Monday, July 30, 2012

Graduation Night

by Linda Grupp Boutin

     Star experienced a special joy in the last week. Gary purchased her a new bed, just her size. We lined it with a towel and our little basenji girl got to sleep in the bedroom with the rest of us. Up until this time, Star had been sleeping in the dog crate, but she has made such progress in the last month or so she got to graduate to her own bed. And last night at bedtime after going for a quick walk with Gary, she literally dragged him back to the bedroom--past the dreaded crate and straight for her bed. She catches on really quickly when she wants to...
     She's been receiving quite a few new privileges lately and it's been paying off for all concerned. Housebreaking complete, nipping curtailed, starting to perform tricks for treats have led to a new level of trust for Star. She and Kindu tolerate each other, although with no signs of affection yet. He sleeps in his bed on my side of the bed, she sleeps in her bed on the opposite side.
     Curly Girl, as she is sometimes called, has learned how to dominate the force of Kindu's personality. With only an occasional growl, she has declared her beds to be her "safe" places. So when the basenji boy is chasing her around and she's had enough, she jumps into her nearest bed and stands her ground. If he pursues her further, she growls very quietly and he tends to back off.
     These may sound like miniscule steps to you, but for a 7-year-old "outside only" dog they mean a lot. She still has moments when she dashes around the house confused about why she isn't being chased outdoors, expecting to be banned from the house. It's at those times, that my heart breaks a bit for the years she spent contributing to the basenji breed. When I saw her beautiful litter of pups, 4 girls and 2 boys, 3 tri-colors and 3 red and white babies, I realized her work was complete. Now she is retired, ready and willing to stretch out on the couch beside us, encouraging us to pet her continually by craning her neck backwards to make us feel guilty with those dark brown eyes if we dare stop.
     Yep, the girl has found her home and she is enjoying every minute of it. She loves the food, works hard to pick up any stray crumb on the floor, sharing daily walks with Kindu, and loving her new life: a lady of leisure who has graduated to her own bed.