One of the most popular categories in the Basenji Companions’ on-line photo contest is the Destruction Category. Basenji lovers proudly send photos of the carnage left in their basenji’s wake and then vote for the coveted Destruction Award. What will it be? The third chewed TV remote in a single season? The shredded blinds? The severed seat belts? The thoroughly customized articles of clothing? The leather ottoman? The many decimated books? It’s so difficult to choose. While just a way of life for Basenji parents, this celebration of our magical curly tails’ ability to outsmart us is bewildering to the uninitiated.
Over the weekend we struck up a conversation with some nice folks who mentioned their dog Daisy, apparently a paragon of canine virtue. A (non-basenji) rescue, Daisy is sweet, loving, and has nary a bad habit. They confided that occasionally Daisy licks the cat’s dish, but at a single “No,” she stops. Doesn’t eat the cat food, doesn’t chase the cat, doesn’t chew anything. This is so far removed from reality as we know it that we can scarcely conceive of this.
I spoke animatedly about Ivan and Dasa’s endearing habits and often astonishing powers of destruction. As Daisy’s mom’s expression grew more and more alarmed, I said breezily, “You have to be a little nuts to have a basenji. (pause) We have two.” Surprisingly, this did not have the reassuring effect I intended.
I decided not to mention the following destruction tale as I was reasonably sure Daisy’s parents were even more delighted with her than before we spoke, and I saw no reason to trouble them with further evidence of Ivan and Dasa’s extreme cleverness.
Yet another destruction tale: When I came home one evening Eric said, “Something happened.” It seems the embroidered wedding sampler I had been laboring over for months had caused offense and been summarily chewed. I said, “Where’s the needle?” The needle had been discarded in the rug, so there was no immediate crisis.
The culprits, probably elves, had disposed of a large corner of the fabric, but had graciously stopped about an inch away from my embroidered stitches. Fortunately, the frame shop was able to rescue the savaged remains and hide all evidence of the alterations. No elves or small dogs suffered any digestive consequences, so all was well.
This was, of course, my fault for failing to realize the elves were capable of accessing that particular storage spot. A higher flat surface was required for future safe keeping.
How sedate life would be if basenjis did not exhibit a lively curiosity in their surroundings and a willingness to help with any number of projects.