Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Basenjis and Babies

When I first joined BRAT, I learned that one of the major reasons for rehoming basenjis was that they are given up when a baby enters a family. Sometimes it was the inability of a family to devote time to the dog when a baby entered the home. Other times, the reason given was that a basenji became jealous - and sometimes aggressive - of the new family member.

When I learned I was going to have a baby, my main concern was whether or not my two resident basenjis would be able to adapt to the new family member. After all, these guys were my babies for years!

I wasn't so concerned about my older BRAT boy, Mr. Calvin. At age 18, not much phases him. Sometimes, in his advanced years and senility, I am not sure he even realizes that there is a new baby in the house.

My "younger" basenji, Bashir, was my main concern. He has on occassion exhibited some alpha male characteristics, and he really was the spoilt one in the family. Would he be able to cope?

For months, I practiced a few techniques with the basenji, to get him used to the idea of a baby - such as tugging on his tail as a toddler might, or holding out food but not letting him take any.

When we brought our son Rowan home, it was a bit of a shock for Bashir (not to mention the shock for mom and dad!) However, he seemed to adjust nicely. He would alert us whenever the baby cried, and would sit on the couch and watch over the baby in his bassinet.

As the baby grows, and becomes a little more mobile, it seems that our basenji kid is adjusting. There is sometimes a bit of jealousy and "personal space" issues. I found out that basenjis like to lick bananas. But more often than not, they get on fine. Granted, I am not going to leave the baby with the dog unattended - AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES would ever recommend that anybody do that! But I am finally at the point where I feel that my two babies can coexist with supervision.

I use the phrase "Pat the Basenji" as often as I say "Pat the Bunny." I notice the baby reaches out for the basenji's curly tail, much as I predicted it would. Who could resist, after all? And every once in a while, the basenji will come running to let me know that the baby is crying.

So I would call this is a happy ending...

Or perhaps it's a happy beginning.

My Two Babies:
Rowan (two legs) and Bashir (four legs)

1 comment:

  1. Rowan is adorable in his bouncing chair! Great article and it gives me a good feeling since my husband and are likely going to try for our first child in the next year and I have 2 basenji babies already. I think they'll be wonderful because they both love, love, love children - but it still makes us wonder how it will all work out. I could NEVER rehome my basenjis because of my human kids, so its nice to know our odds are pretty good at making it work!