Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Case of the Missing Water Bowl

Everyone knows that basenjis are mischievous, but sometimes they still manage to surprise us.  Case in point:  Last Friday, my husband and I came home from work to find our basenjis' water and food bowls missing from the kitchen.  No big deal, we thought, they've done this before.  Often when the weather is bad and the dogs can't spend the day sitting outside (they have a dog door from the kitchen to our securely-fenced backyard), they get antsy in the house and start to make trouble.  There's not much inside the house that they have access to get into, because we know better through experience, but that doesn't mean that they won't still open the kitchen cupboards and pull out all the pots and pans, or dump their water and food bowls in the kitchen and carry the bowls upstairs, tracking wet paw prints as they go. 

We've tried to curtail this behavior by putting child locks on the cabinets and purchasing a heavy ceramic water bowl with no lip on it, but to no avail - they still manage to get into the cabinets and carry their water bowl around. A few times we've even found that the dogs have gotten so inventive during the day that they have miraculously managed to pull things in/out of their dog door, such as when we've found their dog bowls outside in the yard, or huge tree branches in the kitchen, or the day that we actually found a live tortoise in the living room when we got home from work (see "An Unexpected Guest"). So when we saw that the bowls were missing, we were amused but not alarmed, and we figured we'd just look around inside and outside and find them sitting in the yard somewhere.   

An hour later, after scouring both the dog areas of the house and the entire backyard, we had found the two metal food bowls, but the heavy ceramic water bowl still remained MIA.  It was quickly getting dark, so we gave up the hunt and resumed in the morning.  Another 30 minutes of searching in the morning still turned up nothing.  Where on earth could a heavy ceramic water bowl have gone?  It's not like they could fit it under the fence (the fenceline is secured by chicken wire dug into the ground), and it's not like they could have tossed it over the 6-ft tall stockade fence.  We don't have animals in our yard because the dogs have hunted everything that moves to within an inch of its life, and the ground is too frozen to dig in.  So where on earth was the bowl?? 

Finally, by Saturday afternoon, I had an idea.  I went out to the far corners of the yard, where sometimes leaves tend to accumulate between the fence and the evergreen pointy-top (arborvitae) bush.  I dug around in the leaves some more, and as I was digging around, I spotted a hint of tan ceramic peeking at me from the middle of the bush.  Triumphantly, I extracted the water bowl from the inside of the bush -- not from the leaves, as I had expected, but from about 2 feet off the ground, hidden inside the evergreen foliage! 

As I trotted back to the house, water bowl in hand, I was very pleased with myself -- those little basenjis thought they had me fooled this time, but I showed them - I guessed their trick!  And then I thought about how it had taken me, a fairly intelligent human, just a little more than 2 hours' time to figure out how to outsmart a dog (albeit two very smart basenjis), and the realization dawned on me that the dogs had, in fact, still won.  Sigh. 

1 comment:

  1. Your site brought tears to my eyes with memories of Generalissimo Ralfarino J Basenji. We lived on a farm, and one day he just appeared, and was resistant to leaving (probably because my brother and I were slipping him forbidden food...) For some unknown reason, almost all dogs *hated* my Dad, but Ralf was OK with him, so we were finally allowed to adopt him.

    WE thought he was a terrier-mix mutt and were dumbfounded when the Vet told us he was a rare, purebred, very expensive dog. (He looked very much like the dog in the lead on your header-pic with a less curly tail.)Very little info was available on the breed. The vet used his contacts to search for a "lost" basenji, but our area was a popular area to dump unwanted animals. People always think a farm can hold one more...

    Ralf was quiet and so we kids were able to sneak him into the house, where he slept with my brother. He was also nonshedding and fairly odorless. He treated my Dad with polite distance, offering obedience but never did "the lean" on him, and acted as if getting on the furniture never crossed his mind - if Dad was home! So people-smart.

    The barkless thing was actually a moot point, as Ralf could wake the dead, if he thought it was neccesary. He memorized what car I left in, and if I came home in a different car, the roof was raised (as well as questions from my parents as to why I left with Mike and came home with Jerry...)

    Although we had barn cats, chickens, a few pigs and cattle, Ralf totally ignored them. He was a people guy, and never hung out in the barnyard without a Human, which also pleased my Dad.

    In those days of the 1970s in the country, good dogs were allowed to roam free. Ralf's downfall was hunting near a neighbor's pond, where he gor a foot caught in a trap. It had to be amputated. Within days of finishing "rehab" into a 3-legged dog, he returned to the pond and got caught again.Basenji stubborness... I will never forget Mom and 3 teens crying so hard in the car as we had to make the decision to put Ralf to sleep, as we knew he would never be happy as a dog with no front paws. We all still tear up when we talk about him, almost 40yrs on.

    If I could have a dog, it would be another Basenji. He was such a character, and such a good boy. Nice to see they are still around and more popular!