Friday, September 2, 2016

A Redesigned Pack

By Linda Grupp Boutin

     Many months have passed since our basenji boy departed across the Rainbow Bridge. His collar tucked away in a drawer. And now friends and family ask me if Star is lonesome.
Star at 5 weeks old

     Since this is her first time being the sole dog in a human pack, Gary and I agree that she does seem to be lonely at times. What she doesn't object about is being the sole recipient of our attention. Kindu had such a big personality that she often stood in the background waiting for her turn. Now when we come home she runs back and forth between us trying to say hello to both of us at once.

    She accepts her role of lying between the two of us often using our computers for what would seem a very hard pillow. She has adopted the basenji habit of dancing for her dinner when she is hungry and the clock has strayed a bit past dinnertime. Her play bows are reserved for me when she is trying to get my attention to fill a dry water bowl or take her out for a walk.

     Lately I have asked Star if she wants a puppy. She has no clue what I am talking about, but I figure it is time for her to learn a new word, that is puppy. We know bringing a youngster into our home will turn our routines upside down again. Just like Kindu did. The volume of walks will go up since our habit is to escort our pups outdoors the instant after they finish eating, wake up for a nap, or show any inclination whatever that they need to go. More walks will be good for all three of us, so I am not concerned about this. House training basenji pups is usually relatively easy.

     What does worry me a bit is a pup's energy level. Gary and I are nearly a decade older than when we took on Kindu's puppy days. His challenges to us came daily, lasted all day long until he fell asleep at sunset, and were invented creatively by him to keep us on our toes. Grabbing anything for a good game of chase around the dining room table remained a lifelong favorite of that basenji boy. No matter whether it was a pot holder dangling from his mouth, a brand new cell phone, or something he scrounged from a visiting friend's purse. 
Might this boy look a bit like our new pup?

     One big question on both our minds is whether to get a male or female. We had so much fun with our boy, it is tempting to get another male. We already have tentatively named him "Red." However we know that God is in control and that the appropriate dog will be with us in His timing, just like with all of our past pets. One of the most calming messages I understood after Kindu died was that I should be thankful for the days I shared with him and for the companionship Star has provided helping to fill a large hole in our hearts.

     So we watch and we pray and we wait. Right now the answer to our prayers is to wait. And sometimes that is just about the hardest thing any basenji or their pack members must do.