Hi B lovers,
I've been lurking awhile as right now I don't have a basenji.
I grew up with dalmatians but once on my own fell in love with basenjis because of a deep interest in Africa and the idea of a clean active dog that doesn't bark. I got my first bs in Atlanta in the early 70s. One was a rescue (a small tri girl who was about a year old) and the other was a red and white boy from a breeder on the west side (sorry it has been too long for me to remember the name). Baji and Tanya taught me to put my underwear and shoes away! They were so much fun. Baj died of cancer at five but Tanya lived until 10.
In the late 70s I joined the Peace Corps and taught in a very rural village in eastern Sierra Leone, close to Liberia. There were many basenjiish dogs in my village and I adopted a red and white one I called Joe. He was so much fun but I worried about him all the time as he wanted to follow me to school (about a mile) and all the other dogs would come out from their houses and chase him. He warned me once of cobra on a path when I was visiting a friend at night and definitely made me feel safer at home. I lived above a warehouse in a large flat. The village had no running water or electricity . But wonderful verandas on three sides with views of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen. Especially during the monsoons and the hermattan (dry wind off the Sahara), When I left he went to live with another PCV and I kept up with him for several years.
I ended up at Indiana U when I returned and Sally Wuornos gave us (met my husband in Sierra Leone and we got married in Bloomington afterwards) Sonbar's Libby (can't remember the exact name), whom we named Binta, a girl's name in Hausa, one of the languages of Nigeria language I was studying at the time.
Two years later we got Cheka (Kiswahili for laughter) from a breeder in Lebanon, OH (sorry don't have the name). Cheka was a wild woman! Well wild girl. I was in Kenya from her 4th-9th month and she rearranged the living room while I was gone. Basenjis are a great way to force the decision to get new furniture!
In the late 80s we moved to Subic Bay Naval Base in the Philippines, and I was responsible for bringing the girls over. My husband who works for DoD had gone on ahead. The 24 plane trip worried me to death but they were fine and we stayed a week at the Philippine Plaza hotel in Manila, which was paradise for me and the dogs.
We lived in a base house that was literally right up against primary rainforest (or real jungle, unlike anything I had even seen living in seven African countries) which had 25 ft pythons, 8 ft monitor lizards (we had a five ft one living in the drainage ditch in our front yard. we called him Monty and he looked like a dinosaur sunning himself when we came home from work. Poisonous snakes were everywhere, along with parrots, monkeys (don't look them in the eye) and other beasties. So despite a fenced in backyard, the dogs could not go out until someone checked the yard first and stayed out with them.
One night Cheka got us awake (she was a very persistent B when she wanted something) and we realized a guy was trying to break in our front door with a crowbar! Called the base police and Cheka became known in the neighborhood as the fierce barkless watchdog! By the way we got comments on them every time we walked them the whole 2.5 yrs we were there.
Brought them back to the US when I took a job in Ohio in the late 80s. Cheka died of lymphona at 7. My husband (who had grown up with Siamese) talked me into going to a cat show and we fell in love with a little brown cat, who turned out to be an Abysinnian. I had never had a cat but this cat acted sort of like a dog. Zaki walked on a leash, and he and Binta hung out together on his 6 ft cat trees (the cat got the highest perch, Binta stuck to the five ft one! Nine months later we got his little brother, whom we named Java (I had just come back from working in Indonesia – Java is the main island). Binta was great with the cats. Cat like dog, dog-like cats, both breeds from Africa...
Binta lived until a week before she would have been 14. We think she had a stroke.
After a few months I picked up Kenset's Liberty Belle from Mary Lou Kenworthy. She was the best basenji ever. Such a lover. We kept her in booda velvets and she never tore up anything! Truth! Of course by now we were trained to put dirty clothes UP in the hamper, had an automatic-closing trash can and fed the cats on a high counter in the mud rooom and kept their little box where only 8 lb cats could get into it.
Zaki died in July 2006 of cardiomyopathy and Java died in July 2007 of another heart problem. I had been on an Aby listserv for ten years and a wonderful Aby breeder in Phoenix (who has one of Bev's basenjis too) offered us Angelfire, a 7 yr old retired showcat. Flew out and brought her back. Since she had lived her whole life with a B she and Belle hit it off right away. She is the most wonderfully affectionate cat ever. Six lbs of love.
Belle died last year. We had 11 wonderful years with her. She had protein lowering enteropathy and we fought it for ten months.
Then we found out In late October that Angelfire, our precious Aby, has chronic renal failure. We have been giving her subqs since November and she has her own vet plus a specialist at OSU Vet School. She has been in stage four since February.
Given that we have lost three pets in three years and the fourth is terminally ill, we have decided to wait until she passes to even think about getting another pet. Although every couple of months I ask a local breeder to let me have a basenji fix. Just an afternoon with a few Bs helps so much.
Glad to join the group. Basenjis are very special, and I cannot imagine choosing another breed. Appreciate all the love and caring on the forum.