The ninth annual BRAT Convention was held in Chicago June 9 – 11. It was a great weekend with cool temperatures outside and engaging conversations and enlightening presentations inside. B. Ann Hageman did a great job planning the convention with help from other volunteers who organized auction items, arranged the Friday night picnic, and generally took care of countless details to make the convention run smoothly.
This year’s presentations included:
Joy Lauffenburger talked about Goldie, her basenji-mix service dog.
Dr. Jo Thompson told us about the Lukuru basenjis and some of her experiences in the Congo.
Pam Hamilton, who fostered over 50 Wimauma rescue dogs at her home, gave a presentation on how to socialize dogs and deal with behavior problems.
Several of the Wimauma rescue dogs and their people attended the convention. It was interesting to see what they look like as well as how happy they are and how far they’ve come from their feral state in 2010. Their remarkable story is yet another example of the extent to which BRAT volunteers are committed to helping basenjis in need.
The banquet and auction were held on the last evening of the convention. A lot of wonderful items were donated for drawings and an auction to raise money for BRAT. Bill Newton ably handled auctioneering duties as he and several volunteers kept the proceedings moving along and enjoyable for everyone.
There were dogs in meeting rooms, at breakfast and the banquet. There were basenjis everywhere with their people at the convention, because after all, that’s what this is about. Finding great forever homes for basenjis in need of a second chance is what BRAT does. That’s why we spend so much time sitting in front of our computers, transporting, fostering, and handling all the particulars that make BRAT work well. That’s what inspires people from across the US and Canada join to BRAT. It’s the reason some of us came together from diverse backgrounds and locations to spend the weekend celebrating our rescue successes, discussing problems and challenges, and benefiting from presentations on topics such as socialization and how to care for dogs with Fanconi syndrome.
We do it for the tail wags, the baroos, the grace, beauty and litheness, the mischievousness, the sweetness, and the eloquently poignant message we get from those beautiful brown eyes when a basenji realizes he’s safe in his forever home. We are BRAT and all that we do, we do for these miraculous little curly tails who’ve stolen our hearts. We do it for the dogs.