Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, May 3, 2008, we met BRAT foster volunteer Oren Will at Harris Ranch (Coalinga, CA) to pick up a tricolor female Basenji, Nikki, who had been dropped off by her original family at the Tucson, AZ Humane Society shelter. (Fortunately, a BRAT volunteer in Tucson had rescued her!) (Linda Siegel had overseen the adoption, and BRAT volunteer / foster had both placed B-mix Jack with us and performed the formalities to determine we and our home were suitable.)
Nikki was recovering from Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) and was a bit defensive (our veterinary assistant was saying even a few months ago "she likes to get on my legs, but I watch my jugular!") and according to the people who dropped her at the shelter, did not like to be held, liked to play rough, "doesn't like to cuddle or be picked up," etc. and indeed, she needed to build some trust.
Well, that was then, and here we are, a bit over a year out... We, Nikki and Jack (a "terrier dressed in Basenji clothing" mix we also adopted from BRAT) moved to a smaller home in Roseville, CA earlier this year, and its without the large back yard we had in Carmichael. On the other hand, we have lovely walking trails here, and a nice dog park is only a little over a block away, so with a daily room in the dog park and several walks a day, and some play wrestling and tugs of war with big flossy ropes, the dogs are just fine.
Nikki is still beautiful and she still wants to retrieve cars on occasion, and maybe the rare bicycle; she also has a strong prey drive, so toy dogs in the dog park should stay in the small dog part of the park while Nikki and Jack do a merry chase and "B-500" with each other or with larger dogs.
But Nikki has also settled down now: she is the "alpha" dog and plays a lot with Jack - but when she finally wants to quit (and he doesn't) she lets him know his place with some vocalizations. She is very sweet and loving, loves to cuddle (photographic evidence of Nikki and Barbara attached,) and even loves to jump up on our laps when we are reclining to read or watch a television program. She often wants to give my face a thorough Basenji wash, and if I leave the house for a job for a day or two, she always greets me with a hearty "Barooo!" (Sometimes, even when I am gone only a few hours.)
It took a while and some consistency - but Nikki has settled down into one of the sweetest dogs we have had the pleasure of meeting, and gives us hours of joy daily.
She has also tested OK for cocci and her regular Diastix urine sugar test strips are completely clear so far. Of course, she is up on her vaccinations and medical checkups, has a license for her new home community and her BRAT tag.
All thanks to dedicated BRAT volunteers and consummate teamwork.
José and Barbara Kirchner