Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rest in Peace, Mary Wilson

I was extremely saddened to learn on Wednesday of the passing of Mary Wilson of Greenwood, Indiana.

Mary was one of the original members of the Basenji Underground Railroad in 1997.

For many years, she was a placement coordinator, screener, foster, and Advisory Director for BRAT.

Here is a message she sent several years ago to encourage people to volunteer to help rescue basenjis:

Hi, all. My name is Mary Wilson. I live in Greenwood, Indiana. My first Basenji, Cleopatra, Queen B of the Universe, found me in 1993. I had known about Basenjis, but not how to find one, since I was about ten years old. I saw the movie Goodbye, My Lady and absolutely fell in love with Lady! But we always shared our home with Pavement Puppies, so I didn't really know how to go about finding a purebred.

Cleo was in a local pet store (Yes, I've learned better since then) and her breeder happened to be there. She was going to give them 3 days to sell her and then she'd go to the pound. I learned about disreputable puppy breeders the same day! I talked her into giving her to me for the price of a bag of dog food. My luck! Since then we've had Patch, a stray and my first rescue. He passed a couple of years ago from Fanconi.

I've tried a little bit of everything. I substituted for about 30 years. I was a program director in a group home for adolescent boys with Autism. I was a case worker for the welfare department. And I cooked and sold hot dogs for a while! I had to stop subbing last year because of knee problems and other heath problems. I'm a coordinator and a BRAT Advisor. I've been with BRAT since we were the Basenji Underground Railroad. I can't even remember how long that is!

What do I like/dislike about Basenjis? I love them. I love their intelligence. I love the challenges they give me. I love their never ending loyalty to their humans. I love that they're clowns and companions and almost-human. I love that they're smarter than I am! I love their incessant curiosity about LIFE. They keep me going when I feel like sitting down. What do I dislike? Absolutely nothing. Even their bad habits amuse me!

What else do I want to share with the group? This organization is a real reality check for me. I've met folks who will be my friends forever. And I've met some real jerks through BRAT! I've shared the loss of my Father and my cat Speedy and Patch with BRAT. And there has always been support. Also, if you're not really active with BRAT, why not change that? Volunteer for a run or to pick up a Basenji in need. Volunteer

Click here to read Mary's obituary.

Rest in peace, Mary. I know you were greeted at the Rainbow Bridge by all of the basenjis that you helped rescue. You will always be missed by your friends in BRAT.


  1. A Facebook comment from Joe: "How very sad. Mary was instrumental in my getting my bearings when I first got involved in transport. The very first time, I had to pick up a dog early on a Saturday morning. She had 2 - 3 of her own plus several fosters. Just as we were headed outside with the transport, the rest of the crew started up one massive Baroo chorus. Mary kind of half wailed "My neighbors hate me..." - then we both cracked up. Wonderful lady."

  2. Mary was a wonderful volunteer and she'll be sadly missed in the basenji community. I'm sure she'll be equally missed by her other friends and family. Take care of all our BRATs who have crossed the bridge and were waiting for you, Mary!

  3. Mary's obituary names BRAT as a "contributions may be made to". It was dear of her family to think of BRAT at this difficult time and to make one of Mary's last thoughts to benefit BRAT. Thank you Mary and Godspeed.