sleep with her and Bunny, or I could sleep alone. She told me that even though Bunny was crate-trained and slept in the petroom with one of our cats without too much complaint (we usually listened to a few "wherrrrrrrre arrrrrrrrrrre yooooooooooou" roos, then she settled in for the night), she just couldn't be apart from her for a minute that first night. Lucienne assured me Bunny would return to her normal routine the next day. Well, 4 days later, we are still sleeping 3 to a bed!
Bunny's first 24 hours were what we expected. She did not want to be out of Lucienne's sight, she was utterly exhausted and therefore not her perky self, and she was famished. What we were unsure about was how her personality would change as a result of what we affectionately call "Bunny's Most Excellent Adventure". Surprisingly, she is significantly less skittish post-trauma than she was pre-trauma. Lucienne is still her center of the universe, but if I'm in my office out of her sight (we work from our home), Bunny comes and checks on me periodically, throughout the day. If I leave the room, she follows me just to make sure I'm not leaving the house; once she knows where I am, she rejoins the alpha female (Lucienne) until she feels the need to check on the whereabouts of the rest of the herd. She'll come for back scratches and pets, but she invariably goes to find Lucienne before long.
Bunny is also a little (not much) less anxious when Lucienne leaves the house. It takes her a little less time to settle down, and she's less frantic in the moments after Lucienne leaves. Also, she is significantly less interested in escaping or spending any amount of time outside. We've had a few bathroom accidents, and we notice that when she goes out she takes care of business quickly so she can go back in. Maybe, just maybe, she'll be a little easier to keep home. On a different note, I wanted to pass on some of what we learned from Bunny's Most Excellent Adventure ….
I was walking Bunny in our back yard at the time of her escape. She was in a harness. Bunny went under my pickup truck as we walked past (typical sled-dog maneuver), so I tried to pull her out. She then put her head down and both front legs straight out in front of her, and the harness pulled right off. We learned harnesses are not nearly as secure as we believed. We now attach her leash to both her collar and the harness. In addition, we have ordered an adjustable Martingale-style collar (http://www.rescuepetstore.com/product/LUP1CC.html), a roman-style harness (http://www.rescuepetstore.com/product/LUP12RH.html), and a coupler (http://www.rescuepetstore.com/product/LUP34COUP.html) for the belt-and-suspenders approach to dog walking. We received advice on the style collar from several sources, and on the harness-and-coupler approach from a woman who currently houses 16 rescued dogs, some of which are quite difficult when leashed (some of her dogs were feral for extended periods of time; God bless her). We'll post an update on the effectiveness of this approach sometime in the future.
As I mentioned, Bunny has a few cuts and bruises, the worst of the cuts being smack in the middle of her forehead. I believe she did this to herself trying to get out of the wire trap; an unfortunate-but-acceptable cost of recovery. The forehead wound was looked fresh when we got her back. This wound needs several-times-daily treatment with an ointment to keep it supple and to facilitate proper healing. When Lucienne applies the ointment, Bunny's eyes roll back into her head and she becomes completely relaxed. She apparently understands and appreciates that the treatment is good for her. So, overall, Bunny seems to be a little calmer and a bit more grateful to live with us. This is the best we could have hoped for. Bunny has had a traumatic few months: she left her first home, was separated from her 7-month old daughter, had a name-change and was fostered for just over a month, was then transferred to our home, and before she had time to really adjust to her new forever home, she became lost in a snowstorm. We are truly amazed that she both survived and seemingly became more comfortable in our home as a result. I'll wrap it up for now in another one or two posts….
We learned: (1) harnesses are not super secure; (2) Martingale style collars are probably the best way to go; (3) a harness-collar-coupler approach is likely the safest; (4) never put food outside of a trap, the dog must be motivated to enter the trap; (5) DO NOT GIVE UP, Basenjis are incredibly tough, tenacious, and resourceful; (6) distribute flyers door-to-door; (7) nearly everyone will empathize and at least passively help you out; (8) the true dog lovers will actively help in ways that are at once surprising and effective; (9) send emails to everyone you know in the search area, and ask them to forward them to as many people as possible in and around the search area; (10) use your BRAT coordinator as a source of advice and help; (11) make sure someone is posting in this forum, good advice and good things (if just prayers and thoughts) are the result; (11) get an appropriate trap or, better yet, traps, then bait them with smelly dog delectables; (12) call the local police as well as dog-control authorities. If we had called the police the first night, we would have known she was hit minutes later; (13) let the police know you will be making your search on private property. They will be prepared for any calls, and they will be most helpful; (14) call your local fire department and publice works department. A fire department member generated a huge email blast. Public works employees were on the lookout; (15) call the post office. Our postman called us with a sighting; (16) make sure your flyers talk about the nature of Basenjis. We should have been insistent that nobody approach Bunny; four people got within a foot of her and she ran off into the woods each time; (17) be careful on your search (more in the final post for tonight)…
Greg, this is all great information. I think you should edit and repost for the BRAT blog (http://basenjirescue.blogspot.com/). Given how often we see lost Basenji ads on Craigslist, and surely elsewhere, and how elusive and slippery these guys can be, I think all your shared experiences and insight can be of use to others.
Be careful when you search for a dog. Today, it is both unusual and scary to see a stranger on your property. We first notified the local police where we would be looking, and then we knocked on every door before searching. We also learned to have flyers at the ready to help explain what we were doing. If something warranted a detailed look (tracks leading up to a barn, for example), we again called the police and told them what we intended to do.
Despite these precautions, an out-of-town and off-duty police officer approached me when I was searching his neighbors' property. After a right-from-the-outset, verbally abusive confrontation during which I told the out0of-town officer (1) what I was doing, (2) that the local police had our names and physical descriptions, and knew what we were up to, and (3) that he would not stop me from searching someone else's property for a possibly dead or dying dog, he threatened me. When that did not sway me, he assaulted me. After he began that assault I told him he should think real hard about whether or not he wanted to continue that assault. This brought him to his senses. It is important to be prepared for this kind of confrontation, and probably the best preparation is to search in teams; you will at the very least have a witness. Also, because we notified the police often, they were on our side when called to the scene. The state police actually apologized for the off-duty officer's behavior and thanked us for the way we handled the incident. KEEP THE LOCAL POLICE INFORMED.
I will follow up with offending man's commanding officer; it is sobering to know he both carries a gun AND has a badge. If I'm not satisfied with the results of an informal complaint, I will file a formal one and pursue criminal charges, and then go to the press as a last resort. This is one anger-challenged, bully-of-a-man who happens to be sworn to protect and serve. It is both shocking and disheartening that a police officer would be the only person who had no empathy or compassion for our situation. BE CAREFUL, BE VIGILANT, AND BE WARY OF EVERYONE UNTIL THEY PROVE YOU CAN BEHAVE OTHERWISE.
That being said, except for the one notable exception, EVERYONE was at least empathetic and at best unbelievably helpful.
Thanks again for all your support, good advice, and positive energy. You all gave Lucienne, Zoey, and I the stamina and will to bring Bunny home.
thank you so much for posting all this information. It would be nice to think that nobody would ever have to use it, but that's not reality.
I'm so glad you found Bunny and are reunited. And I personally doubt Bunny will ever be sleeping in the dog-room again. Once they sleep in the bed they are awfully hard to dislodge.
Greg, thank you so much for sharing your experience with Bunny… for us that are on this forum regularly, we knew her as "Sophie", as "westcoastflea" is the foster mom you referred to.... I'm so happy that Bunny can be found nestled under your covers....:)
Please keep us posted on how Bunny adjusts to her forever home!
P.S. On a serious side note, KUDOS to you and your family for not giving up on Bunny! I know of a basenji in North Carolina that was given to a new family~ within a month, they had him posted on Craig's List as "free"! Before BRAT could get this boy, this dog ran away... and no one has seen him since. I am so grateful that Bunny has Lucienne, Zoey, and you as her guardian angels!
What an incredible story. I was following along with Bunny & your family's tale through the forum and the BRAT e-mail list. I am one of those who cried when she was finally found. What an unbelievable story; I am so glad it had a happy outcome.
Thank you for sharing not only the ending of the story, but the lessons learned, as well. For those of us who have been lucky enough never to have lost a dog, we would not know where to begin to search. And so often we read about lost dogs & never know the outcome. I think I speak for many when I say we all get a little invested in dogs we've never met when they get lost. We all begin to imagine how we would feel if our own little one were lost somewhere, and its always nice to hear the happy endings.
I hope Bunny has a long, happy, life with you, and may all of her future adventures be on her new Fort Knox of collar/harness/leash systems
Hello all , Greg and your family…..this is Troy, Mikes son (k-9 Connection). first off im so happy u found bunny. my dad and I were very concerned, worried and helped in the search as often as we could. we really appreciate the comments u left thanking us on page 2.
This was very intense for me because I witnessed bunny being hit. I have a black(tri) basenji named zaar and a red one as well, i had just left my fathers house and zaar with my father who was about to take him outside to a puppy socialization class. when i saw the basenji running down route 74 i immediately pulled over , and saw a car hit one of bunnies legs and she let out a big scream, then i ran out into the road waving my arms to get cars to slow down. I then witnessed a car miss bunny by about a foot, the car swerved out of the way just in time(meanwhile its dark out and had just started snowing). bunny ran up hilltop road and i gave chase. I was pretty sure it was my dog and he slipped his collar, so i was freaking out. this was only a half mile or so from my dads house, and being that basenjis are so rare i didnt think there was much of a chance it wasnt my dog. I then chased bunny into the woods and tried to catch her but she was too fast, i was one of the ones that was within a foot of her, but quickly lost sight of her in the darkness. The side road she ran down was very dark. I quickly ran back to my car and saw a lady waiting for me and she was very concerned but i needed to act quick and couldnt stay to talk to her i got on the phone with my dad and asked if he still had my dog. he did, whew......now it was my goal to save this basenji i got my father and we went back to the scene and searched for bunny but couldnt find her. my father was on the phone w the fire chief/dog warden and immediatley a search party was put out. My father and i went back the next morning and searched. I had to leave town shortly after that but my father was out there everyday searching for bunny and hooking greg up with wildlife management and the traps, and giving greg advice on how to find bunny asap. I want to thank everyone who searched for bunny. We are so happy and relieved for your family greg. Now we are trying to set up a play date for my basenjis and bunny. I really cant wait to meet bunny, my heart really hurt everyday thinking about this, and it hit so close to home being that i have a black(tri) basenji and my dad is right there about a half mile from where this all happened.
enjoy a vid of my two lil beasts playing
It's amazing how small the basenji family really can be! When I read your narrative, I could feel the panic that you must have felt, watching Bunny get hit by a car! What is really neat is that once you KNEW that it wasn't Zaar, that didn't stop you from reaching out and helping Bunny's family.
P.S. Your dad sounds like a hero in disguise, too! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!
I know how horrible it feels to watch a car hit your or anyone elses dog and there is nothing you can do…Otis got hit by a car at age 5 months, right infront of our house, with me and my two young children witnessing..horrible, maddening and absolutely gut wrenching..Otis ended up Ok, thankfully, being a puppy was a goood thing, since they tuck and roll better then an older dog would've..at least that is what the ER vet told me.
Bunny's story is amazing, all the peeps involved and her finally making it home..absolutely amazing....