One of the first things I learned about Basenjis is that the breed is very pack-oriented. Now for some people that means a pack of two, for others, a pack of ten. It's kind of a discretionary thing. For the past two years, I've been one-half of a well-bonded pack of two with my Clover Four Leaf. From the beginning it was clear to me that I have to include Clover in everything I do. She practically insists, refusing to allow me to even go to the mailbox unattended. Since I have always been a homebody, I worry that Clover will get bored with me. Yes, really - I worry! So, I take her everywhere, including running errands. I now know that regardless of how dull the ride seems to me, Clover totally owns her role of co-pilot! Getting out of the house, seeing things, especially moving things, is stimulating for her and provides precious opportunities to work on those social skills.
Apart from the obvious places - outdoor markets, pet stores, the park, and the bank drive thru - I take Clover to a few off-the-wall places as well. If an establishment doesn't have a posted pet policy, I can often take Clover inside without any fuss. We've been inside a video store, a yarn shop, and too many antique emporiums to count. We're welcomed at a couple of restaurants that have outdoor seating; and at Home Depot no one even seems to notice that Clover is a dog. One time, I turned my back for just a moment, and the next thing I knew, a salesclerk was helping Clover load my buggy with Marrakesh window treatments!
Hands down the most difficult time Clover rode shotgun was her first car trip to Louisiana to visit my family. Like a trooper, though, she eventually got the idea that I could keep the car between the lines without her constant vigilance, and she settled down, only popping up when I said "gas" or "McDonald's". Subsequent road trips were even smoother and Clover is an official Road Warrior! Now, after a mere 20- or 30-minute errand, she looks at me as if to say, "That's it? We didn't cross any rivers or state lines!"
Our at-home time is still the mainstay. The daily routine is essential to Clover's sense of security. She is a homebody at heart, just like her mommy. I realize that Clover would have bonded with me even if I never owned a car. She just wants to be with me. But those errands and car trips have been important, because she feels included in everything I do. The pack is together! It's always fun, having her next to me in the passenger seat, knowing she's enjoying herself and her world.
Next stop, VEGAS!