30+ yrs with Bs
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    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.

    Merry

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  • Houston

    Merry, a warm welcome to you and all yours. What a heartwarming , happy yet so sad story to read about you and your pack through the years. I truly enjoyed the visit to Africa and the Phillipines through your words.

    Welcome and I am glad you have found us.

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  • First Basenji's

    Welcome to the forum!

    As someone very new to life with Basenjis (and relatively new to life with dogs in general, to tell the truth) I'm always interested to hear more from those who have spent decades with the breed.

    My aunt has an Aby in Taiwan, appropriately enough named "Ah B." This crotchety old woman (I'm allowed to call her that because she's family and I love her regardless) didn't want anything to do with pets until a friend of a friend moved to Canada and dumped this cat at her house. She resisted at first, but really fell for the feline. Like Basenjis, Abysinnians strike me as a breed with strong personalities. They are only with us for such a short part of our lives, but they leave us with such strong impressions and sweet stories, it's always worth it.

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    Here are a few photos of Kenset's Liberty Belle and the cats (Zaki and Java together, and Angelfire, our current Aby). Need to scan photos of other Bs.

    The last photo is Segbwema, the village I lived in for two years in Sierra Leone. The large white building in the background is PZ's warehouse and I lived on the top floor with the long verandas. Most nights I would sit out on the veranda with friends and watch the cattle egrets fly into the huge cotton tree across the street as we ate goundnuts (Americans call them peanuts) and drank Star beer (Heinikin). Joe, my basenji, loved to eat groundnuts. His regular meals were the same as mine– lots of rice, palm oil and fish with some greens (potato leaf or cassava leaf).

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    Sorry, here is the photo of Segbwema. It was taken in 2004 (after the war in Sierra Leone was over). I was so happy to see that most of the town survived.

    I will dig out photos of Joe, my basenji there, and scan and post.
    attachment_p_117955_0_segbwemab.jpg

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  • Welcome to the forum! Thank you for sharing your story and the pictures!

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  • Welcome to the forum, Merry. All of my dogs have Kenset behind them and your Belle was a very close relative. She was a half sibling to several of mine and a great-great-great aunt to my most recent litter of puppies. You will find other "related by Basenjis" people on the forum, too. Enjoy!

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  • Welcome, and thanks for sharing such a touching story.

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  • First Basenji's

    Welcome to the forum!
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I love the photos and look forward to seeing more!

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    @YodelDogs:

    Welcome to the forum, Merry. All of my dogs have Kenset behind them and your Belle was a very close relative. She was a half sibling to several of mine and a great-great-great aunt to my most recent litter of puppies. You will find other "related by Basenjis" people on the forum, too. Enjoy!

    Thanks, Robyn. Is Mary Lou on the forum? I was wondering if she still is breeding? The last time I talked to her was after Belle died.

    Merry

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    Glad you found us.

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  • welcome, and thank you for sharing your interesting live with us. I hope your cat has a lot more good time with you.

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  • @Segbwema:

    Thanks, Robyn. Is Mary Lou on the forum? I was wondering if she still is breeding? The last time I talked to her was after Belle died.

    Merry

    As far as I know, Mary Lou is not on this forum. Mary Lou's health no longer allows for her to raise puppies so she is down to only having two dogs in her home, a spayed female and a male.

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  • Welcome to the forum , Merry. I enjoyed reading your introductory post.

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    @thunderbird8588:

    Welcome to the forum , Merry. I enjoyed reading your introductory post.

    Love England. Stayed with Marvin and Sally Wallis during a visit about ten years ago. Loved the way their bs hovered around the Aga.

    My husband and I once spent two weeks driving across the south from Dover to Penzance. Stayed in B&Bs and kept to the little village roads as much as possible. Stopped to see gardens and a few stately homes, but mostly enjoyed village churches and walks through the streets.

    Nice to meet you.

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  • P

    Welcome to the forum - you certainly lead an interesting life! The pictures of the cats and Bs are lovely. I too am a long time Basenji owner. Did you visit shows when you stayed with Sally? I may have met you. Sally is a friend (of course) - we all used to know each other in Basenjis (but things are changing!) and Sally and I share some of the same opinions on the breed. I live on the Welsh border so live far away from Sally and the area you visited.

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    From an early message @Segbwema:

    Here are a few photos of Kenset's Liberty Belle and the cats (Zaki and Java together, and Angelfire, our current Aby). Need to scan photos of other Bs.

    The last photo is Segbwema, the village I lived in for two years in Sierra Leone. The large white building in the background is PZ's warehouse and I lived on the top floor with the long verandas. Most nights I would sit out on the veranda with friends and watch the cattle egrets fly into the huge cotton tree across the street as we ate goundnuts (Americans call them peanuts) and drank Star beer (Heinikin). Joe, my basenji, loved to eat groundnuts. His regular meals were the same as mine– lots of rice, palm oil and fish with some greens (potato leaf or cassava leaf).

    Thanks everyone for the warm welcome. Great to be here. Here are some more photos.

    Only Bs missing are Tanya and Baji, my first Bs, and the photos I have of them are in pretty sad shape due to a flood in our basement in the 70s.
    **
    JOE**
    Joe was my basenjish dog I had as a Peace Corps volunteer in Segbwema, Sierra Leone in 1977-79. In one he is hanging over the balcony wanting to follow me to school and the other he is being groomed by my flat-mate's cat. More about him in that first message.
    **
    BINTA & CHEKA**
    The first one was taken the day we picked up Binta from Sally Wournos (Sonbar) at a show in Racine. 1982 I think.

    In the second one Binta and Cheka are waiting to get in our boat at Lake Yellowwood in Indiana . Circa 1984.

    BELLE was my last basenji. Posted a photo of her in my first message in the thread and am going to use the head shot below as my avatar.

    First photo is at Mary Lou Kenworthy's the day Zaki and Java met Belle for the first time. Must have been 1998.

    Also posted a photo my Aby cat, Angelfire, currently the only animal in our house and not doing too well because of kidney disease. She is the sweetest animal ever.

    Brings back wonderful memories to fish out these old photos.

    Merry

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    attachment_p_118694_3_bloomington-lake-photo-with-binta-and-cheka-001-2.jpg
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  • L

    Merry,

    Welcome to the forum! We are "rookies" at having had Basenjis in our lives just under a dozen years (our girl Vi turned 12 earlier this month) but look forward to each one's special personality and presence!

    Regards,
    Elaine

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  • P

    Thank you for posting your very interesting pictures. They are lovely. I am still getting round to posting pictures but hadn't even thought about the way to post old photos of which I have loads. Deary me I am really a non tech!!

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  • L

    Wow!! I got my first basenji in 1969 from the Humane Society for $3 dollars (sorry to those who've heard that before). Love hearing about your adventures with B's because I don't have any stories to match yours!!

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  • I just joined. Loved your stories and sharing of your pictures. How fun!

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