Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Saying Goodbye

Last week marks the first anniversary of our Goodbye to Libby, our first Basenji and first BRAT. I've been thinking a lot about her these past weeks; all the lessons we learned, the joy she was to us, especially the apparent joy she took in being a part of our family.

Libby's first family gave her up at five years old because she needed an environment where kids wouldn't be coming into her backyard and bothering her while she was tied on an overhead cable. The family wanted to do more traveling and camping and a lot of places they wanted to go didn't allow dogs. They didn't want to leave her home unattended. She was posted on the BRAT website for several months in early 2000. We applied for her because she was okay with cats. No one else had applied so they shipped her from Boston to Boise, Idaho, taking a chance on a first time Basenji family, far, far away.

She changed our lives.
She loved to cuddle on the couch almost as much as she loved to go camping. The first time we took her backbacking, she just knew that the tent was intended to be her den and which we would be permitted to share. We had always heard about how a Basenji should never be let off leash but Libby proved to be the exception to that rule. When we were in town with traffic we kept her on leash for her own safety, but when we went camping, she was more interested in staying near us than parts unknown.

Because of Libby we have taken in five foster Basenjis, quite a large number for our Basenji-deficient corner of the world. One had food allergies and other was battling a thyroid imbalance. We researched and learned all we could about health issues among Basenjis. We have willingly contributed to the transport of many other dogs, only half of which were Basenjis. These efforts were only our way of balancing the blessing Libby brought to our lives. We are still very much aware of the deficit in our Libby account.

The last 2 1/2 years of Libby's stay with us, she developed IPSID, a digestive disease with no cure. We ended up cooking all her meals when she couldn't tolerate any of the commercially prepared foods. For the last year of her life she lived on salmon and potatoes, cooked fresh for each meal. It was the only combination that didn't inflame her bowels. We often joked that she ate better than we did.
At 13 years old Libby grew progressively worse. We knew the time was at hand to say goodbye although we were hesitant to make the final arrangements because we wanted to make sure. When she suffered a seizure I knew there was no more time to make our peace with her loss, we could not bear to see her suffer another so we made immediate arrangements. On our last afternoon we gathered her into our arms and committed her to Gods care in prayer before we took her to the vets office. Our Angel waits for us to join her again.
Because of Libby I can't imagine living without at least one basenji in my life. Currently, as I sit on the couch typing this post, home sick from work, I am flanked by two basenjis. One is a foster BRAT waiting for her forever home but very much a part of our hearts, it will be very hard to say goodbye to her, but we are glad to have taken part in her journey to her forever home. On my other side is our buddy that helped us through Libby's loss. Reno's the red & white in the last picture. We are so blessed to have had all these wonderful Basenjis as part of our life.


  1. This little diddy here, made me cry like a baby. I understand how it is when you get that someone or something in your life that changes it you don't even remember how your life was before she came into sweet..

  2. We will be looking for a new Basenji baby soon. We have a long history with BRAT. We rescued Sparky and Yodel and Junior. We are in Idaho. Will you start looking for a Basenji for us? Our E-mail is