We got our first basenji, Apollo, eight years ago when he was two. He belonged to a friend of a friend who had four basenjis and realized his life was out of control. Apollo's former owner was aware of the possible difficulties with basenjis, so he was giving up the one he thought would make the smoothest adjustment to a new life. We fell in love with Apollo the minute we met him, and he has been a part of our family since. While Apollo has many basenji qualities - he's aloof, he loves toilet paper, he sometimes steals an entire loaf of bread from the kitchen to eat on our bed - he is generally much more mellow than other basenjis. If it were up to him, he wouldn't wake up until noon, and he has not been house destructive.
Hallie decided a few years ago that we needed another basenji, and I agreed. It would be good to have a friend for Apollo. We got Asta through BRAT two years ago when he was two. Asta came to us anxious and traumatized, but so sweet. He never sat still, and compulsively turned in counter-clockwise circles, looking like he wished he could stop. We fell in love with him and so did Apollo. After a few days of establishing rank, Apollo and Asta became fast friends.
Asta has been a joy to have in our lives, and he has also been extremely destructive. He has eaten almost all of our books and pillows. He ate a down comforter and the keys off of my laptop. A friend commented that it was like having a pet shark. For the first year and a half we had to hold him at night to keep him from getting up and destroying our room while we slept. At the same time, Asta is the sweetest and most agreeable guy. If you pick him up, he relaxes immediately and collapses into your arms. He is like a living teddy bear. Over the last six months Asta has matured and calmed down. He actually willingly lays down now, and sleeps much of the day. He still runs in counter clockwise circles, but less often and with less desperation.
Even when it has been difficult, we have never been anything but happy to have Asta in our lives. Along with making us laugh, keeping us warm in the Winter, and being Apollo's best friend, Asta teaches us every day the fleeting quality of material objects. We think of it as Darwin's Theory of Decorating, or The Thinning of the Herd. Whatever Asta destroys, we probably didn't need anyway!