Who would have thought a
Basenji could love snowy Alaska … they don't even like rain!
Well, you haven't met Athena!
During our search for a dog my husband and I
became intrigued by the Basenji. We thought it was a beautiful dog
and rushed to the library to find more information about the
breed. When we found only two older publications we turned to the
After searching many websites we discovered the BRAT
site. Wow! Even after reading the
Stories we decided that this was the breed for us.
Because we were so saddened and touched by the stories
of these dogs in need, we decided to adopt a Basenji from BRAT. And this
is where we saw Athena for the first time!
Her picture and story made our
hearts melt and we thought, "This beautiful girl has seen the
worst. As her new family we are going to show her the
At three years old, Athena was rescued from a
puppy mill near Modesto, where she lived in a deplorable
After we read about her, we knew it was meant to be
and said, Athena's the one! We were absolutely certain we could give her
the best home ever in Alaska and soon she was on her way to the igloo
Seeing Athena in her crate for the first time, I
thought to myself, "This is our new dog; she's so
Athena has come a long way from the wild-eyed
puppy-mill dog she was when we got her. At first you couldn't get near
her—she was so shy and wanted nothing to do with us -- so we talked
to her a lot and after a few days she let me touch her. When she started
to cuddle with me on the couch my heart melted into a giant puddle. It
took longer for her to warm up to my husband. It was a great day for us
when she decided he was an ok guy and got up on the couch to cuddle with
Athena loves to play and loves to be chased around our
yard. She also loves to play with the cats. Although we had been warned
about how destructive Basenjis can be, she is perfect when she's alone
in the house or car. We like to think it's because she's so comfortable
in her "forever" home.
Now, I'll bet you're asking, What
about Basenjis in the snow in Alaska; does she play in the snow?
Well, she tromps through the snow like humans walk in the surf. We
take Athena walking, snow shoeing, and skiing in the snow. Who
would have thought a Basenji could thrive in Alaska? … we
Crissy and Bob Beauvais
Not long ago, Augie, was rescued from a home where he
had been confined to the yard with little shelter for the years—he is now eleven.
In late March of this year, I lost my beloved
Nikko. Nikko was rescued from a local shelter – he was thought to be about a
year old. When I decided to try that “little reddish brown and white dog”, I
asked the shelter staff what breed it might be. They looked at a chart on
the wall and said it was a Basenji. Whatever. Little did I know! When I took
him home he would leap from one level of the house to another. Interesting,
I thought – very active dog! So I went on the Internet and did a little
research and realized I had acquired an interesting but challenging dog.
One-on-one and classical music calmed the beast and we lived, for the most
part, in harmony for the next ten years.
But back to Augie. After Nikko died, I was surfing the net
and came upon the BRAT site and there I came face-to-face with Augie. It
seemed like a perfect match – a geriatric dog for a geriatric owner – he was
eleven and I had just turned eighty – a quiet senior dog for a reasonably
quiet senior. I filled out the application, had my home visit and everyone
agreed it was a suitable match. However, the reality of Augie was somewhat
different than my expectations. Augie has the energy of a dog half his age
and he is all Basenji. Kleenex is his favorite and he will fight you for it.
Shortly after Augie arrived, I left him in the car with the windows partly
open (a nice spring day) and a chew toy. I went into a school meeting and
was shortly alerted to the fact that my car alarm was on. Indeed it was.
Augie had also opened the lever for the gas tank and chewed some of the
plastic molding. Fortunately, it is an old car. Augie does not like being
left in the car for more than five or ten minutes.
had another interesting experience with Augie. One day, I returned home from
shopping and Augie greeted me warmly anxious to see what might be in the
various parcels. My last stop was to return an unsatisfactory item and,
being in a bit of a rush, I stuffed the $20 bill and two fives in the top of
my purse. On returning home, I placed my purse on a lazy-boy chair and began
unpacking the groceries. When I turned around, I noticed Augie was chewing
something. He was chewing a $20 dollar bill! He had gone into my purse and
took the $20 just resting on top. Since he is a dog of good taste and high
living, he took the $20 and ignored the two fives! However, this saga has a
positive ending since Augie was good enough to leave the serial number of
the $20 bill intact and the bank replaced it.
However, let’s not dwell on the negative. Augie has a
charming personality. He does the Basenji dance and shakes his tail. He
loves his stuffed animals and doesn’t chew them – only mouths them, throws
them up in the air and catches them or will play tug-of-war with you. He is
well behaved at the groomers to have his nails trimmed and is easy to vet.
Overall, he is a great companion as we march into the sunset.
There is a long list of people to thank for bringing Augie
to his “forever home”. First, the BRAT organization itself, his foster mom,
Linda Webb-Hilliard, her sister Betty Webb who did the actual rescue, and
Sibylle Michel who did the home visit and the last leg of his transport to
Perth, Ontario. Also, a special thank you to all those involved in
transporting Augie from Kentucky to Canada and to the foster home who cared
for him overnight during the transport.
Judging from the photo, I think everyone will agree that
Augie has found his place in the sun and hopefully his senior years will
make up for some of the deprivations he experienced prior to the BRAT
Hello, my name is Bambi Feldman. I am a beautiful (so I’m
told) Basenji girl. My human parents (Andrew and Sandra) adopted me on
September 7, 2002 from BRAT. Before my adoption, Paula Harshberger was my
foster parent. At the time, I was 6 years old and my human companion had
passed away. I was very upset and longed for a forever home again. My
parents found me on the BRAT website and set up a meeting with my foster mom
(Paula) to meet me. Andrew and Sandra drove four hours to Tampa, Florida and
brought Rudy, my Basenji brother with them. We met at a dog park and I
greeted them as soon as they arrived. All I wanted to do was run and run.
Rudy and I got along immediately. I was so friendly with my parents and Rudy
so they took me home that same day.
have been so happy throughout the years. My human parents recently got
married and I am expecting a human brother in January. I can’t wait for him
to arrive, but I know I will have to share more attention and we all know
how much I thrive for attention. I still misbehave sometimes. My mother and
father still have to hide the garbage can because I love knocking it over
and eating all of its treasures.
Now, five years later, I am still enjoying life with my
Not only do I have Rudy to play with now, I also have my
sister Chihuahua (Kiara) and my silly sister cats (Gabby and Myla). Kiara
gives me a run for my money. If it wasn’t for BRAT I would have never found
my loving forever home. I am truly grateful to BRAT and my human parents.
are writing this letter to regretfully inform you that we are having a
problem in our new home and we would appreciate your immediate intervention
in the matter. When we first came to this new family we were quite happy,
despite there being a large, yellow, hairy dog already in residence. He
turned out to not be so bad and we rather liked him. This new home was quite
comfortable, there is always a patch of sunshine somewhere to lie in, and
when it’s cold there are lovely fireplaces to warm in front of. The humans
share our bed with us and that works out very nicely because they always
move out of the way when they are taking up too much room!
There is almost always some human here to let us in and
out a million times a day and to cuddle with us on the couch and if one of
the resident humans isn’t here the “grandma” comes over and takes us for a
walk and pays attention to us. So as you can see this has been an ideal
place for us until recently.
we first came here the food and treats seemed to rain down out of the sky!
There was much fuss made about our bones sticking out and our coats being in
poor condition. It seemed we couldn’t turn a corner without somebody
offering us something wonderful to eat and encouraging us to chow down to
our hearts content! Well, this has all come to a tragic halt. There are
rarely treats anymore and, if we’re not mistaken, we could swear our
regular rations have been cut back a little. We have heard comments about
Sati looking a little “Rubenesque” and that “extra weight” is bad for our
health! If we’re lucky we get a little greenie once in a while to “freshen”
our breath. There’s nothing wrong with our breath as we had our teeth
cleaned shortly after we arrived at this new house!
final straw occurred on the Fourth of July. Many people came to the house
and they were all very nice and made a proper fuss over how cute we were.
But not one of them offered to share a single piece of chicken or a rib with
us. Our resident humans told them not to!! They told them that scraps are
bad for us, and that we’re getting “too fat”!!! That’s when we realized that
this situation is reaching crisis proportions and we needed help from a
Now we want you to understand that it hasn’t been all
taking on our part since we’ve arrived. We seem to have brought these humans
a great deal of joy. They always say what nice dogs we are and how much they
love having us and taking us for little strolls in the park. Sadly, the dog
that was in residence when we arrived passed away a few months back and we
offered great comfort to these humans during that difficult time. We cuddled
with them and licked the tears from their faces. They often stated that they
don’t know what they would have done if they didn’t have us. We also have
helped with the grief they were experiencing over a Basenji they tragically
lost to a car months before we arrived.
These people really seem to just enjoy our company. So you
see, we don’t feel that it’s asking too much that the original feeding
regimen be continued. We are old ladies and we just want to enjoy our
retirement in peace without any of this “it’s not good for you” nonsense.
Please don’t misinterpret our wishes. We have no desire to change
households. We realize we are part of the family here and that these poor
humans would be lost without us. We just want you to straighten them out
about the treats! We have included pictures that show how politely we were
asking for the ribs and chicken on the Fourth of July and how badly we
really wanted them. The pictures will help you understand how dire the
situation has become. Please intervene as soon as possible.
Bes and Sati Hall
I admit it: I was dog crazy. After having grown up with dogs, all I
really wanted was a furry baby of my own to train (ha!), play catch with
(ha-ha!), and cuddle with (well, okay). In 2006, on our first trip to
the pet store to 'scope out' breeds, with the good intentions of going
home and adopting a rescue, my husband, Mike, spotted the only quiet
thing in the place: A little curly-tailed, tri-colored Basenji girl.
When the store owner told us what wonderful pets these bark-less,
shed-less, well-behaved Basenjis were, we thought we had found the
'perfect' dog, and we walked out the door with our little Reef that same
day. Boy, were we in for a surprise! Several pillows, mini-blinds,
couch-arms, and a kitchen counter-top later, we finally learned how to
live in peace with our little 'devil dog,' and in the process we
realized how much we love her.
about a year with our affectionate, playful little Basenji girl, Mike
and I began to notice one important thing: SHE STILL HAD SO MUCH
ENERGY!! We decided that Reef needed a Basenji playmate-- Enter: BRAT.
From the moment I saw Biko on the webpage, I felt that he would be
perfect for our family; he just needed a lot of love. Although he was
only six months old, Biko had a history of being very afraid of people
because he had not been handled much, and had been destructive in his
prior two homes. His wonderful BRAT foster family had already made some
positive strides with him, and Mike and I were up for the rest of the
we brought him home last Christmas, Biko was terrified of anyone
touching him, and it took us nearly thirty minutes of coaxing just to
get him on a leash every time he had to go potty. He was particularly
afraid of young men & boys -- which we discovered when we took him to
the beach, and he actually barked! He did, however, bond instantly with
Reef, and quickly learned to emulate her affectionate behaviors towards
us. Gradually, Biko has become completely comfortable with Mike and I
touching him, cuddling him, picking him up, and even giving him baths
(yikes!). He has developed into a much more confident dog than I had
ever thought possible, and is beginning to even let our friends approach
him and pet him. Surprisingly, Biko has turned into quite the
affectionate little waggy-tail boy, never letting us out of his sight
when we play outside, giving us face-baths with his tongue, and always
wanting to be touching us in some way. And, especially when he wakes up
in the morning, we have discovered that our funny little boy loves to
roll on his back and 'talk' to us!
days, Biko spends his time hunting seagulls and playing with the big
dogs on the beach (he's faster than they are!), sitting in the sun on
our enclosed front porch, playing catch with Mike (he actually brings
toys back!), or, as always, doing the Basenji 500 all over the house
with Reef. At night, he loves to wiggle himself right in between Mike
and I in bed, and frequently I wake up in the morning to find Biko's
head on the pillow next to mine. As for destructive behavior, we've
never seen it -- unless you count the fact that Reef has taught Biko how
to properly raid the bathroom garbage for tissues! It's been almost a
year since Biko has come into our family, and Mike and I couldn't be
happier with our two wonderful Basenji children. Thank you, BRAT!
Kristen and Mike Ayres
adopted a 16-month-old Brody in March 2006. He had not had a good 16
months before we met him (abandoned by his first owner and then
mistreated by his second owner) but he was still loving and gentle....
He instantly bonded with us as he road the 2 hours from our pick up
site. By the end of the night he was snuggling with us in bed and he
still sleeps with us (makes the rounds from boys room to our room) in
has become a huge part of our family! He sleeps with us and takes care
of us when we're sick—he'll cuddle on the couch all day, if needed—he
supports the boys at the soccer field, loves to protect the house from
those evil fuzzy-tailed invaders in the yard (AKA squirrels), LOVES
pizza crust, and walking in the neighborhood and military park. He is
such a cutie, sweetie pie and he loves EVERYONE and expects EVERYONE to
love and pet him. He has a bandanna that reads "Don't just stand there
demands a 2-mile walk daily with his "mom" ... And let me tell you he
has rock star status in the neighborhood. Some of our neighbors don't
know our names but they know Brody's name! The kids love him and have to
pet him every time he comes by! One neighbor keeps dog treats for Brody
even though he doesn't have a dog himself. Brody is a great ambassador
for BRAT and the Basenji breed. He has stolen our hearts and we cannot
even fathom life without him even though he can be a BASENJI at
times.... He is very vocal and talks to us a lot which we enjoy...
has blessed our lives in so many many ways.... And we are very thankful
to BRAT for introducing him to us. We are so enjoying him; my boys enjoy
having a dog that is young and playful, even though he has eaten his
share of electronic cables and controllers. I think Brody thinks my
youngest son is another Basenji litter mate, LOL!
I must go, the "boss" is banging on the front door. There are squirrels
to chase and bushes to pee on! Thank you for letting us share our love
for our special BRAT, Brody! Thank you to BRAT for bringing this
wonderful dog into our lives!
I thought you'd all like to see this side-by-side
before and after photo of Camo, the little guy that was pulled from the
SPCA up near Ottawa, Canada just six weeks ago. He was the one that
barely looked like a dog, much less a Basenji.
This photo's a pretty graphic reminder of how big a
difference BRAT can make in the life of one small dog. In case you
haven't heard it today, thank you for being there for dogs like Camo,
even when you don't always get to be part of the enjoyable or rewarding
stuff involved with fostering.
P.S. Camo wagged his tail today :)
2006 we were looking for a dog to complete our family. We have two
children who were six and eight and we all love animals, but due to the
military lifestyle, we were without any pets. After searching for just
the right breed, we found the BRAT website and tried for a couple of
adoptions. We just could not seem to find a match. Then in August there
was a mother and daughter pair that were looking for a forever home. I
applied and everything happened really fast. I drove nearly 20 hours
roundtrip to Tennessee to pick them up and bring them home the weekend
before school started in the fall.
is the mother and a beautiful red & white, while Katy is the baby and is
a beautiful black & white girl. During the first few months there were
several power struggles at our house. They both understood that the
parents were top dog, but they were not sure about the kids and the dogs
would see just how far they could push. Charm especially wanted to be
top dog and would challenge the kids if she could.
had a very old couch that needed to be replaced and found that exposed
stuffing made them go completely insane. They shredded the couch and
forced the purchase of new one. Although both of them can be very house
destructive, they are happy to be left in their crate while we are away
and that is the safest place for them. They both love being outdoors,
but will be escape artists if left alone.
have been the proud parents of the girls for well over two years and
none of us can imagine life without them. They are sweet cuddlers, they
are both very active and playful; and we have enjoyed their company very
much. Basenji’s are not for every family, but they fit in with our
family very well.
began looking for a new home after my husband retired from the military
and whenever we look at a house, we always consider how the girls will
like the yard, neighborhood. They are part of our family.
to the arrival of Puzzles in October 2001, we were owned by a typically
active, 22-month-old Basenji boy named Cisco.
started considering a playmate for Cisco when we realized we were having
a heck of a time keeping up with him during his extended periods of
carefully considered the implications of a two-Basenji household and
then contacted BRAT to inquire about adopting a rescue. We soon found
ourselves browsing the rescue pages, looking at all of the choices and
wanting to adopt each and every dog! Holding ourselves in check, we
sought a female, a bit older than Cisco.
Puzzles, a 2½-year-old
female, was available and being fostered in our state, awaiting a
forever family. After going through the very simple adoption process we
were approved and a meeting was set up with Puzzles′ foster mom. The
first meeting went extremely well and Puzzles came home with us that
day. At home, as we settled into our usual daily routines, we were
subjected to about 10 hours of non-stop running and playing in the
house. We grew concerned and wondered if adding a second Basenji to our
home was the right decision. What would we do now? The dogs were so
excited they wouldn't settle down!
Finally, Miss Puzzles ventured onto my lap where she made herself
comfortable and went to sleep.
over four months later, things have quieted down. The "kids" now have a
normal routine and we couldn't be happier with our decision to add Miss
Puzzles to our family. She now spends her days alternately chasing
squirrels and/or Cisco around our back yard. She is a welcome addition
to our family and we can't imagine our life without her. As an added
bonus, we're happy that we were able to "rescue" this little gem and
call her our own.
had wanted a Basenji for quite a few years. My dad saw them when he was
in Africa, and always talked how unique they were. Although we talked
about getting a rescue, our first Basenji was a puppy we adopted in May
is quite a handful, so when I suggested getting another Basenji, my
husband was not really ready. We kept looking on the BRAT website,
although Joe was still not sure about the whole thing. I said let's just
fill out an application and see what happens.
our surprise, Heather contacted us the next day about a dog in the area
that seemed like a good match. After a few phone calls and visits, we
brought home a beautiful tri-colored boy named Dillon. Dillon's foster
mother said it might take some time for him to warm up to us, since he
had been through so much in the last year. Within a few minutes of
arriving at home, he fit right in with the rest of the family. It's a
lot of fun to watch Misha and Dillon play. They both have given us so
much joy. We laugh so hard that sometimes we cry. Misha has tried to
teach Dillon some bad habits, like getting the newspaper out of the
recycle bin or getting the T-paper. However, when Misha gets the towels
off the rack or cloths out of the hamper, Dillon will take them from her
and bring them to me. Getting a Basenji rescue was such a great thing;
it was more then we had hoped for. I know Misha is glad.
Cheryl and Joe Simpson
my first girl passed, I contacted BRAT requesting to adopt again. I
specifically asked for a girl who'd come from a difficult background,
adding that "cosmetics" didn't matter.
Three days later, I was given a chance to adopt a two
year-old Basenji girl who was then called "Cleo." I renamed her Dinah,
because she was very much like the main character in the book The Red
Tent. Although she had endured a horror story of unimaginable abuse
and neglect, her sweet spirit remained.
Thus began ten years of indescribable joy. Dinah,
supposed to be the vulnerable one, saw me through a number of medical
difficulties, including four strokes. I was supposed to be her rock, and
I was, but she was also my rock.
She was a "common girl"—not a "pampered" show dog with
perfect lines and markings. From the moment I first saw her, she was the
most beautiful of all God's creatures to my eyes.
My Dinah had to leave too soon. God wanted her with
Him. I let go ungracefully with enormous, undignified grieving, but as
the days pass, each one includes a few more happy memories, and fewer
My little Dinah, my best girl, I will love you always
and never forget you. Be patient ... I'll get there when I can.
lost our 16-year-old red & white male, Congo, in April 2009. Our 6
½-year-old tri-colored female, Bandit, went into a deep depression. Even
constant trips to the river brought little happiness to her life. She
moped around and we worried she could die of a broken heart.
immediately signed up to adopt from BRAT. To my surprise, I got a call
less than 2 months later saying a young male was available and was I
still interested. Luckily for us, the person who usually fosters was on
vacation and could I take him now?
came to us on May 31st. Bandit snarked and was a little put out at first
but I told her that now she knows how Congo felt when we brought her
home to live with us!!! His previous owner had 2 big dogs and Hunter
wrestles with Bandit like he is a big dog. Bandit has had to put him in
his place but he is learning to be sweet with her. As you can see from
the picture, he loves to sleep with his head on her!
changed Jake's name to Hunter because he didn't even know his name and
was not a Jake anyways.
had to get Hunter a bright red collar so we could tell them apart. They
are almost twins! We aren't sure if Bandit is big for a female or if
Hunter is small for a male. Maybe, a little of both.
Megan, our BRAT volunteer, said she thinks he knew he was home when they
pulled in our driveway. He came to us at a time when we all needed him
as much as he needed us. He is the sweetest little pup who just wanted
love and attention, and he has found it in his forever home.
little tricolor girl's name is Kenya. She came to live with us in June
2006, after being rescued by BRAT with her brother, Congo. They
were originally from Texas. The dogs' former human mother gave them to BRAT and they were moved to a
wonderful foster home in Michigan. The foster people there had five of their
own Basenjis, so Kenya and Congo learned to be independent of each
family had lost our little red Basenji girl awhile back and we were
starting to look for a new little girl. One of the BRAT coordinators
thought Kenya might be a perfect match. She was so right! Kenya is the
friendliest and cuddliest Basenji we've ever had. She is our fifth
Basenji. Four have been BRAT rescues. She gets along well with
our brindle boy, who is her age, and also our fourteen-year-old red and
brother Congo also found a good home near the foster home, so this story
has two happy endings!
Rev JK 02/26/12
adopted Khaki, an eight year old brindle and white boy in April, 2011.
It seems that Sammy was
misunderstood and was going to be put down. My husband and I are suckers
for the dogs that have come from difficult backgrounds.
adopting Khaki, he has adjusted very well in our home. He and our other
dog Sam get
along really well now. They enjoy chasing the squirrels around the yard,
playing fetch, and lounging in the sun. Khaki is such a good boy and we
love him so much. He has learned how to roll over to get his belly
rubbed. He loves it so much he just wiggles around on his back.
can now remain out of the crate when we leave the house. We still have
him go in there for breakfast and dinner though.
loves to lounge around the house with us. He snuggles up as close as he
can to you ... or I should say it’s more like a
so happy we rescued Khaki. He’s such a loveable boy. He pins us down
while we’re sitting on the couch and cleans our ears, eyes, and
you so much for giving us the opportunity to adopt Khaki.
Rev JK 02/26/12
20th, 2007 was Linus’s first anniversary in his new forever home. He was
a little worried that he might be too old for most people, but ten years
old was just about right for us two senior citizens. We had just lost
our Basenji after ten years, at the age of 13, and after a three-month
hiatus in our family; Linus was the perfect addition to our home to fill
the void. Transportation was no problem, his foster home was only 1 ½
Linus’s previous home was growing up with a ten-year-old girl until it
was time for her to leave home. At that time he also had to find a new
place to live. He has found it with us and he entertains us with his
antics. Watch out for your wash cloth and bath towel, because Linus
likes to wash his face every morning and then dry it in the towel. Even
when visiting he will make use of towels hanging on a doorknob.
had to do some training himself and he insists that I have to pay a
ransom to get into my bed at night. If I call him he will jump off the
bed and shake hands with me in order to receive his treat. This gives me
the opportunity to jump into bed and get under the covers. If I forget
to play the game, he will vigorously defend the territory (my bed) and
not let me in.
Before we got to know Linus, we did not know if we could trust him home
alone so we left him in a crate. Much to our dismay, we would find any
cloth lining the crate in shreds by the time we returned. We did not
think he was distressed being locked in the crate, he willingly entered
and received his treat and when we returned he was happy to see us. To
investigate the reason for the shredding, I set up a video camera one
day, and to our horror we saw for ourselves how unhappy he was during
our absence. He started by whining, then trying to get out and
eventually shredding the towel, rug or sheet inside the cage. Needless
to say, we folded up the crate, and have never had a reason to regret
leaving him free in the house while we were away.
Adopting an older dog means there may be some psychological problems the
reasons for which we don’t understand. Since we never will understand,
we accept him as he is and enjoy him as a permanent member of the
Martha A. Covi
have been a Basenji person since I was a child and attended a summer
camp in Connecticut that had about 500 screaming kids and one red and
white Basenji named Barkus. I was always impressed by how that dog could
bob and weave and avoid being petted by hundreds of clamoring kids. I
was impressed at a young age by the breed's look, and attitude as well
as its aloof-ness (if that is a word).
family has had several Basenjis over the years and unfortunately become
quite familiar with health issues like Fanconi Syndrome, brain tumors
and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) but we have always had a continued
affection for the breed. When our (now 8 year old) brindle Basenji
Beezley was stricken with PRA and went blind at one year of age we
struggled with the idea of possibly placing him for adoption but
thankfully decided to keep him and have never regretted that decision.
(He was 2/3 new African gene pool and came down with an entirely new
version of early-onset PRA)
the spring of 2006 we saw a listing for "Daisy" through the BRAT
network. We weren't exactly looking for a companion Basenji at the time
but she looked like she needed a good home and we had lots of room, a
fenced yard and plenty of things to chew on. We visited "Daisy" at
Barbara Narehood's home and brought our blind Basenji Beezley and our
kids for a visit. Beezley seemed rather unaffected by the whole deal and
was his average grumpy old self. We ended up passing the audition and
took "Daisy" home with us. The only problem was that we already had a
mixed breed dog by the name of "Daisy," so on the ride home we decided
to rename our new girl Lola after hearing Copacabana on the radio and
simply, because she just looked like a Lola.
Traditionally, most Basenji adoption candidates have issues with young
children (we have an 13 and a 8 year old), but Lola is different, she
loves everybody. Our kids have been raised with Basenjis and are very
savvy to their idiosyncrasies. They know all about "snarking," grumpy
sleep issues and food aggression.
turned out to be more of a cat than a Basenji: She can effortlessly
stroll from the tops of furniture just like a feline. Happily she has
none of the traditional Basenji bad habits. In fact she has been the
best behaved Basenji we have ever had (if you disregard the chewing the
noses off of any stuffed animal she can find, the recent gnawing of all
of the drawers of a desk my wife was in the process of restoring, or the
waking up like clockwork, 8 minutes before the alarm is set to go off no
matter what time you have it set for) She loves to snuggle and has no
snarking or grumpy issues about being awakened. In fact we think she is
somewhat narcoleptic because when she falls asleep, she is completely
unconscious till morning.
is a photo of Lola in action (or inaction as it may be). She fell asleep
on a blanket on the couch next to our son. After a short while we came
back in the room and found the two of them like this, happily snoring
I wanted to write a success
story for you guys as I can't tell you how pleased I am with the BRAT
My Grandmother's spoken love for Basenjis during my
childhood is what originally sparked my interest in the breed. As I grew,
the memories of her made me begin searching on the internet for these "barkless
dogs". I quickly found BRAT and wanted to help. I was just a poor college
student at the time and wanted to make a difference in whatever way I could.
I contacted a local BRAT sponsor that told me how I could get involved. I
made a few long drives to get some Basenjis out of some less-than-desirable
situations and find them new homes. I fostered them until BRAT had a new
family all lined up for them. I quickly fell for the unique characteristics
of the breed my Grandmother had described.
As I began to get ready to move back home in late 2004
from college, I began thinking about my parents’ giant back yard and how I
could help give a Basenji a permanent home. Then, I was picking up a
6-month-old red & white BRAT rescue from a town nearby, I took her home to
foster her. It was a matter of minutes before I knew she would be mine
forever. Makaela is now about to turn 5 on January 16th, 2009. She is
gorgeous, way too smart for her own good, perhaps the most spoiled dog in
history and the biggest BRAT in the world.
Makaela runs with me all the time and worships my
14-year-old black lab rescue to this day. She hates wet grass and cold
weather, and wants to be with company at all times. I'm getting married in
July and Makaela now enjoys my fiancé’s affection more than my own during
movie time. She has a brand new (to her) huge backyard and a house all to
herself for the time being (although that may change as we look to adopt
another dog down the road). She's fully trained and we are considering doing
some agility training for fun soon.
She has been one of the best things that has ever happened
to me and my family. My Grandmother's (Marie) death in 1996 due to cancer
was a hard thing to deal with, but each day I wake up and see Makaela Marie
sitting next to my bed and know my grandma is smiling down on us.
I couldn't be happier with my decision to help such a
wonderful organization like BRAT and Makaela, I look forward to a long life
Thanks for everything you do.
moved away from home for graduate school, I miss my friends, family and of
course, my dogs very much. Because I wanted a companion to make my new place
feel more like home, I looked at BRAT and found Nugget.
Nugget is such an awesome little Basenji boy and it was so
sad that he didn't have a permanent home at 11 years old. Having had him
since February, I can't image why anyone gave up such a little ball of
excitement and awesomeness. Because Nugget is older and calmer, he's an
amazing match for my schedule being in class and he's always well behaved.
a day goes by where Nugget doesn't make me laugh. It's especially
entertaining when he pushes the pillows around on the bed to dig to China.
Whether he is balled up on the couch with his nose tucked in his feet or he
is rolling around in the sheets on the bed asking for belly rubs, he's my
grad school buddy and I don't know what I'd do without him. He even got to
meet my girlfriend and she's fallen in love with him just as much as I have.
All Nugget ever wanted is a bed to sleep in, some treats
and a person to snuggle with. I'm glad I can provide him with all of the
We had been thinking about adding a smaller dog to our
pack, and Basenjis looked interesting. The more I researched the breed,
the more apparent it became that a Basenji could definitely complicate our
life, so I put the idea on hold.
I discovered BRAT during my research, and volunteered to
transport a rescue dog. Most of our animals are rescues, so this was
appealing. In February, a BRAT coordinator asked me to help evaluate and
transport a dog living in a nearby town. I mentioned that I might be
interested in adopting, and filled out the Foster Contract, since I would
be picking up the dog from her present family.
She was happily living with a family who had
six children, so it was a given she was good with kids. Their cat was
another story, however, and was now residing in the garage until the small
intruder with the curly tail moved on.
I knew from the Foster Contract that a crate was the
preferable way to safely contain a Basenji, so I was surprised and
concerned to learn she was being tied to the doorknob with a leather lead
and a choke chain. The hair on her neck was worn off from the collar, and
she looked a little rough, but she seemed like a happy girl. The owners
had tried to use a wire crate, but she tore her face up trying to escape
so they resorted to tying her.
I wasn't at all sure what I was getting myself into, but
decided to pick her up after work on Friday which would give us the
weekend to get her used to her plastic crate before I had to leave her on
Monday. Meanwhile, my husband had read the Basenji horror stories, and
wasn't too keen on having our two older cats harassed by the "little
Over the weekend she was introduced to her crate, where
the meals were great and treats abounded. On Monday it was time for her to
spend the day in it. I felt like I was leaving a toddler in daycare for
the first time—the guilt. When I returned early in the afternoon, I was
relieved to see her face and toenails intact. No blood, no trauma, just a
happy little girl named Rio ready to play with the big dogs and chase a
cat or two if she got the opportunity. Boy, was BRAT ever right to insist
on the crate. What a relief to know she and our house would be in one
piece when I got home.
My husband and I were rapidly falling for
this little clown. I decided to take Rio on a road trip I had planned
before she was in the picture. It was just Rio and me on the road for nine
days. This was my idea of bliss. We camped and stayed in motels where she
was welcome. She was the perfect traveling companion. She was tagged and
micro-chipped, and I was careful to keep her hooked to her seat to avoid
an escape. When we got back, we formalized Rio's adoption, since she was
now home for good. She proved to me that a rescue dog is not necessarily a
problem dog, just one who might have not been in the right place to begin
This weekend she'll meet her Basenji cousin C.J.
dogs look out!
I just wanted to let everyone know the Happy Ending story
that I have had with my wonderful, hardheaded, temperamental, jealous,
controlling, genius, playful, mischievous, dog/cat/three-year-old child
I rescued Roscoe through BRAT in February 1999, or maybe
he rescued me? He had been with a family that did not have the time to care
for him, and he was offered through the service. I picked him because he was
only two hours from home and he was young; but it had to be fate.
has been a loyal member of our family for over ten years now. The photo of
him at right was taken this month. We have had our ups and downs, but all in
all the experience has been wonderful. Even at his "advanced" age of 12
years old he is still the consummate escape artist. Recently my heart was
broken, when he managed to escape from a new detention facility I had
erected on the back patio so he could enjoy being outside without the fear
of getting wet. He decided the facility was not to his liking and escaped.
Two days later he was found in the company of the local doggie jail. He was
recovered no worse for wear, and all the comments I received were positive
about his behavior while resorting at their facility. The big surprise came
when I told them he was over 12 years old. They thought maybe four or five.
I tell the story of his escape to tell all those adopting
a Basenji that the stories of their eccentricities are not rumors. Basenjis
are great companions not pets, and they expect to be treated as such. They
never grow weary of their mischievousness, and your life will be fuller with
their presence in it.
Long Live Roscoe; Long Live the King.
Sammy came to us a few
months ago, skinny, a little shy, and full of curiosity. Today,
Sammy is still full of curiosity, but no longer skinny or shy. He
the most well behaved Basenji I have ever owned and the most
affectionate. Though near-perfect Sammy, like most Basenjis, love
to shred paper and the kids have to make sure their coloring books
are out of reach. He doesn't chew clothing so we overlook the
paper thing. Ha, ha, ha.When Sammy first arrived, he chased our cat Boo
constantly. Now they chase each other! Boo is quite fond of Sammy and
rubs against him like she does everybody else in the family, including
our 70-pound Doberman pincher, Shanzi!
Shanzi loves her new Basenji playmate too. They have a
great time in the yard chasing each other and they love to cuddle on the
couch with my husband and me after the kids are in bed.
The dogs have their own sofa on the screened in porch
and I often find the two of them out there, together; Shanzi taking up
the whole couch and Sammy, curled up on the top of the cat's scratching
post, where there is the most sun.
We take the kids to the park at least twice a week and
Sammy goes with us. Because of his sweet manners Sammy has met many
friends at the park and has a growing "following". He sits
quietly to be petted and takes the treats they bring him very gently.
While his rescue and
placement may be ordinary to others, it's extraordinary to us. He
has brought extra wonder and love into our lives. His delightful
cross-eyed stare makes me smile whenever I see it, and his happy
yodel makes everyone laugh! Having him as part of our family gives
me extra pleasure because he reminds me of the person that
first introduced me to these wonderful dogs, my Dad.
Although Dad has been gone from my life for two years now, every time I
look at Sammy, I am reminded of my father. He would have been delighted
with Sammy. I know we are! And this will always be his forever home.
My search for another
Basenji, and my discovery of BRAT
and Sarah, began after my first Basenji, Colborne, died at the ripe old
age of 17. Thunder, Colborne's nephew, now alone and distraught, began
rearranging furniture, chewing through doorways and howling and screaming
for hours when I went out. He clearly needed a Basenji buddy.
At first I passed over Sarah because she
sounded like too much trouble! Her description read: 8 years old; doesn't
like teens; growls at anyone approaching; seems to be losing her vision;
overweight due to a thyroid condition.
But there was something that appealed to be about Sarah
and I couldn't quite forget about her. I kept going back to look at the
picture of this stout black and white female and began to focus on her
positive attributes: Gets on well with older people (I'm 42 and remember
when I was 20 and thought 42 was ancient!); yodels incessantly; loves her
food; cuddles once she knows you.
I applied for Sarah and won! That's how I felt, like she
was this giant, rewarding prize.
Sarah was living in Texas and was gently and patiently
fostered by Marilyn Sterling. Sarah's trip to our home in Brampton,
Ontario was quite amazing! She got a "direct flight" from Texas
to Brampton aboard Lyle Sterling's oil truck. No one can tell me this
wasn't meant to be.
Amazing is not how I would describe Thunder's reaction
to Sarah's arrival. Not in the positive sense, anyway. It wasn't easy
between the two of them in the beginning. With patience, diligence and a
lot of help from Marilyn, BRAT staff, my Basenji mentor, and Basenji
Companions, we worked through the discord. It took about two months for
Thunder to appreciate Sarah's presence and company. This is truly a happy
Thunder is back to his old self and Sarah reminds me of
a little circus bear. She dances! She yodels! And she is a very easy going
and joyful b-girl! So what if she has taught Thunder how delicious paper
products are? She is precious and sweet, and we now have lot more to love
about our household.
We lost our beloved 16-yr-old Basenji Vinnie in Sept 2009
and were not planning on adding another dog to our family as we still had
another geriatric Basenji at home; plus the loss of Vinnie was still very
raw. But being a Basenji lover I still went out to BRAT to look (actually I
had been doing it for a couple of years). Just looking, mind you, not
adopting. I came upon Scooby and one look into his eyes and something just
pulled us. I had to contact BRAT. That was May 17, 2010.
We drove from Tulsa to Rolla, Missouri that Memorial
weekend to meet Scooby. He is the most beautiful brindle we have ever seen.
We loaded him into the backseat and his new older brother Joji in the front
seat (laying in Mom’s lap). By the time we got to Tulsa, Scooby was also in
his new Mom’s lap. He is very good at the Basenji slide and making sure he
He insisted on letting his new brother know that he was
now in charge, but that has changed to just wanting to wrestle and rough
play. Joji isn’t too interested, so that usually means either Mom or Papa
have to intervene on his behalf.
Scooby loves being outside in his backyard; I think he
considers it his kingdom. He sits on top of the patio table surveying and
listening to everything. He even caught a bunny not long after coming to
live with us. Papa made sure it got away though. The yard isn’t too big but
he can get up to speed running the back fence with the neighbor dog. They
try so hard to see each other through the privacy fence but he does not dig
or try to escape.
He is so smart and well behaved. He seems to have had some
training in manners. He sits while his meals are made and will always yodel
at me if I seem to be taking too long. He loves to give the “high four”
(doggie version of the high five) before he eats. He knows sit, down, off,
and back and will even speak when asked questions concerning food.
He now weighs in at 26.8 pounds. He is not overweight by
any means, just tall, very big built and muscular. We call him Scooby the
Bull. Everyone who sees him comments on how beautiful and friendly he is.
Scooby is a huge snuggler and has been in bed under the
covers with us since the very first night. We were told he didn’t like toys
but that is not the case. He has a basket of stuffed toys that he plays with
constantly. He insists we play with them too. It is so funny to watch him
run to the basket and nose each toy trying to decide which one will be the
victim for that day.
Oh, he loves to have his teeth brushed! First dog I have
ever heard of that will insist on getting it done too. Every evening when he
hears that bathroom drawer open he runs into the bathroom, sits down, and
gets those pearly whites brushed. If his Papa is lagging (he seems to know
when 9pm is) he runs around telling him to hurry up. One of these days we
may try to get it on video and send it in to American Funniest Home Videos.
He is an amazing addition to our family. We love him
dearly and cannot imagine our lives without him now. I would like to thank
not only BRAT but also Scooby’s parents for the first 3 ½ years of his life.
If it weren’t for them I don’t believe he would be the wonderful dog he is,
plus we would not have him in our lives. Thank you so much for such this
was just over a year ago that I found my forever family. For the first week
I fooled them by being the quiet and shy little Basenji. I pottied when I
was supposed to and I slept in my crate like a good boy and I was never far
from my new “Mom” (by the way, she is a pushover most of the time and I
really like that!). I’ve learned how to “sit”, “stay”, “come”, and “drop”.
I’m pretty smart (or so my mom tells me). Mom feeds me great dog food and
bought me Mother Hubbards COOKIESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!! I now weigh a
very svelte 26.5 lbs. My coat is all filled in and the hair on my tail is
too! My ears are pink as pink can be now (instead of black!) Mom says it’s
the food – I think it is the COOKIEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
Mom bought me a new bed and new bigger crate, (hehehee) I
made the bed into confetti!!!!!!! I started out sleeping in my crate, it
lasted exactly 10 days. I let them know that I did not like to sleep without
them in sight (I screamed loudly so they heard me upstairs). They moved me
into their bedroom on yet another new doggy bed (hehehee) that one was fun
to de-stuff too! To be honest, after making confetti out of doggy bed No. 3
(see photo below while bed No. 3 was still in one piece), I “graduated” to
my Daddy’s swivel rocker in their bedroom. That lasted exactly 10 days. Now
I sleep very soundly right between my Mommy & Daddy (they have a big bed so
all three of us fit… at least I think we all fit… sometimes… well ok… most
of the time… OKKKKK every night… Daddy says “Seeeeeeeeaaaaaaaamus… move
over!” Then I scoot a little closer to him and wash his face and his bald
head thoroughly; then he hugs me and quiets down (hehehee) so I can get my
I have lots of new toys now; they are already “un-stuffed”!!!!!!! I have a
skunk, a squirrel, a fox, a rabbit, a raccoon, and one that mom calls “the
rat.” I toss them up into the air and catch them and play “keep-a-way” and
fetch and generally have a great time with them. Mom bought me tennis balls
and let me tell you, those are the best. They bounce and they roll and my
Daddy throws them down the hallways and I fly after them and catch them and
bring them back repeatedly!
I love to be outside with my new mom and daddy. I have a
huge backyard and a woods with lots of squirrels and chipmunks to chase. The
leaves are great to chase around too. Mom says “Seamus you are better than a
bug-zapper!” because I can catch most bugs with one snap of my mouth! I do
the B-500 much quicker outside where I can get a good grip in the grass. I
do the B-500 in the house too, but the tile and hardwood floors make it hard
to take the corners with any amount of dignity. Mom and Daddy laugh
hysterically when I do the B-500 in the house.
The best though is hiking in the woods with my Mom or
Daddy. I do not like the rain here in Rhode Island any more than I liked the
rain in New Jersey when I lived with my Foster Mom & Dad. So we do not walk
much when it rains, but that’s ok, we make up for it on sunny days.
I have the best seats in the house in the breezeway. In
the winter it is heated with a fireplace and in the summer the sun shines in
the morning through the slider doors and in the afternoon through the bay
window! I have a recliner by each! I also like to sun myself out on my deck,
it is the best spot for squirrel watching and catching a few rays as well as
doing my “bug zapper” imitation.
Mom works in her office downstairs. I learned really fast that I could spend
lots of time with her there. I like to meet her clients; I met all 1600 of
them during tax season this year. I must be doing something right (or maybe
it was the black bow tie I would wear each day) because most of her clients
wanted to take me home with them. Mom always laughed politely … but would do
this “eyebrow arch” thing when someone would get too fresh with wanting to
take me home. She luuuuuuvvvvvvs me a lot. Mom decided that it would be best
if she had me micro-chipped (yuck!). She was afraid that someone might be
serious about taking me.
Daddy says that I’m a “momma’s boy”… I guess he is right,
cuz I love my Mom. I go everywhere with her. Wherever mom is, you will find
me. My Mom takes me to lots of different places; we go to the ocean, the pet
store, the park, the school track field, and to Tractor Supply Store (did
you know that I can go into the store as long as I have a human with
me??????). They love me there!
Mom also arranges little liaisons for me. I have several
young lady friends, but my very special lady is Hennessey (AKA Henny). She
is so beautiful, she is my best girl. Her human is one of my Mom’s
secretaries. Henny and I play for hours and then after a light lunch and of
course Mother Hubbard’s Cookies for dessert, we snuggle up and snooze while
my Mom and Cate work on payrolls or tax returns.
I still have a few issues (from my Puppy Mill days), but
they are fading fast. I don’t startle so much at loud noises and I never
ever NEVER growl anymore. I don’t wolf down my food anymore, so I do not get
the hiccups as much. I don’t cower anymore either and I have lots of
self-confidence. I walk with dignity and my head is always held up with
All in all, my life is one of “Riley” now. I have a
forever family that loves me for the “wondrous gift I am” (that’s what my
mom always says). I love my humans and I think I will keep them.
Seamus and Terilynne DeBlois
In 2001, one of the BRAT coordinators called and said
there was an 8-year-old boy in Maryland that desperately needed a home. His
original family had given him to their son and his family, and the teenagers
had teased him and as a result he had turned aggressive. I already had a
male Basenji and a female, but agreed to take him on. He arrived at O'Hare
airport one night at 11:00. By mistake, one of the luggage handlers had put
his crate, with him in it, on the conveyor belt! We grabbed him off quickly,
signed all his paperwork, opened his crate door and put the leash on him.
Away I flew through the lobby, holding on for dear life. He sure was glad to
Introductions were made in the middle of the night out in
front of my house. All Basenji's sniffed and snarked, most of the
consternation coming from the two males. We all survived and thus began our
lives as a pack. Having three Basenji's is so much different than two, but
I'd never do anything differently. The males established a truce, and the
little female loved them both. Simon never showed any signs of aggression
with any human that he ever encountered. He was never a yodeler, either-a
very quiet dog, never asking for attention but receiving affection gladly.
Eight years later, he has seen his brother and sister
pass, and another brother that we adopted after the first boy died. He is a
very healthy and happy 16 years old, living with his sister, Kenya. He has
declined somewhat in the last year - I believe he is quite deaf, as he no
longer runs into the kitchen when the cabinet doors open. However, he can
see pretty well, and has only just begun to lose his balance at times. We
have wood floors and his legs go out from under him, but he gets right up.
He can run pretty fast when he wants to. All he wants to do now is sleep
(see recent photo of him doing his favorite thing) and cuddle, which is just
about the best you could ask for.
past April, we adopted Sophie (formerly Cami) from BRAT. She was fostered by
Tonya Ahrens, in Missouri, and we live just west of Milwaukee, WI. Our
Basenji experience goes back 10 years, when we got our first dog, Bailey (in
the black collar in the photos). After having 2 kids (now 4 and 7), we
decided to adopt a 2nd dog. My husband wasn't too thrilled with the extra
work and expense of 2 dogs, but really liked the idea of getting a rescue.
It's a great opportunity to give a dog a second chance.
When I first read about Sophie, she sounded like a perfect
fit for our family, and we were soon chosen to adopt her. We were very
excited when Tanya was able to arrange transportation from Missouri to
Madison, about an hour away. I was very nervous how Bailey, an only dog for
10 years, would take to having a sister. We brought him along on the trip.
The weather was cold and raining, so we put Sophie right in the kennel in
our car, and they sniffed each other. They drove home quietly, and were
properly introduced in the garage. Once in the house, they had no issues
with each other. Sophie was VERY shy, and kept her distance.
Two days after we got Sophie (a Tuesday night), my worst
fear came true - Sophie escaped from the house. We searched the neighborhood
up and down, and didn't see her. The only identification on her was the BRAT
tag – I hadn't even had time to get her a tag. I sent an email out to all
the neighbors, and they helped search. There was no sign of her that night.
The next morning we were up early again searching. I handed out fliers to
people in the area, the grocery stores, and a nature center near by. Liz
Newton sent an email out for any volunteers in the area, and several people
came to help or called with suggestions. That night we got a call from
someone I had given a flier to earlier in the day saying they spotted her.
We went out, with Bailey, to search. She managed to slip away. We were
relieved she was still in the area. On Thursday, I rented an animal trap
from the humane society, and set it out where she was seen. Thursday and
Friday, there was no sign of her. I kept thinking how alone and scared she
must be. Since she was so shy, even if someone saw her, I doubted they could
catch her. We only had her for 2 days, so she really didn't even know us, or
how to get home. We felt so helpless. Tanya even considered driving up to
help. Liz Newton sent another email out, asking for volunteers to search on
Saturday morning at 10am. It was our last hope. That morning, my husband and
daughter went out early to look again. A storm was rolling in, so I knew
there wouldn't be much of a search.
Then at about quarter to 10 on Saturday morning, the phone
rang - it was our local Humane Society (HAWS)...Sophie was there! That
morning, about 2.5 miles northeast of our home (in the complete opposite
direction of where she had been seen), Sophie finally "surrendered her
freedom" and walked right up to someone. The lady recognized she was a
Basenji, and took her over to HAWS. I had called HAWS several times earlier
in the week, so they knew Sophie's story, and knew it had to be her. I
grabbed the kids, and raced over. I was so happy to see her! I forgot how
shy she was and ran right up to her, scooped her up, and hugged and kissed
her. I was amazed at how kind the humane society was. They understood what
had happened, and did not charge us any fees. They did not charge us for the
animal trap, either. I was also truly amazed at how many people emailed,
called, and volunteered to help, from BRAT, our neighborhood, and even BCOSW
(Basenji Club of Southeastern Wisconsin). It is one experience I hope I
never have to relive.
Sophie was in great condition - hungry and exhausted. She
had a number of cuts on her legs and belly, and a tick on her neck. She was
very dirty, so she got a bath, a bowl of food, then she slept on my chest
the rest of the afternoon.
Since we got Sophie back, she's been slowly adjusting to
her new life. We immediately worked with her on waiting at the door before
going outside, and she's now very good at that. We're still working on her
shyness. She paces a lot, with her tail down, when we're cooking or cleaning
or moving around the house. Once we sit down at night on the couch, she
jumps up on the couch and is fine. But when if one of us gets up, she jumps
down. We still have trouble catching her in the house to take her outside,
or put her in the kennel. In the house, unless she's lying on the couch, she
runs when we approach her. When we head out to go on a walk, she does get
excited and will wait at the door for us to put her leash on and go out the
door. Sophie is not motivated by food at all, so enticing her with treats
does not work - it only gets Bailey to come by us, since he will do anything
for food. I think in the time we've had her, she's allowed me to walk up and
pet her only 2-3 times. When she's comfortable around us, like on the couch
or bed, she's the sweetest dog and likes to cuddle. We're not sure how to
make her feel more at ease all the time.
think Bailey and Sophie are a perfect match. I've been surprised that Bailey
hasn't shown one hint of jealousy. To watch the two of them play together is
hilarious. Whenever Sophie is in the mood to play, she gently swats Bailey
in the face. It doesn't take long for him to take the bait, and the two of
them will start wrestling, standing on their hind legs, chasing each other
around the house (even up and down the stairs), and having a great time.
It's the Basenji 500 times 2. At bedtime, she does the same thing to him,
and they wrestle on the bed! We have seen a whole new side of Bailey that we
haven't seen since he was young. We've watched him transform into a whole
new dog. He rarely played with toys or anything before Sophie came along.
Now he loves to play with her! They are a fun pair. It's so nice to see them
interact with each other.
Bailey has really helped with Sophie's shyness. She sees
how confident he is, and will follow his lead. If I want to pet Sophie, I'll
bend down and pet Bailey, and she'll usually come over for attention. She
has also started sleeping in bed, which has helped a lot. She ran upstairs
one night before we had a chance to put her in the kennel, and we caved in.
Every night she sleeps up against me. Good thing we have a king bed!
the 2 months we've had Sophie, it's been quite an adventure (or more like a
roller coaster), but we're all getting used to each other. I have not seen
Bailey play this much since he was very young. His Basenji 500 was more like
a 125 ~ 2 laps around the house and he was done. Now he's just come to life.
I love watching the dogs play, and the way Sophie tries to instigate
trouble. I call her Sassy Sophie because she just won't leave Bailey
(pictured at right) alone sometimes, by biting his neck, pulling his tail,
or just swatting at him. They have so much fun together. With 2 red
Basenjis, it sometimes seems like we have twins. Especially when they go
racing past at top speeds. Life with 2 dogs is more work, and Sophie has
challenged us, but to see how happy they both are makes it all worth it. I
thought for sure Bailey would want to pack up and move when she came home,
but he has been great to her.
I can't forget how close we came to losing her, and how
very lucky we are to have her back, and in great condition. I am so grateful
that it was a happy ending. I often wonder what would happen if Sophie got
out of the house now, since she's more familiar with us and the neighborhood
and Bailey, but I sure don't want to find out!
Liz & Kevin Carroll
came to live with my mother(76) and I in August 2005. I had read about
Basenji’s but there was some disagreement about a dog in “The House”… fleas,
dirt, torn up furniture!! We had just moved in the spring, so: the house was
painted; the carpet clean; and the woodwork was in good shape. I had looked
for a year for this house and we did not want it torn up or any antiques
After much discussion and prayer Sting (age 9) came to
live with us. Not long off the streets of Rome, GA came this little man that
took our hearts and brought great joy to our lives. He was kind of a couch
potato type but did test us from time to time in Basenji form. He ran my
mother up and down the street the day he escaped.
After time, he walked nicely on a leash for her while I
was away. He learned mother’s limits and was a great companion to her during
the day. Sting would stay close to mother especially during thunderstorms.
Always laying quietly by or behind her chair. She became his comfort then
but mostly he was there for her.
took some time to keep Sting off the couch…it was a competition for us to
outsmart each other so the cushions were tilted at a 45 degrees for months.
I remember the time I could not find him and he was behind the cushion
sleeping…out popped this little head—BUSTED! Eventually Sting felt sorry for
me and was content to lay on his beds or the floor.
Sting is very vocal and baroos for treats and when he
smells food. He will even dance or loop the yard for a treat. He is rarely
crated and welcomes friends to our home with much joy! He gets along with my
relatives young cats and lets children unroll his tail. Sting travels well
on trips and gladly wears his seat belt.
Sting is truly a great dog!! I will always be grateful for
BRAT and the work they do. Sting came along at just the right time. I have
learned to: go out and look at the stars; take more naps; and not stress so
much about “The House.”
By the way, Sting is allowed on the couch now but was
reluctant to join me at first.
Sadly, I recently found out that Sting has cancer and
Cholestatic liver disease. He is on medication and will continue to be the
king of our home. He has come a long way from the streets and is truly a
loyal and wonderful Basenji! It has been my privilege to have Sting in his
senior years and be able to learn some life lessons from a little dog.
It was divine intervention when Tahzu came into
our lives in May 2005. My husband and I were taking some time off work, so
we were at home when I received an email from an active BRAT volunteer in Texas. She asked if we could
foster Tahzu for no more than a week. (We had adopted from BRAT before and
helped with rescues and transports, so we were happy to assist.)
Arlene already had a couple of prospective "parents" for Tahzu but had
yet to complete home visits. In the meantime, Arlene was trying to get Tahzu
out of a local shelter, where the previous foster left him when he "had a
family emergency" -- problem is, the foster never came back to pick up Tahzu.
Not sure what happened there.... but it wasn't cool to leave the little guy
Mitch and I picked up Tahzu from the kennel and we could tell he was
stressed from being there. He was having digestive problems; he was grumpy
and unhappy. He wasn't too friendly with us, understandably so. But within
an hour of arriving at our home, he warmed up immediately. We already had
two rescue Basenjis, a male and female, so Tahzu knew we were suckers for a
beguiling face and personality! Within just a few hours, Mitch said, "I
think we should keep him."
I suggested that having three Basenjis would be too much, with vet bills,
boarding when we travel... plus the fights that could ensue with the other
two dogs. And, since Arlene had told me that there were two potential
adopters for Tahzu, I figured he was already spoken for.
But I emailed Arlene immediately and to our delight, she was equally
delighted that we wanted to keep Tahzu! Turns out, Tahzu is the most
affectionate little guy -- I call him the "Reluctant Basenji" because at
times he doesn't behave like a Basenji. He's smaller, stockier, less aloof,
cuddlier, and so sweet. His previous "parents" must have loved him very much
at one time, because he shows no signs of being neglected and he does
tricks! He shakes paw, sits, lies down and hops up on command. He LOVES
sleeping with me in bed -- head on pillow and little body under the covers,
just like a human!
We are so grateful Tahzu came into our lives. He gets into the occasional
scuffle with our 12-year-old male, named Bagel, but for the most part all
three dogs have learned to co-exist peacefully.
We love our relationship with BRAT. We have met so many great people like
Arlene who love dogs as much as we do. We've experienced the joy of helping
many great little Basenjis like ours travel to their own forever homes.
Update: Since we first wrote you about Tahzu, our first BRAT
rescue, Bagel passed away. Shortly after that, we discovered that Tahzu has
Fanconi. However, we caught it early. He is on the Gonto protocol --
sort-of! He is the most finicky eater ever, so getting him to take meds is a
challenge. But so far, it's been two years since we discovered it and he's
doing well. To look at him, you'd never know anything is going on inside.
He's healthy, coat is shiny -- he's lovable and terrorizing at the same
Robin and Mitch McCasland
It's been about a year since we
adopted Tana and she has totally blossomed into a different dog. I am so
proud of her.
When I went to visit her at her foster home, I was prepared
for a skittish, fearful dog, former-puppy-mill breeding female. And she
was. A bit on the thin side, too, and very petite. But absolutely
The young daughter of the foster family was the only person Tana
trusted . . . and even she had to crawl under the dining room table to get her
from her hiding spot.
The last thing I expected was for Tana to fall asleep in
my arms within 10 minutes of me holding her. Everyone was surprised, as she
hadn't yet warmed up to anyone like that after several months with the
family. I knew it meant she had chosen me to take her home . . . or maybe I
was just soft and squishy and she got comfortable on my lap. Either way, I fell in love with her instantly
knew there was no chance I was leaving without this dog.
The first night, she slept almost glued to my body,
curled in a tight ball in my arms. She still sleeps with me, down by my legs, with Jibini, not out of insecurity, but because it's warm! She used to be
scared to death of men and strangers and jumped at every loud noise. Being in
a truck was a kind of immersion therapy for her. She was in a small space with a man 24/7 and taken for walks around a lot of strangers
noises. I was there with her every step of the way with treats and praise when
she made progress. I gave her time and let her figure out her own way of
handling things. Within two months she stopped avoiding my husband like he
was contagious, and by three months she would allow a strange man to pet her.
she waltzes right up to strangers and gives them a good sniff. Doesn't even
back off if people reach down to pet her. Loves kids. She is also
very playful though it took her a while to figure out how. Now I can engage
her in play very easily and she does the same with me! We have our playtime
rituals, including taking turns pawing at each other. She does the typical
Basenji slap but it is soooo slow and gentle, so I do the same back to her
and sometimes it's enough to get a B-500 out of her! Silly is the best word
I can use for her.
Occasionally she is overwhelmed with bouts of silly and will leap straight
up in the air, or spin around in tight circles for no reason at all. Maybe
it's ingrained cage behavior from being in the mill; she does a cage
twirl when really excited and I love to see the joy on her face when she
realizes she has plenty more room to move around.
I've taken her to the dog park a
couple of times and have found that she loves other dogs and she is very
fast! I would love to try agility with her.
She is also intelligent, sensitive, and willing to please, unlike most
Basenjis she hates to be told no and
that's about all it takes to make her stop misbehaving. I think she'd be a
great obedience or agility prospect.
I knew she was "my dog" the day Fred told me she
whines when I leave.
She is the most adorable little princess. Even Jibini, Mr.-Grumpy-Pants, who initially gave her the silent treatment,
couldn't resist her charms. If she gets wet, Jibini dutifully licks her dry.
He cleans her ears. He cuddles with her when it's cold. (Though he seems to
do it reluctantly if he thinks I'm watching, scooting closer and closer to her with a
resigned look on his face until he's up next to her, then he'll go to
sleep.) He uses her for a pillow when
they sleep together. He only grumbles half-heartedly when she climbs over
him and lies down beside him. I swear he taught her the rules as she closely
mimics his behavior during our daily routines and I haven't taught her a
Sorry I wrote such a long Tana-novel, but every day I am amazed at
how much this little dog has become ingrained into our life. I can hardly
remember what it was like before we adopted her. My thanks goes out to BRAT,
her adoption coordinator and her foster family for allowing me the honor to have this little dog in my
Danielle and Fred
love Happy Ending Stories about dogs who have fallen on hard times and been
miraculously saved - litters born to homeless mothers who find Forever Homes,
dogs who have been injured or lost in storms or natural disasters, or rescued
from non-caring or cruel owners. They are all very heart-warming and bring tears
to the eye.
Troy’s story is not like any of these. He was not in any way
taken away from a bad situation. On the contrary, his owners loved him so much
they gave him up after having him in their home for ten years. Their kids had
grown up and moved away and the parents’ job situations had changed, leaving
Troy home alone a lot. He was boarded often, as they had to travel a lot now. As
he had always been a very sociable dog, this broke their hearts. They found BRAT
and agreed to relinquish him if a suitable adopter could be found, someone that
could give Troy a new life. The one thing he had going against him was his age -
he was ten years old.
may have been surprised when someone stepped up to adopt a senior dog. One may
think that a dog of that age might be set in his ways and have trouble adapting
to a new routine with brand new people. However, those of us with Basenjis know
that ten is only middle-aged! My husband and I have had five other Basenjis, the
last one dying at age seventeen of natural causes. He left us with a lonely
female, aged 10, and we decided to find her a companion of about the same age.
On paper, Troy was too good to be true. He was described as a
really nice dog with no bad habits, who liked kids and other people and other
dogs. BRAT offered to set the Basenji Underground RR in motion for the trip from
Kansas to Virginia Beach. We picked Troy up in Richmond, where he had had his
second sleepover on the long journey. He jaunted out and jumped into our car
like he was being picked up for a party. He sat on my lap the whole ride home.
meeting with his new female companion, Kenya, went as well as could be expected.
A bit of an alpha, she decided to put him in his place that night; peace was
shattered by the growling and snarking of the first “getting-to -know-you
fight”. We had been through that with our other dogs, and knew it would take
them a few weeks to iron out their differences. Within a few months, they were
best of friends.
As far as teaching old dogs new tricks, there were no issues
with Troy. He seemed to feel right at home in our house right away. He was
nicknamed the “Rock Star” at his first home and he quickly assumed the role here
as well. There is no new person or dog or group of dogs or people that get to go
by without an official greeting by Troy. He considers it his duty to meet &
greet everyone around. People who don’t know Basenjis praise him lavishly, and
he knows it! People who do know Basenjis can’t believe he is eleven years old
now. He and Kenya get to go to the beach to walk several times a day, and
everyone knows them.
home, Troy wants to know what we’re doing at all times - not in a clingy way at
all, though. He simply needs to make sure his humans are settled happily doing
something useful, so can just sit with them and be a sentinel, or perhaps take a
nap. When we do leave him, he doesn’t mind because he has his pal, Kenya, to
keep him company. He knows he won’t be lonely any more - that is the gift his
first parents gave him when they sacrificed their happiness for his.
youngest daughter had been asking for a dog for about three years. She
was pretty clever about it too; leaving her dog encyclopedia open to
pictures and descriptions of "the dog of the week." I've never been a
dog person because I had the misconception that they were all smelly,
unintelligent, barking beasts. Now I know how wrong I was!
morning I came down to my desk, and the book was opened to Basenji. I
read about them and discussed the possibilities with my husband. When he
agreed, we Googled the word "Basenji," and there was BRAT.
looked through the site and immediately fell in love with Wilson; we
thought he was perfect! We went through the adoption
process—application, home visit, etc.—and anxiously awaited a decision.
Then we got the call that Wilson would be ours!
picked up Wilson on February 29th, 2004. He did very well in his new
crate on the three-hour trip home.
got home, Wilson started marking everything in sight. I asked myself,
what have we done? Fortunately, the marking didn't persist.
spent his first night with us seeking high ground. He'd sit at the top
of the stairs while we sat on the floor downstairs talking to him. The
next day I spent the whole day walking him, talking to him, petting him,
and holding him in my lap. His uneasiness started going away
immediately, and day by day, week by week, he grew accustomed and
attached to our family. I work at home, and Wilson spends most of the
day with me. I look forward to his signal to go out. We take a long walk
and explore the neighborhood. He's fallen in love with a dog down the
road, and when the weather is nice he has to lie on the side of the
road, waiting for her to show her face.
settled into a regular schedule where every family member has quality
time with Wilson. We argue about whose bed he will sleep in every night,
and as there are four choices, we all must be patient for our turn.
has to greet all visitors, plays like he doesn't have a care in the
world, does the Basenji 500, and falls all over himself with excitement
when he gets sight of our cat, Murray. He can be a real character!
it's true that Basenjis are not typical dogs—they will defy you and play
mind games with you—they are also very charming. If well-exercised, they
can be content to lie in the sun or by your feet for a nice nap.
express how impressed I am with BRAT. From the website, to the selection
process, to the immediate help with questions and problems after the
adoption, this organization and their many volunteers are extraordinary!
you again and again!
Jill, Jim, Erin, Paul, & Hunter Cullen
I wanted to post an 11-year anniversary happy ending of me and my adopted
BRAT dog Zenta. I posted one several months after her adoption many years
ago and wanted to take the opportunity to give everyone an update to let
them know that we are still living happily-ever-after 11 years later!
I started my journey because of my love of sight-hounds. I
researched many breeds, starting with Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Greyhounds,
Pharaoh Hounds and Ibizan Hounds. Eventually I re-discovered the Basenji. I
say re-discovered because my "bible" when I was 5-years-old and I lived in
Germany was "Welcher Hund ist Dass?" (Which dog is that?) and one of the
first breeds featured was a Basenji and I remember thinking that they looked
sporty and elegant, as if dressed for a tennis match.
What I mean by that is that is I knew about Basenjis and
loved sight-hounds, but I had yet to meet a Basenji. One day (after three
years of sight hound research) I saw a red & white Basenji trotting along
his human companion. I had never seen such a graceful animal in my life (and
I ride dressage horses.) I knew this dog was the one for me.
was never able to have a dog because we moved so much internationally and
(at the time) extensive quarantine periods were an issue. So, finally, now
was the time.
I applied for three dogs total. The first one was an
Akita/Basenji mix that had a terrible past and she had already been adopted.
The second was a Basenji Boy that was almost adopted.
Finally, I came upon "PJ" a beautiful 2-4 year old red &
white Basenji from Illinois. I fell in love with her immediately. She had a
sad story and had been homeless for some time so she really spoke to me. I
applied for her and got a home visit and within a week she was mine.
I remember panicking before I picked her up. I felt as if
I were about to have a baby. I knew my life would never be the same and it
hasn't been: it has improved. I would always have someone else to worry
about and care about. I can't imagine life without her now.
day I got her home, I had no name for her. I called her "baby" or "pretty
thing" or whatever came to mind. I adopted her on August 12th, 2000. I am
Latvian and Latvian's have a heritage of "Name Days." THEN, I remembered a
dog I met at a farm many years ago named Zenta. She was not a Basenji
(probably a Shepherd Cross) but she had the same beautiful furrowed face and
brow of my little Basenji girl; so I had to name her after this dog.
Ironically, Zenta's name day is August 15th, so that is the name I had to
One year after her adoption, I gave Zenta (or Zeenie) an
anniversary party complete with treats for canines and humans. When asked by
a neighbor who attended the event, "I thought you were crazy for inviting
dogs to a party..." I responded, " Who is crazier? Me for inviting or you
for attending?" He had to laugh and agree...
Since then Zenta (or Zeenie) has been on many adventures.
She has been to the beach several times, she has met goats and horses and
she now has several canine companions. Currently, she resides with Ty and
Henry (both Basenji males) and she continues to be the "Alpha" and boss of
must be between 13 and 15 years old and I know she won't be here forever,
but she has changed me forever. For one, she has ruined me for other dogs:
Basenjis will forever be my breed of choice. For another, she is the
smartest, funniest, most intelligent dog I have ever met. She has surpassed
all of my expectations.
I have so many stories to tell about Zeenie, but I will
close with a couple of beautiful pictures of her as we celebrate a happy
Thank you BRAT and all of the wonderful work you do. If it
weren't for all of you, I wouldn't have Zeenie and the happiest 11 years of