Saturday, October 24, 2015

Finding Herself

By Linda Grupp Boutin

The first thing Star did when Gary and I returned without Kindu was to examine closely why her brother wasn't with us. A thorough sniffing told her that all we brought in with us was his collar, but no basenji boy. Impossible for me to explain to her, she had been well aware of his illness and that he wasn't doing well. She had taken to cleaning him like he was one of her puppies. At first he objected, but her persistence wore him down and he allowed her to lick his face and keep him clean. 

Star has always been one of our most fastidious basenjis, washing her face after every meal, keeping the floors clean with her own unique style of "vacuuming," trying to wash every bit of the coconut oil lotion off my hands as I let her get away with; the smell is just a bit too much like food as far as she is concerned. She is getting accustomed to being the only dog of the house. She no longer bolts down her food the second it hits the floor. She lingers over breakfast, sometimes not finishing her kibble until it's almost dinnertime.

Star looking backwards trying to convince me to pet her!

She approaches life in her own unique way, quietly, sometimes silently sitting beside me. Then turning those baby brown eyes backwards, reminding me that her ears, tummy, back, paws, face all need good and proper petting. I often wonder how in the world she can turn her neck this way without harming herself in the process. But she manages it on a daily basis. 

She enjoys moving from Gary to me, back to Gary then back to me. She relishes not fighting for the prime position next to our leg on the love seat. But she no longer enjoys long sunbaths on the patio with her best bud, Kindu. She prefers to stay in the house all day long with us, never concerning herself about the comings and goings on Flora Lane. At times Star seems to be completely bewildered having lost her compass in the form of her basenji brother.

We all are learning to live without Kindu, the life of the party. His example about how to enjoy each and every day, rejoice over the falling leaves and the singing birds, and greet every visitor with a loud BAROO. Star's calmness is unnerving  after 7 years with our boisterous boy leading the parade.

So now Gary and my conversations have turned to the subject of adding a 4th member to our pack. Basenji babies are only available in February, so stay tuned. Maybe not in 2016, but certainly by 2017 an addition to the pack is coming. After all, we need Star to train the new puppy about how to behave. Just like Kindu did for her.
Kindu on his puppy leash the first day home, ready to explore the neighborhood.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

How Do You Brush a Stubborn Male Basenji's Teeth

Fig.1 C.E.T.
Note: We invited a guest blogger to provide his unique experience with brushing Basenji teeth!

By Gary Boutin

Tools and Supplies
C.E.T. Tooth paste kit 
A brave owner

One of the interesting adventures for a pet owner is to brush their teeth. After all good hygiene prevents tooth decay and bad breath. 

This post shows the seven steps on how to brush a stubborn Basenji canine teeth without getting bit.

Step 1: Fig.2 shows the logo for Direct to you PetSupply at, where I purchased the Oral hygiene product.
Step 2: Fig.3 shows C.E.T. Home Dental Care is distributed from Canada. Fig.4 shows the Canadian address.

Step 3:  Fig.5 shows the product comes with a brush, toothpaste and a finger brush. 
Fig.5 Oral Hygiene Kit
Step 4: The first step is to show that the toothpaste tastes good. Fig.6 shows the chicken toothpaste that will be introduced to our dog, Kindu. Fig.7 shows the chicken toothpaste is being smelled by Kindu.

Fig.6 Chicken Toothpaste
Fig.7 Chicken Toothpaste Introduction
Step 5: The next step is to place the chicken toothpaste on the outside of the dog's gums. Fig.8 to Fig.10 shows Linda applying the chicken toothpaste in Kindu's mouth. Notice how he is cooperating with the application. (Not really!)

Step 6:  Linda tried using the finger brush and Kindu would not cooperate. Fig.11 to Fig.13 shows more pictures that Linda used in brushing Kindu's canine teeth. He likes the toothpaste but the overall hygiene was not accomplished for this boy.
Fig.11 Brushing front teeth
Fig.12 Brushing Canine Teeth

Fig.13 Holding mouth open
Step 7: At the end all Kindu would agree to was to eat the toothpaste. Linda tried her best and she could not get this job done. Whose fault is it, it's Mine. If I had done this to Kindu when he was a puppy and brushed his teeth then, this process would have been easier and maybe a little fun for him. 

P.S. At 10 years old, all Star wants to do is eat the toothpaste--an extra meal with no brushing!
 This post was written in memory of Kindu my friendly boy Basenji!
Kindu 2015

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Monday, October 12, 2015

A Heavy Heart--Hoping for a Rainbow Bridge

By Linda Grupp Boutin

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I must share with you the loss of our dancing basenji boy, Kindu. Despite all our efforts, attempts at homemade meals and pancreatic enzymes, vitamins and digestive medicines, he lost his battle with digestive disease on September 17th. We found so many foods he just loved, for a week or two, but, in the end, despite eating, his scarred intestines could no longer absorb the nutrients required to sustain him. It turned into a long, hard grind for him to simply eat or drink. 

About a week before he crossed over the rainbow bridge, a new friend, Bridget, stopped by our house. He greeted her entrance with an enthusiastic baroo and spent most of the evening trying to steal her chair which she graciously gave him. He attended our meeting quietly waiting for it to end. This was one unique dog among dogdom. Leash snapped in place, we walked her to her car with  Star and returned home after the dogs finished their business.

Comfy for the night, he stretched his long, skinny frame beside me and I ran my fingers over his prominent rib cage recalling the many conversations over the last month between Gary and me that, "Our boy is failing." I would introduce a new food, make a fresh run to Petco for another different canned food, cook up a round of chicken thighs and baked endless array of trying to tempt our boy to eat something, anything...

During the final month we tried all we could do to restore his strength and spirit. Trips to the dog park brought happiness, but he no longer ran and played, choosing instead to stay beside us. As always his favorite place was stretched alongside one of us in the recliner or better yet for a nap in the big bed. We settled into a daily routine including cooking, feeding him, cajoling him to eat, walking him and picking up after him. Once the food reached his tummy, we hoped for the best but too often watched him endure pain from the feeding.

I weighed him frequently watching his weight fluctuate between 20-22 pounds. No matter what I tried I could not help him regain to his thin 24 pounds or robust 27. Eventually he would no longer eat twice a day anymore, but only would eat after the heat of the day late in the evening. He no longer wanted a morning drink of water and drank less and less every day. He turned up his nose one evening to all food except a hand-fed chicken thigh sitting on the floor beside him. We knew we had reached his limit and decided that the next morning to give him his release.

His final trip in the car provided him the delight of sticking his nose out the window and letting the wind brush back his ever-alert ears. I drove and Gary held his pal and little buddy on his lap, holding onto the spirit of joy and mischief that filled our home to overflowing for just 7 short years. A normal lifespan for basenjis is 12-14 years. But we knew our boy had some special challenges with his digestion along with eye issues from too much inbreeding. We always will cherish these final 9 months when Kindu worked so hard to eat and drink to please us.

It is my dearest hope that somehow God has provided a special place across a rainbow bridge for my fur babies. I am so grateful that He placed these examples of unconditional love in my life for me to emulate. I envision all the dogs of my life running through a green meadow chasing one another in circles and shaking their heads about the silly pair of humans they have shared in their pack over all these many years.

Kindu the summer before his illness took over

From my friend Linda Conger