Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Sanji came to us from Virginia as a BRAT dog. He traveled by air and arrived pretty upset. Poor guy, he was so nervous that he had messed in his crate, and he was overall pretty traumatized by the whole air travel ordeal.

We got him home from the airport and he was very happy to be out of the transport cage. Our other BRAT girl Ursa was not impressed by his arrival, and when he did a play bow to her she snarked at him.

Eventually Ursa learned to tolerate Sanji, but he never was able to play with her the way that he wanted to. But, I could tell that even though she didn't like him, Sanji still needed Ursa and he was both very sensitive to her and very stressed by her. As time went on and Ursa got sick, Sanji mysteriously got sick too. His system suddenly would not tolerate most foods, and he started losing a significant amount of weight.

Photo: An uhappy Sanji boy at 16 lbs

Our vet tried many natural herbs and drugs but nothing seemed to help, and his stomach rejected most of his food while his intestinal tract quickly got rid of the rest. Sanji went from 25 lbs to 16 lbs in a short time. He was tested for everything, including Fanconi and thyroid problems, but all tests came back negative.

Then we got Gumbo and brought him home as a 12 week old pup. Sanji was delighted-- at last he had someone he could play with! Gumbo of course wanted to play all the time, and Sanji tolerated his little sharp teeth and energy. We still had Ursa, but she was by this time quite ill and we had her put down a couple of months after we got Gumbo.

Photo: Sanji with Gumbo as a puppy

Over the next several months, Sanji began to gain weight and was throwing up less and less. He didn't curl up in a tight ball anymore, nor did he look sad-eyed. We attributed his decline to his concern for Ursa, and his comeback to his delight in Gumbo.

We have a dog park not far from us and my husband Jim retired October 2008, so Jim began taking Sanji and Gumbo to the dog park. Before we got Gumbo, Sanji was never a fan of the park and ignored all the other dogs and people. Now he had Gumbo to keep and eye on and make sure his little boy didn't get hurt or in trouble. You could see Sanji always being watchful and stepping in if another dog got too rough with Gumbo. The more Jim took the dogs to the park, the more Sanji became interested in playing with the other dogs and getting pets from the people at the park. He is now quite happy to go to the park. Gumbo is now almost two and Sanji doesn't have to worry about him taking care of himself. Gumbo is one of the most outgoing Basenjis I have ever seen, loves almost all dogs and people, and is totally a happy sweet boy thanks to his genes and upbringing by his friend Sanji.

Photo: Sanji {front} and Gumbo at the dog park

Sometimes I think we as humans may unwittingly introduce dogs who live with us to other dogs that do not care to live with each other. In Sanji's case, his basenji sensitivity to other dogs made an unhappy dog quite ill, not from any particular physical illness, but just from stress alone. But, now that we've overcome this obstacle, today we have two very happy, healthy Basenji boys who love each other and the rest of the world too.

--Marj Baker

1 comment:

  1. A touching story, and I'm glad that it had a happy ending. It's a reminder of how much dogs help us and support each other.