Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Reunited Litter Mates- The Story of Fox and Saavik

It was not long after we purchased our first home, that I felt the desire to have a dog. Zack was not so easily convinced that it was the proper time to add an animal to our family. After many months of pouting and discussion, he finally agreed that we could begin looking for a dog. The question was what kind of dog? Zack's parents owned and showed Basenjis when Zack was very young and Zack always had fond memories of the peculiar little dogs. I began researching them and instantly fell in love with their beauty. We read all the horror stories and happy endings and found ourselves still interested in adopting! I grew up with a Jack Russell Terrier and felt I could handle the fast paced lifestyle and sense of humor that owning a Basenji would require.
I scoured the BRAT website and found an adorable little brindle girl named Josie that seemed to be a good fit for us. I filled out the adoption application and contacted Josie's coordinator. Zack was confident it would take months for us to get approved and be selected for an available dog; however, imagine his surprise when I got the call confirming that we were approved after our initial home visit. From there, it came together very fast and we found ourselves driving to Lexington, KY to meet a BRAT Volunteer who helped transport Josie to us from her foster home in Michigan. It was love at first sight and she really is a Mommy's girl. We renamed her Saavik after Kirstie Alley's character in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan ( We love Star Trek). She was the most rambunctious thing I had ever encountered and destroyed her brand new crate within the first two days of having her. All we could do was laugh and shake our heads at how clever she was.  

Our clever girl, Saavik
It didn't take long for Zack to fall in love with Saavik. In three months, he went from being someone totally on the fence about adding a dog to the family to looking on the BRAT website to find another Basenji for Saavik to have a pal. It was at this time that Saavik's coordinator, Suzanne Sarlls-Hartwell, had a brindle boy being fostered by Dean and Terrie Sigler. Dean was great about posting pictures of Fox on the BRAT Facebook group and updating everyone on his progress. Fox had been previously adopted through BRAT and returned because he had bitten his owners. Once back in BRAT's care, it became clear that Fox had been abused and needed to learn how to be a Basenji and trust humans again. We fell in love with Fox and once he had completed his rehabilitation with the Sigler pack, we completed a Foster to Adopt application. Again we drove to Lexington, KY, this time to meet Dean, Terrie, and Fox for the first time. He was literally the sweetest and most perfect little guy the whole ride home. We were know a family of four.
Our beautiful boy, Fox
At home the introduction went seemingly well. Saavik was instantly enthused to have a playmate and Fox didn't seem to mind her too much. The third day we had Fox all heck broke out between the two of them. Zack panicked and tried to separate them with his hand and as you may have guessed, Fox bit him accidentally. He got a pretty nasty bite on his hand and a life long lesson on how not to break up a dog fight. This is where the story, in my opinion, gets interesting. Both Fox and Saavik are brindles and we thought they looked remarkable alike. They also were said to be the same age. I was looking through Fox's records and discovered that they actually have the same birth date and both came from a breeder in Indianapolis, Indiana. I was amazed!! Could these two be actual litter mates?
From what we know, it would seem that they are, and that is good enough for us. BRAT asks that as adopters we do not contact previous owners or breeders and I intend to honor that request. Further, they absolutely hated each other on and off for the first year we had them together. I swear it is because they really are siblings. After about a year, they bonded deeply and are thick as thieves. Saavik thinks Fox exists to play with her and she does a good job of keeping him active (he likes to be a couch potato). They keep us on our toes with their counter surfing and have destroyed a few things over the last couple of years, but we wouldn't have it any other way. I can't imagine not being owned by a Basenji.
~Kristin Blazier, Zack Wolfenbarger, Fox, and Saavik
Knoxville, TN


  1. How interesting that they had a love/hate relationship early on, but are now best friends! So happy they are together. You should post a picture of them side by side.