I often get the comment, “Oh, what a beautiful dog!”
I smile and nod like a proud parent, and Denny Basenji, if he’s there, will look at them with his patented, “Yeah? So you just noticed?” look. It’s the look of the cool kid in high school who knows he’s bad to the bone.
When I first got Denny, I pondered at great length why these adorable, scrunchy-forehead dogs with personalities a-go-go weren’t all over the greeting card/gift book/calendar industry. I mean, Poms, Pugs, Labs, Boxers, Weimaraners and Poodles all had their day in the sun. I decided on a one-woman crusade to fix this. I would take pictures of this Basenji and send them to my friends and family, starting a viral fad that would spread over the world, bringing people of the world together in adoration of the Basenji’s devastating cuteness.
I was prepared to spend some time trying to get these pictures. Turns out, Denny had other ideas about how to spend his time. There were toys to eviscerate, bones to chew, dogs to snark at, and cushions to be snuggled. There was barely enough time in the day for all of that, plus getting his two walks and two square meals, let alone for modeling.
I tried to get photos of him at different times of day, on different pieces of furniture, outside, inside, sleeping, awake, eating, playing, looking out the window. I must have shot thousands of digital photos during those first four years. In most of them, he’s blurry, got red-eye or reflective-eye, making a face, covering his face with his paws, sneezing, growling, barooing, showing me his butt, pawing at me, looking away at the last minute or just blatantly running away.
Getting a really good picture of Denny became like an exercise in Schrodinger’s Basenji, trying to prove that a Basenji can be in the room and captured on camera at the same time. My husband Eric has joined me as an enthusiastic photographer of our dog, and he has taken it to a new level with videography. My dreams have now grown to capturing a video that will go viral on YouTube. Ha!
If you want to see first-hand what it takes to get a perfect Basenji picture, I invite you to visit the album of us trying to take our holiday card picture this past December.
In the end, though, I’m beginning to realize that the charm of the Basenji is not about being picture-perfect, but being picture imperfect. I asked Denny how he felt about all those cute Yellow Lab puppies being used to sell everything from antacids to tires, and his response was to open one eye to look at me accusingly and then go back to his nap.
You can also catch me blogging about life, love and transplants over at The Borrowers Club