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posted in Rainbow Bridge read more

By most standards, Saboo was a terrible dog. For the last 15 years, she?s run away at every opportunity, peed on everything conceivable, picked fights with every dog and cat she could, and never did a damn thing for me unless she knew there was something in it for her. She was fiercely independent, and a goddamn hussy to boot- while aloof to most strangers, she?d inevitably ditch my company in favor of that of any male that spent enough time hanging around.

When I met her, she was a spindly half-wild creature that stank of cigarettes. She was a christmas present to me from my parents- my longed-for puppy, there at last. I was 12. She was a terror. I loved her.

She slept on top of the fridge, gnawed through steel cables, snapped collars, dug under fences, climbed over fences, ate dead rabbits, killed mice, shredded socks. She lived on the streets for a few days. She dodged flying hooves. She just about electrocuted herself… multiple times. She made me chase her down on a dirt bike when she?d run off from the farm. In her youth, she was wild-eyed and fierce. She was hard-muscled, fast, and intelligent. She outsmarted me regularly.

So slowly that I hardly noticed, she began to get old. My little dog, that heartbeat at my feet, she began to opt out of hikes and bike rides. She had less tolerance for the cold and suddenly, more tolerance for sweaters. She slept most of the day away, following the sunlight as it crept across the floor like a breathing sundial.

She abandoned the frivolous use of force and energy in favor of cynicism, a wry smirk, and well-timed lunges. Many a pastry was lost to her jaws. I?ve never seen a cupcake disappear as quickly as it would in her mouth.

She aged. We all do.

Arthritis caught up to her. Her thyroid issues got worse. Incontinence set in. She lost her appetite and she'd turn her nose up at most anything. Her back end got wobbly. She began having seizures. I made the decision to let her go with dignity.

I got fifteen years with her. I have spent more time in the company of this dog than I have without her. I know I learned far more from her than I was ever able to teach her. I am the person I am today because of her. It?s days like these that make me wish I believed in the idea of heaven, the concept of an afterlife. I wish that all dogs DID go to heaven (regardless of merit, in her case). I wish that I could watch her raise hell one last time.

She was not a good dog, but she was my dog.

Saboo 8/31/98 - 4/25/14

posted in Basenji Health Issues & Questions read more

I've got a 15.5 year old spayed basenji who's been having some potty issues.

Essentially, whenever she wakes up from sleep, she'll pee nearly immediately- often on her bed/couch/etc, otherwise nearby. (Likely unrelated, but she then licks it up.) She doesn't appear to be leaking urine in her sleep, just experiencing frequent and urgent urination. It seems to have gotten worse in the past few months- at first I chalked it up to Chicago's bitterly cold winter and her not wanting to go outside, but the weather is getting milder now and the issue is maintaining.

We ran a urinalysis a few weeks ago, did 14 days of Clavamox, followed by a full CBC, Chem, T4, and followup urinalysis. Those results came back yesterday, and my vet's comment was that the only thing that was remarkable was how GOOD her bloodwork looked- liver looks fine, and no significant kidney issues (BUN and CREA were normal). Urinalysis showed nothing questionable, WBC was normal, everything looked fine, save for the T4. She's been on thyroxin (.1 mg BID) for probably 8 years, and her bloodwork suggested that we should bump up that dosage. Vet has her at .2 mg BID now.

He also prescribed Proin (1/2 25 mg tab BID). We've started on that, and I recognize that it's likely too early to see results, but it's frustrating to be dealing with urine everywhere (especially as I'm in an apartment, without easy access to a washer/dryer). Does anyone have additional suggestions? Tests we might run, supplements to try, alternative therapies you've had success with? Acupuncture? Corn silk tea? Would building more hind end muscle help? Magical dog foods? I'm contemplating switching her back to a raw diet to see if that makes a difference, but will wait until we give the Proin sufficient time to kick in.

She's old and creaky, but keeping her on glycoflex and salmon oil keeps her pretty comfy- she's still walking 2-3 miles per day and swiping tissues from the trash can whenever she gets a chance.

posted in Basenji Talk read more

I thought I'd drop in and let everyone know that they were absolutely right: the dogs adjusted just fine (and I'm getting there too!).

We've been in our new digs for a little over a month and the dogs have taken to it like nobody's business. Saboo runs around like she owns the place (which she does) and is about 75% on target with the potty pads. With some creative babygate use, I'm able to make sure that the other 25% winds up on linoleum… and well, she's a crotchety old lady basenji- I'll take what I can get. A plus side to our new place is that it's nearly un-doordashable- outside of the doors in my apartment is a vestibule with another door to the outside, and beyond that, there's a wrought iron fence all the way around the perimeter and keyed entry on the gates.

I'm still slowly trying to find a dog walker I like and trust- less for midday walks, and more for unexpected glitches in my schedule. So far, I've been able to manage with a friend's help.

She seems pretty content, though her now goal in life is to kill and eat a pigeon (or twelve). Thus far, she's only come away with a mouthful of feathers (and she managed that while on leash!).

posted in Basenji Talk read more

Thank you for all the good thoughts, everyone.

Our divorce is bittersweet, but definitely for the best. The actual logistics are the trickiest bit.

I think I'm gonna give potty pads a go, at least to start. I know Hippo can handle that sort of duration, but Saboo has little tolerance for being asked to hold it. We'll start with indoor potty pads and see how she takes to them (an attempt at litterbox training years ago ended disastrously!), and at the very least, it'll buy me time to find a dogwalker I like and trust to handle the girls appropriately.

As for the vets- I've made some phone calls and asked around a bit. Fortunately, in addition to the two pooches, there's a cat as well- plenty of animals to go around in terms of "trying out" vets.

posted in Basenji Talk read more

Due to some big life changes (divorce), I'm moving from the suburbs to Chicago proper with my two pooches: Saboo, my 13 year old basenji and Hippo, my 6 year old ACD.

I've signed a lease on an apartment- it's a little apartment, but it's quick in and out of the apartment (no stairs, elevators, or long hallways) and it's on a quieter residential street.

I will need to hire a dog walker and find a new vet.

I have been spoiled rotten with my vets for the past 6 years and the prospect of interviewing and selecting a vet is daunting. Any suggestions? Any recommendations for specific vets in Chicago?

Similarly, the thought of hiring a dog walker makes me nervous. Saboo is a pretty typical basenji and the other pooch has some ongoing reactivity issues. How do you assess whether the employees of a service are all competent and capable? Or, if you go with an individual, what do you do when they need a day off?

Does anyone have any tips for helping suburban (formerly rural) dogs adjust to urban life? I suspect Saboo will take the day to day changes in stride- she's been in a theatrical production in Chicago since May, so she's had a good amount of exposure to the hustle and bustle… but I'm still nervous.

Finally... if anyone has perspective on dogs in divorce, I'd appreciate it. Hippo's sun rises and sets upon me, so I have no doubt she'll be fine and perfectly happy so long as she's got me. Saboo... honestly, she preferred my ex-husband, despite the fact that she's been mine since '98 (long before he was in the picture). She's always preferred men, but she likes me well enough, I guess. I have no idea how she's going to respond to him being gone.

Thoughts? Words of wisdom?

posted in Basenji Training read more

Just a thought-

when my B was a pup, we had a grocery store collar on her. It was very pretty, but snapped when she spooked at something silly. She took off in a strange city, no collar, no tags, no microchip. She was found cold, filthy, and gimpy 4 days later.

Since then, I refuse to use cheap collars on my dogs. I don't (usually) splurge on the expensive designer ones, I simply make sure that it is sturdy and the dogs aren't going anywhere. Specifically, I'm quite fond of Premier, Hamilton, and EarthDog collars. Better safe than sorry!

posted in Show Off Your Dog read more


Pretty cool! Why not have the kids at the wedding huh? Thanks for sharing.;)

For us, the dogs are just a GIGANTIC part of who we are (& what I do!). I supervise a humane society, teach obedience classes, and am active in various breed rescues as well.

My basenji was my best friend all through high school and college (yep, she came with!). My husband fell for her long before he fell for me. 😃

posted in Show Off Your Dog read more

I thought I'd share a handful of various photos from the last few years.

This is Saboo, Hippo, and one of the 7 Brittany Spaniel pups I fostered last winter.

This is Saboo and Tahini. We fostered Tahini earlier this year. She now lives in MI and is known as Scout.

Saboo and Adeline, a fox terrier mix foster.

Stalking something.

I love that this photo shows off her perfect little beauty mark.

My favorite picture from my recent wedding.

posted in Basenji Puppy Pen read more


You have to understand…HSUS is NOT the same as the Humane Society or ASPCA. HSUS is code name for PETA. These people are such hypocrites!

I'd really appreciate it if you could provide a little more info regarding this statement. As someone who previously worked for HSUS and now regularly works with them, I'm a bit offended and a little concerned that you would make such a bold statement.

I've seen nothing that would link these two separate groups together and I certainly haven't seen the HSUS taking part in the extreme tactics utilized by PETA.

posted in Off Topic read more

I have personally had my Basenji returned to me thanks to her microchip. A college roommate left a back door open and went into my room to borrow a movie, not thinking about Saboo getting out. I got a call on my cell phone from animal control and left work to go get her.

As far as default info being the vet clinic's, the way it works is this:

Whatever company (vet, animal shelter, rescue, etc) purchases the microchip will always be linked to that chip no matter how many times the animal changes hands. Entire batches of microchips automatically "belong" to the issuer. On the chip, you then register your information, and often an emergency contact as well. Depending on the chip company, some will actually charge you to register your information. Others are completely free to register your info.

As some of you may know, I work for a humane society. I've personally reunited many owners and pets through microchipping. There was a cat (named Doc) that I returned to it's owner on Tuesday, as a matter of fact. We've also had animals returned to us from high-kill shelters thanks to microchips. Microchips have allowed us to prosecute for the abandonment of one of our dogs.

Microchipping is only as effective as the people wielding the scanner. It's certainly not foolproof, but neither are tattoos or tags. It certainly doesn't hurt anything, and if you're creative, you can often find a low-cost microchipping clinic and get your critters done for $15-30.

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