Sunday, October 4, 2009

Remembering Basil and Flash

Growing up, neither Kathy nor I had ever owned a dog. We were married in 1982 and for a long time our motto was "No kids, no pets, no plants."

But after ten years, we decided the time was right to bring a dog into our lives. What breed of dog should we adopt? What was the best dog for us? In the pre-internet days, the sources of information were limited. For most part, we read books that were not very accurate. One book told us that basenjis were "tractable and eager to please"!

Due to the definite advantages of barklessness, size, and easy grooming, we decided to adopt a basenji.

We found a local show breeder in the Dallas area and went to see her litter of pups at a local dog show. We were instantly enchanted and Basil joined our family on February 28, 1993, a little 12 week old red and white puppy girl.

As she grew into an 11 month old "teenager," Basil was driving us crazy. One of our basenji friends told us that the cure for one basenji was a second basenji. So, we adopted Flash as a one year old rescue in December of 1993. Basil and Flash were always closely bonded. This photo of the two of them is one of our favorites.

Basil and Flash opened up our lives in so many ways. We met people, made friends, did things and went places we never would have without them. Because of our love for the both of them, we became interested in rescuing other basenjis.

Through this interest, we helped create the Basenji Underground Railroad in 1997 and Basenji Rescue & Transport, Inc. in 1999.

Flash outlived Basil by fifteen months and he crossed the Rainbow Bridge in September of 2008. It’s still hard to believe that they are gone. As someone has written, “Profound is the silence left by the absence of a barkless dog.”

Their presence and the places they took us enriched our lives in uncountable ways. Our basenji rescue friends are a continuing tribute to their influence.


  1. Love that picture and your post ;) Anna Costa

  2. Wonderful story of the love we have for our basenji's. They give so much and ask so little.
    I also remember Sam, Trixie,Tokalosh and Bella. May they be playing in heaven with Basil and Flash. I wonder if there's Charmin in heaven!!!

  3. ...remembering Gus, my best friend from 1996 - 2008. Thanks for the story.

  4. Lovely tribute........

  5. Why haven't you entered that photo in the Calendar Contest before? I'm sure if you had, I'd have remembered (and used) it. :)

  6. "As someone has written, 'Profound is the silence left by the absence of a barkless dog.'"

    My wife, Kathy Goldman, reminded me that this was HER observation about the loss of Basil. It was so well said I thought that it came from a professional. ;-)

  7. Mike and Kathy,
    My bs had passed on, and there is always an emptiness when they are not around. I lived without for about 2 years, and like a good beer, you just cant live without them for a long time, so I have got back on to the "horse", and am enjoying her more than ever.

    Basil and Flash have set the bar pretty high, but there is still room for the love of a couple of Bs, and we wish you well in seeking a suitable pair to enjoy your lives. You never know, you might find a pair that come close.

    Best wishes,
    Len and Jan, Kapunda, South Australia.

  8. See how good Basenjis are? They enable you to make lots of new friends all over the world. That's how I met both of you remember, when Cosmo and I traveled through Dallas one time. I wonder if Flash is busy stealing donuts up in heaven. LOL

    Debbie B-T

  9. How can you forge ahead with another once you know the feelings that occur after you have lost one. I miss my Tasha everday and I dream about another Basenji starting with a new pup and than I remember how it was at the end.

  10. That is a great photo, Mike!

    In response to the above poster, who asks how you can forge ahead with another:
    The simple fact is that the more blessed you are to have a loved one in your life, the more agony you experience when they leave your life. I realized that when I lost my father, and I as much as I am able to cope with his loss, I do so by reminding myself that the intense grief is because I was so truly blessed. If I were given the choice to never feel that pain but never have known my father, I would choose to have things remain as they are and deal with the pain. So it is with my dogs: I know it will tear me apart every time I have to say good-bye, but I would rather that than never have had them in my lives...

    Valerie Rodger

  11. Mike,
    Very nice. Thanks for sharing that awesome picture of Basil and Flash and your inspiring story of the roots B.U.R. and B.R.A.T organizations. Basenji's,their owners, rescuers,adopters,and volunteers everywhere owe you a big"Thank You".Bless you Mike and kathy