Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another Volunteer's Story

People are compelled to join BRAT for different reasons, but I know we all want to help basenjis in need. I started out as an adopter. I "rescued" my first basenji, Jazzie, from a pet store. I had no idea what I was getting into, but something, instinctively, told me I HAD to get this dog. I knew what the average person knows about basenjis; which was basically nothing! I thought I had a CRAZY dog when I brought my basenji puppy home and she would race around the family room, bouncing off the walls, bounding over the furniture, leaping like a gazelle. We had to install baby locks on the kitchen cabinets and drawers or we would come home to find the contents strewn about, no pot holder or dish towel was safe.

So even though I had a mini schnauzer and a schipperke as playmates for my basenji, I felt Jazzie needed one of her own kind... That's when I found BRAT. It took a few months, but I eventually adopted. And then I joined BRAT because I fell in love with the breed and wanted to help those in need.

I started out coordinating adoptions, doing home visits and evaluations, transporting and then made the mistake of fostering. I say mistake because the first dog I fostered never left. She was too darned sweet! I kept coming up with excuses why I couldn't post her to the website (she needed to be spayed, she needed to recover from being spayed, she needed to be vaccinated, she needed her nails trimmed, a new collar...) and somehow justified adopting her. I've managed not to adopt any others since, but who knows what the future holds?

Fostering isn't always easy, but it's very rewarding. There are so many joys in fostering. Most of the dogs are stressed and confused being thrust into new and unfamiliar surroundings or coming out of a shelter or a puppy mill. It's a wonderful feeling to gain a dog's trust and nurture it into an enjoyable companion. And then you get to send it off to a loving home who really wants this dog. It's quite incredible.

If at all possible and you are in the position of taking in a homeless basenji, I recommend you become a foster home for basenjis in need. There are never enough foster homes. You can have a positive impact on a dog's life and meet some terrific people along the way. BRAT is all about support; for applicants, adopters, surrendering owners and each other. As Barbara stated in her post on Sunday, July 19th, we are here to help. We seeks each other's help as necessary, too.


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