Thank you for helping this boy! Sounds like you are headed in the right direction with him.
Here are some tricks I've picked up from fostering a feral pack and around 200 basenjis from different backgrounds:
Webmaster harnesses (ruffwear.com) are very secure - a trim basenji with a definite waistline can't pop out of this one.
To get the feral ones used to collars and having collars and harnesses put on them, I introduced them at mealtime. I started out very slow - just draping a rope or leash over their necks when they were eating. They were very food-motivated, though there were a few who I had to start with even more slowly - just leaving a rope or leash next to their food dish while they ate. As they became more comfortable, I would put more on for each meal until they were finally wearing harnesses without a fuss.
To get them used to their nails being done, I used scissor-type clippers with a gentle curve. I let them stand with all four paws on the ground and clipped just the tip of one nail at a time without holding the paw. I would do just one or two at a time with a treat in one hand. They are so easily handled now - I can hold paws without any objection.
Many in the feral pack were too terrified to leave our property, even with other pals along to comfort them. For them, I carried them around for our first 'walks' off of the property, not making a big deal that they were in the safety of my arms - we were just going from point A to point B. After a time or two, they were not trying to hide their heads under my arm. I would then set them down on the ground at the halfway point to have them walk back, not making a big deal if they were mostly crouching.
I've never pressured them with visitors, letting them see I am (and the rest of the pack is) comfortable with visitors or strangers. While I didn't force visitors on them, I also didn't leave access to places like underneath furniture. They did have safe, out of the way spaces where they could go, just not places that left them completely invisible. When walking, I try to make a point of saying hello to people or dogs we see so that the fearful ones will see I'm not afraid of someone approaching. Those fearful of visitors or strangers eventually see by example (mine or the pack) that other humans or dogs aren't bad. Barking dogs were a bit more of a challenge for me to set a good example (I like our non-barkers!), so I tried to compensate by taking in and letting out deep breaths, yawning or talking - "there are those noisy guys who talk too much."
@khaipan A few additional thoughts after yesterday's reply:
I've found that CBD oil is very dose-dependent and may require gradual increases to find an effective amount. I put it in the inside of lips when I give it. Some information I've seen online suggests that it is not as effective if given in treats or on food.
Former fosters have become much more anxious when given the usual sedatives. Benadryl seemed to provide a better response. One of those fosters was extremely anxious because one of her humans was ill. Max could be more anxious if one of his humans is ill - take care of yourselves!
What kind of mental stimulation are you providing? A routine that includes more obedience-type time (more frequent, very short sessions) can help to generally calm Max while building more confidence. Our guys go through a series of commands before every meal. Max may benefit from that communication more frequently.
Sorry to read he is having difficulties alone. I do not recommend the Impact crates, based on the experiences and conditions of one of my former fosters who was returned to me after the crate did not help in that home. He has a leg issue now. I'm not sure if it is a result of panicking in the crate. I have seen dogs damage, even bloody, themselves in crates, including soft plastic. I've also seen teeth damage and damage to some very expensive crates. There is one, a ZenCrate, that is designed to provide relief to those with separation anxiety, though the effect may be realized by leaving music on in the room with the crate. I have no experience with it. I did have one foster who was actually much calmer in his crate and very anxious (and destructive) if left outside of his crate. He was an exception...
Do you currently leave music or tv on? I find they do well when it is just loud enough to cover outside noises - not too loud. Depending on the dog's needs, I find different music or tv shows to be helpful. Happy sitcoms cover the silence with the sounds of people still in the house doing things. 'The Golden Girls' does that while also providing a soothing soundtrack that has put many of our basenjis to sleep. Soft rock has been shown to be soothing in canine studies.
How much in and out practice have you done? By that, I mean going in and out so many times starting with just a very short period of time that your boy won't know if you will be back in two seconds, two minutes, or ten minutes - starting out with just seconds, long enough to lock the door. I don't acknowledge anyone when coming or going when I'm doing this training until we are sitting down, relaxed, on my schedule. First times in and out should be so short that you are back and sitting down before he appears to react. This may mean that you pick up your keys, grab the doorknob, then go sit down. Lots of baby steps.
I prefer to have windows set so that they can watch squirrels, etc., out a back window, yet not see me going and coming out the front window. Blinds can be a safety hazard and face destruction. Our blinds on the front window are on the road side (which cuts down the solar heat load in the house while keeping the blinds out of reach), but you might need to fence off front blinds in your home. Sills may be destroyed.
Two way communication monitoring may help if there is enough noise at your work and during your commute for him to feel like he is still surrounded by life.
I've never not allowed a b to sleep with me unless he had to learn to be less defensive while sleeping first. If I can move them or have them move without being defensive, they are allowed on with everyone else. I don't make a big deal about it. Rather than keeping them out of the bed, I will block them from accompanying me to the bathroom, garage, kitchen, etc.
Since he has been good with just one one companion, adding a new one to the pack may do the trick. You could foster or 'borrow' a friend's dog for a couple of days first to see if this might work before committing to another companion. I do have one basenji who has not been happy when left home alone even if there is another b in the house. He is fine here, though, where there is a pack. One is not enough for him. He needs lots of company..
I hope you find the magic he needs!
@khaipan You are lucky to be able to take Max to work with you. That will allow you to make a home alone transition when you are all ready. He will be sensitive to your feelings, so you need to be ready as much as he is. As long as you don't make a big deal about it, he will be less likely to get excessively attached. My guys are quite attached to me (and, if they are awake, will stay at the window, watching me leave even if my S.O. is here), but they are fine when I'm not here. I've not really acknowledged them when I've left, so they can think that I'm just out on one of many short errands. I can frequently 'sneak out' without them even getting up. Not a big deal.
Before trying daycare again, you might want to approach that at least as slowly as leaving him alone if he's not had the routine of getting together with other dogs. It might also be good to spend the first couple of 'retry' visits with him (hopefully the facility allows for this), letting him have a little fun before leaving. If he's not into other dogs, he will probably be happier home alone. Even if you don't plan on leaving him at daycare regularly, it doesn't hurt to help him learn to like a place just in case you have an emergency need for him to stay.
Whenever we leave, we keep the tv or music going so that they never really feel like we left. They are so used to us coming and going for shorter spells or just going outside to take care of outside chores that they don't get worked up when we go. Of course, we do have quite a few in the house, so they do have company. Even those that have had separation issues in other homes where they have had companions do well here, though, perhaps because we are in and out so frequently. Since you only have a day to come up with a solution, you won't be able to 'practice' the frequent going and coming that we do.
For some, the tv playing sitcom shows may make them feel like family is still 'living around them' even when they are left alone. A quick solution may be doggy daycare until you have more time to do the frequent going and coming practice. You can also set up to have a two-way communication with him instead of just a camera check. I've used Skype and FaceTime to do this. Just hearing our casual talking on FT seems to make a difference for some who didn't stir for hours until the FT audio was muted. There are also remote controlled treat dispensers so they can really think you are magic and always with them even when they can't smell you.
Hope you and Max find a solution that works!
We've had a couple of diabetic basenjis come into rescue. One was around nine years old. Odd case - she never spilled more than a trace of glucose (and is also Fanconi DNA affected), yet her blood glucose when she arrived was 467! She was pretty obese. Not only is she not spilling glucose now, her blood glucose is now normal without insulin and her weight has been healthy for years. We put her on a very rigid diet (Wellness CORE weight management - no change from day to day) and a small amount of exercise (any increase bottomed her blood glucose level while we were stabilizing her). The amount of insulin needed had to be tapered back until we finally had to stop it. Unfortunately, changes had already been significant in her eyes prior to arrival, so cataracts were removed to avoid future complications. She arrived more than three years ago. Was off insulin within half a year.
Handsome boy! I don't see any basenji, though. If you would like to do a DNA test for health that also tests for breeds, Embark, which is affiliated with Cornell University, is an option.
I hope you have a patient vet and that your boy learns to settle down and be cooperative there. I've had dozens of fosters who started out as real challenges for the vets, yet they all got over it and became good citizens with the vets. They don't necessarily love the visits, but they cooperate calmly.
For no-see'ums in Florida, I use white vinegar and water, 50-50 mix. It works for about an hour or so. I keep a spray bottle outside with me when working with horses, who I also spray. I do wish it would last longer, since one of my horses is extremely sensitive to the no-see'ums who don't seem to be bothered by fly sprays for horses. The white vinegar mix gives him better protection for the hour or so that it lasts. For the dogs, I've sprayed my hand, then wiped the dogs. I do have a couple of dogs who are very sensitive to bites and a few who are sensitive to most of the other repellency options, so, though more labour-intensive for the number of dogs I have, white vinegar has been the one thing I can use to help everyone.
@tayda_lenny - I see Tony has now responded.
My approach to helping basenjis with kidney issues covers everything in basenjis' lives - a base of healthy home management supporting a vet & owner team resolving specific medical issues. I've had around 200 basenji fosters from all kinds of breeding, from many different home environments and with many different health issues. Many issues (health and behavioral) that they have when they first arrive are improved just by changing the environment to suit what each individual needs (not always easy to figure out what is best for each). Anything I do medically ends up being more effective with less vetting effort or medication.
I do whatever I can to minimize stress, including heat stress. Our basenjis are not allowed to spend much time sun-bathing (or time under heavy covers, though I will cover them with light covers if it is too cool). Those with health issues spend just enough time out during the middle of the day to take care of potty business. Of course, in our house, everyone always has companions. While some may tolerate being alone and may have difficulty getting along with others initially, b's are pack animals. Being alone is stressful for most. For those that might have to be separated, I use music or tv to sub as companionship. Something with talking (in the middle of music or on tv) can make them feel like humans are around even if they aren't. The noise also helps to reduce stress by eliminating silence. Basenjis will listen for something exciting to break the silence - hunter listening for prey - so a constant drone of noise reduces the strain of anticipation. There is the stress of aging as well. Eyesight changes will affect some more than others. To help minimize the stress, particularly when traveling, making sure he is surrounded by familiar scents can help. Some folks think that DAP or some oils, like lavender, are soothing. CBD oil may also help. I am trying CBD oil for the first time on my senior miracle Fanconi b. He's not impressed with the taste based on the faces he makes, but he does seek it out, reminding me if I'm behind schedule. It is one of those things I'm trying because I've found nothing to suggest that it will hurt.
Basenjis share many cat-like characteristics. One most likely to be quietly harmful to them is the tendency to not drink enough. Vets now associate the large increase in cats with kidney disease to the major use of dry kibble as a cat's diet. They evolved to get a large portion of their needed moisture intake from their food, so they tend to not drink enough to make up for the lack of moisture in kibble. I have found basenjis to be the same way and have had many fosters who didn't drink enough, including many NON-Fanconi b's. One thing that I do for all of my guys is that I never feed dry kibble (if you can home-cook, that's great - with the number I have and considering some are fosters who may be adopted by someone who can't cook for them, kibble is my compromise). I always soak it in boiling hot water for at least 20 minutes, then make sure it is cool prior to feeding. 1:1 kibble:water generally makes the kibble moisture equivalent to cooked food; 1:2 ≈ raw food; 1:3 ≈ renal diet canned food. We are in the heat of the summer and I do have an aging pack, so everyone is getting at least a 1:2 kibble:water ratio. For those that I still worry about dehydrating, like my senior Fanconi b, I use a rabbit water bottle in addition to having multiple water dishes which are changed a few times a day. B's like to lick and can't stand 'stray' water, so the Lixit-like nipple slightly dripping water from the rabbit bottle encourages them to drink. A plastic bottle allows me to increase the watering rate by squeezing the bottle. It has been the perfect fix to a serious problem with my old Fanconi boy, helping me to avoid having to do sub-q fluids (which I do have on hand just in case). I have given my old guy sub-q fluids by myself when it was not critical so that I know what he will tolerate and how I can handle his future care needs. In case you haven't noticed, I am very concerned about sufficient water consumption...
As for food, I have so many b's needing help and under my care now that I haven't had time to go through specifics of what I'd need to switch to homemade diets. For now, I still rely on kibble, even for my old Fanconi b (though added sweet potato makes it more palatable for him). Once I could get him to eat normally (he arrived as an anorexic and had to learn how to be a 'normal' b...), he was on the same kibble as everyone else in our pack, Earthborn Holistic Meadow Feast (26% protein, 1%min phosphorus). His phosphorus level just shifted into the 'needs binder' range, so I have incorporated aluminum hydroxide and switched to a weight management formula (Wellness, 24% protein, 0.6%min phosphorus - I've noted renal formulas at 0.4%), noting the phosphorus level is almost as low as the renal formulated kibble. Unfortunately, we also need to address an elevated calcium level. We will run more bloodwork before deciding what else needs to be done for that (though he is, of course, getting no calcium supplement now and the kibble has a lower percentage than the previous kibble). I give my old guy a multivitamin once a week. He also requires a potassium supplement, which I administer four times a day. I give him a bicarb or two four times a day, but I use that with caution. Needs vary, depending on stress (heat or challenging activities) and hydration. He is close to anemic, so I'm giving him B vitamins with iron specifically formulated for dogs needing more health support. He's also on antibiotics now, not given with anything else. He is more sensitive to everything now, so I watch for changes throughout the day.
Bloodwork test results are just a snapshot of a very dynamic system. I appreciate the vets who want to treat the individual, not just the numbers. I've had many other b's who were much less sensitive than my old Fanconi boy (well, every other b has been less sensitive - this boy takes it all to a new level...). I've had senior non-Fanconi b's who, with all of the testing and interpretation now available, might have been diagnosed with kidney disease, though vet exams suggested no problems. I am very conscious, though, of hydration levels, adding more water to kibble if I'm even slightly concerned.
I've found a FaceBook group with files (with references) that are very helpful. I don't think you have to join to go through all of the files. They may also offer more advice if you join and post, but won't necessarily provide a specific diet: https://www.facebook.com/groups/211455130573/
I've had around a dozen Fanconi b's spend time in my home. Currently, I have an 11.5 year old Fanconi b boy who has been at stage 3 CKD for at least 4.5 years. He first came to me the day he was to be euthanized 5.5 years ago at 2/3 of his current 'healthy' weight. He was scheduled to be euthanized because of his poor condition. Just recently, he has tested at the top end of the range for stage 3 CKD, so I am just now modifying his diet. He has not been on a kidney diet for all of the years (5.5) that he has been with me. I did, however, always make sure that his meals were well-hydrated. He has been on a kibble diet with 26% protein - kibble always soaked in water prior to feeding (amount of water has been increased so that the relative moisture went from being like cooked food to raw food and now, with more water added, like renal canned food). His environment and handling has been much more important to his overall health than a kidney diet - he was extremely stressed and very untrusting of vets prior to his arrival here. He has a couple of other issues that are currently affecting his Fanconi (and kidney) condition.
While dealing with his issues and the kidney disease of other dogs, I've found that the knowledge and practice in the vetting community varies greatly and have seen varying consequences because of it. I've also found that getting the right supplies can be a challenge. It sounds like you are well-equipped to be your canine patient's advocate. Keep asking lots of questions. If you would like any more feedback from me, please let me know.
One of my b boys started having seizures a few years ago. He has them in pairs roughly every nine months. The first pair was just tonic (frozen) separated by a week. The second pair was tonic-clonic (grand mal) separated by a day. The third pair was also tonic-clonic, separated by ~12 hours. The disorientation period after is quite long and significant - he is frantically scrambling to get away from 'it' but can't even stand properly. He will flip himself all over the place. I keep pure frankincense oil (2mL from www.animaleo.info/a-to-f-singles.html) handy now. I put a drop on a finger to stick in his ear to stop the seizure in about 30 seconds (I know of parents who have had to do this for their child - it worked quickly for the child - as well as other b owners who have found it to stop seizures). Unfortunately, the disorientation period is still strong and long, very violent. I do recognize when his seizures are coming and can now get him in a safe, soft spot and safely hold him down (so that I don't get accidentally bitten and he doesn't hurt himself). Even though the disorientation period is quite violent and lengthy, the frequency is so low that I'm not willing to put him on medication at this point. I am working to minimize stress in our home, since that may have been a trigger for each of the pairs (we do a lot of fostering - the energy of some new arrivals can be stressful, so I'm working to make newbies happy faster...). I will repeat bloodwork after more time has passed to see if the values we saw after the last seizure were caused by the seizure or may have led to the seizures.
I know of owners whose vets have not used Hemopet (or MiSU). Many were determined to have hypothyroidism by most other labs, frequently based on testing just the T4 level. The basenjis were prescribed twice the dose as those of similar size, thyroid function, etc., as was recommended on Hemopet reports. At least one of those basenjis showed signs of HYPERthyroidism when prescribed medication based on results from other labs. . All of the basenjis who were prescribed the higher dose, then given half the dose and retested 4-6 weeks later with a full Thyroid5 panel at Hemopet, had thyroid values well within range per Hemopet and any symptoms of hyperthyroidism disappeared. Hemopet and MiSU adjust for breed - sitehounds have a lower normal T4 range than other breeds. Both Hemopet and MiSU have more information regarding 'proper' thyroid testing on their websites. It's worth reading information from both sites, http://www.hemopet.org/hemolife-diagnostics/veterinary-thyroid-testing.html and https://animalhealth.msu.edu/sections/endocrinology/Thyroid_Canine.php
I always vary feeding time a bit. It is a trick I learned after the first show with my horse... He was not a happy camper when one of his classes delayed dinner time. Being less rigid with the time and more rigid with a routine has made the time change a non-issue (though the horses have not had to learn to sit, they do have to wait for me to give the 'eat' signal before they get their grain like my b's have to wait for their 'eat' command).
I have had a few seizure experiences with basenjis. Two basenjis were just middle-aged in a friend's older home. They were in an environment that was musty/moldy. While some folks may have no issues living with a little musty or moldy smell, I am very sensitive and have significant reactions to even just a tiny amount. Over a period of two years, they showed neurological symptoms which increased to seizures that became more frequent during humid days. Each ended their life at a time when humidity was high with a seizure that couldn't even be stopped by the vet, who had suspected a neurological cancer. Their symptoms really seemed to be tied to warm, humid days, early in the season before AC was running to dry out the house. We didn't think of the humidity/mold connection until the second b had already died. The environment has now been corrected (dehumidifier as needed until it's time to run the AC...). No problems with other b's now.
One of my personal dogs had two 'frozen' seizures about a week apart. I couldn't figure out a trigger, though it may have been stress (we have a lot going on here). A year later, he had two grand mal seizures that lasted several minutes, the second longer than the first, just a day apart. I do think that it may have been stress-triggered, though I'm not sure if it was emotional or noise stress. We had a new foster b who had arrived here as a very angry, frustrated b boy, so frustrated when he arrived that the top of one of his paws was raw from where he had chewed it in his previous home. He was very loud and grating while expressing his angry emotions, more than any other foster we've had (and we've had a few really loud basenjis). I changed his space which made him settle more quietly and quickly (he turned into a really lovely, sweet b boy with perfect skin here and now delights his adopter). My guy didn't have another seizure.
I now keep 2mL of frankincense on hand just in case there is another seizure. I know of a few b owners who have used a drop of frankincense put in the ear by using a fingertip to stop a seizure within a few seconds. One of those b owners also used the frankincense to stop seizures that his child was having.
To avoid risks of dehydration, I soak dry kibble with at least an equal amount of hot water so that the hydration level is closer to 'real' meat. I had one foster b boy who would plug up because he didn't drink enough regularly. I was adding water before he plugged, but I wasn't adding that much and I wasn't waiting long enough to have all of the water soaked up into the kibble. Never had another problem with him once I started soaking the kibble more thoroughly.
I like the WebMaster harnesses from Ruffwear for escape artists. I use them with formerly feral or fearful basenjis. The formerly feral basenjis were able to pop out of both a tightly adjusted step-in harness and martingale collars even when wearing both at the same time. Nobody has gotten out of the WebMaster. The extra strap located further back keeps it quite secure, so much that most can be picked up by the harness when needed.
It looks like the low-riders here in FL are likely a basenji-dachshund mix. Though we really wish we could get the hoarder's dogs removed and sterilized, the adopters of the low-riders really enjoy the basenji vocals in the short package. They were all very chatty with their rooooing in their foster home. The pics here are of the first low-rider that came into rescue (face shot as a pup, side shot as an adult). When he was just a couple of months old, he did look like he was a basenji with dwarfism - short, thick legs. Here is a video clip of the low-rider mom's vocals shortly after she came into rescue:. Many of the low-riders tend to behave submissively (in a manipulative fashion to get what they want…), so they are constantly pulling their ears back. When they do focus forward, they have adorable little wrinkles. Most have a pretty good tail curl (a few even have a double curl), though a few tend to whip their tails around with so much excitement that their tails look like snakes lashing out randomly. Their basenji voices have been the envy of a few purebreds.
Looking forward to Calvin pics!
There is always a risk in having fun, but for most the reward is worth the risk. She has a momentary setback.
Since you mentioned her being a zombie for the first week on pain meds (but didn't mention which), I want to share my experiences with them. I've had more than 130 basenji fosters - lots of pain meds required for post-surgical sterilization procedures, etc., as well as various medical conditions the dogs have when they first arrive. Rimadyl is frequently prescribed by vets for pain. When I gave it to a couple of fosters, they became so lethargic that I would have taken them into the vet's or ER if they had progressed much further. I do know of others, including former fosters, that have died hours after taking just one more regular dose of Rimadyl. While there are always risks in life, there are other pain meds which have not produced such negative reactions in my fosters. I have used Tramadol for many more basenjis than I have ever used Rimadyl and have never had a reaction from the Tramadol (though I do have to hide it more carefully - very bitter taste!). I will not use Rimadyl for a basenji again. While it may be fine, I just don't want to take the risk based on the amount of reactions I've seen in the time that I have used it. There are other options. If you do use it, please watch your basenji very carefully and consider asking your vet for a different pain reliever if they do become lethargic or behavior changes significantly.
I would like to know what pain meds you were using, if you don't mind sharing the info. To keep life simple with so many fosters, I like to do everything in a manner that will be tolerated by all in the population. While, of course, there will be an exception here and there, if I see something is a problem multiple times, I will eliminate it from our routines.
Thanks for sharing!