dog was hers. We met the mother and made arrangements to come back the next week to pick up our new pup. That gave us a week to pick a name and get supplies a crate and whatever we needed. So, we came back the next week, paid the agreed amount (gulp) and got some initial verbal training on what to expect. Linda gave us some pictures she had from the birth and early days and she explained we would get her papers after we had her spayed. We were instructed to get it done before the first time the dog goes into heat. She had some real fancy name on her papers, but I had picked the name Heidi and my wife liked it too. So, off we went with our newest family member, Heidi.
We have a fairly large back yard, but no fence so we were taking Heidi out with a leash a few times a day to go potty. For the first few nights we had Heidi in her crate to sleep. But we could tell she didn?t like it, so that ended rather quickly and she only goes into a crate now, if we?re leaving the house for more than a few hours. Within a few months we got a 6? privacy fence and things got a lot better. She was house broken very quickly and was quite an active girl. We had a patio and to this day Heidi loves to lay in the direct sun light. And if a squirrel or bird dares to land in our back yard she?ll be chasing after them. Her worst trait is chewing on material. We have a collection of sheets, blankets, underwear, socks and more than I can think of, she has chewed through over the years. I get upset for not keeping most of it out of her reach, but I know she'll never grow out of it, at this point. We were BRAT volunteers for a while and during a transport we ran into Skeeter and added him to our Family. We knew having a companion for Heidi would be good and he was her same age at that time 1.5 years old. Skeeter has the same coloring as Heidi but is much more laid back. Heidi is definitely the Alpha dog in this family! They've gotten along very well over the years and have never had a serious fight. After spending over 10 years with these guys, you really learn their idiosyncrasies. Their personalities are just as complex as a human. To this day we have never regretted adding these wonderful animals to our family!
So now you can appreciate how sad we are to see Skeeter going blind from Diabetes. We are going to do our best to get his Cataracts removed as soon as we can financially deal with it. My wife did say Skeeter was checked for Fanconi when we first took him to the Vets with Diabetes. At that time, it was negative, but I will certainly have him checked again as soon as I can. One comment said, drinking a lot of water is not a trait of Diabetes, but that is incorrect. I am a type II Diabetic myself and when you have a high blood sugar reading you do get very thirsty and my Vet agrees to that as well. As far as going potty in the house, we've noticed that even after going outside he will at times go potty inside within a few minutes, strange? In the past he would be prancing all around to let us know when he needed to go out and hold it until we let him out. Now, he seems to not even care? It's one thing to not want to navigate his way out, but why go again inside, after just being outside? Heidi doesn't seem to realize the situation and since Skeeter has always been laid back, nothing seems different to her.
Thanks again for all the feedback and support. I'll post any changes in the future, right here . . .
Jerry and Dana in KC