Marvin & Sally Wallis
introduce a New PUPPY to their Pack!

(There are other pictures of Chezz, dotted around this website)

Towards the end of 1998 we lost two of our old folks, Deedles and Ziggy, Plessy is not a winter-season girl, Hope was miserable without her best buddy (her Mum) so we found ourselves owners of a bitch puppy sired by Curly.

Her name is Chezz and you can click to see her pedigree.

It was not really on our minds to buy in a puppy. There are always hopes that Plessy will oblige us this summer, but Marvin went to see the litter of six and came back grinning like the Cheshire Cat. Two days later I went and returned convinced that somehow we would manage to integrate a small Madam into our established adult pack.

Could you have resisted this five and a half week old lady ?

We love our girls but the boys are 'special' and with no Deedles to keep company with Curly during the season season - a boy would have been wonderful. BUT - supposing Plessy doesn't have a summer season, and supposing she does and doesn't have any girls and - -
- - well, we played the "what if ?" game and luckily had fallen in love with one small female Basenji person.

This is a very proud father doing his 'Rodin's The Thinker' act.
What HAS he done this time ?

You can see others from this litter at Argos with Peter in Greece

When she was 8 1/2 weeks old, I took Curly and Hope to bring Chezz home. I was late and tore out of the house, forgetting the cool-bag for the hare the boys had promised me, my own fruit-juices for the journey, Hope's wax jacket, a sweater for the baby and a camera. When I realised my omissions I was already an hour up the road so carried on. Traffic was dreadful. Hope was tired and not at all sure that this funny little creature would be fun to have around (she was tired from the show the day before - quite a few hours of travelling) so Chezz rode home with Curly. She was perfectly happy in the crate, wearing a collar I HAD remember to take with me, and when we made a comfort stop I hitched a lead to it and she made no fuss at all.

Chezz had the kind of upbringing from Burt & Ted that we try to give our own puppies. She was accustomed to having toys and bones taken away from her and to giving them up if/when required, she was perfectly relaxed in a collar, a crate held no terrors, and so long as she wasn't alone in the car - that was all right too. She loved cuddles and attention. And she was very nearly house-trained. And VERY friendly.

We effected introductions on the tennis court and then all went into the kitchen together. Marvin instantly got a meal ready, banging pans and keeping to the normal feeding routine (Plessy first by the door, Hope (from the right hand) and Curly (from the left) at the same time in the middle of the kitchen, then Shani over by the sink - those were the days when we had eight and they all knew their places and the order in which they would be served !) Chezz is now fed first - she gets hers in the porch, put down at the same time as Plessy's just inside the door. The hounds fed, once more we all went into the garden. That was 'it' as far as the formal integration went.

It had been our intention to put Chezz into a crate for the first couple of nights but there was no need. She settled down using Grandmother Shani as a pillow and slept the night piled up in front of the Aga with the adults.

We took a few days to change her feeding regime from the kibble provided to the normal diet of our pack - she has an enchanting habit of finishing all but a few crumbs, rushing around the garden and chasing leaves, then coming back and finishing off her dinner. She carries her bowl in her mouth and runs off if she feels anyone else might eat from it.

The trip to the Vet for her first shot was a bit traumatic. I took her on her own and she screamed for the entire journey, was a divine little angel while we were there, accepted the shot without fuss and screamed all the way home.

Sometimes Chezz is leery of strange humans. But we encourage visitors and suggest they win her heart with a cat-ring. She LOVES cat-rings... and it usually works.

For the first few nights she slept on the pile and Hope was a little hesitant around her but one evening something scared the puppy and Hope 'took over' at once and adopted Chezz as we always hoped she would. Hope likes to occupy the alcove which she shared with her mother (special soft bedding for old people !). Before that it was Donner's sanctuary from the younger pack. Chezz sleeps there or in the communal heap. Hope is firm, very gentle and tolerant and disciplines her new charge in true Basenji fashion. Plessy shares her ball, and Chezz has her own rabbit which she shares with Plessy.

She tried to take a chew-stick from Plessy one morning and Plessy told her off - I didn't interfere - she must learn to take lessons from the pack. They can teach her at least as much as we can. Plessy was the only one with a chewstick and I have no idea where she got hold of it - the others knew enough to leave her to it.

We are taking great care to spend time on the floor playing with the biggies as well and whenever she gets attention, so do they. Curly is terrified of his daughter and backs up into the corner ! Poor man - we MUST get a boy puppy soon - hopefully Plessy will oblige in the spring/summer. When they get a 'treat' so does Chezz but last in line as befits the smallest.

Chezz plays in the garden for ages, chasing leaves and chewing things. She comes down onto the tennis court last thing at night when the adults take their run before bedtime. She loves to chase the washing on the drying line, blowing in the wind. Leaping up, hanging from it and being thrown off her feet in a somersault is GREAT fun !

A word of explanation. The 'tennis court' used to be one but it fell into disuse, was broken up, turfed and the surrounding chain-link removed. It was too much (with everything else) to mow every week in summer so we have worked at turning it into a wild-flower meadow with mown walk-ways meandering through it. The Basenjis, needless to say, keep strictly to the paths in winter when the grass is shaggy and wet but it is a wonderful exercise area for all age groups - or a place to lie in the sun and chew on a favourite bone. It gives us and a myriad colourful butterflies great enjoyment too.

This was taken early in the year when the colours were not as vivid or varied as they later become. Our 'Pet Cemetery' is along the far end, both sides of the Chestnut Tree planted to commemorate my father

And Marvin, Plessy and Curly agree that mowing is hard work !

I make a point of taking the adults out for a long walk every day after lunch and while I am gone, Marvin takes her up to the road to watch traffic from the safety of his arms (later she will be put on the ground) and walks her on the leash up and down the drive. Carrying them away and letting them 'lead' the way back works fine to get a baby used to it.

It is now just over two weeks since we fetched her, and she is very happy, crows and yodels, plays and explores all her waking hours, rushing all over the place or picking her feet carefully, Basenji style in the long wet grass. She knows exactly how to let us know when she needs to go out. If she is caught short, there is a metal tray with newspaper close to the back door and she uses that.

At first she stayed close to the back door and wasn't sure of herself

But then she perked up considerably !

And some things really smell attractive !

All the adults are contributing to her education. Hope is a gentle tutor and a pillow at crash-out time. Plessy is a little more bouncy and is teaching Chezz to chase her around in a very tight circle, changing direction with a proper 'Basenji roll'. Except that Chezz falls over sometimes in her excitement. She is teaching Chezz 'submission' by scruffing her and then by allowing herself to be scruffed - so by example as well as by formal 'this is what happens to you if.... ' lessons. They love to chase a frisby on the tennis court together and then wrestle for it.

Curly has already taught her to untie the postman's shoe-laces (his special forte) and to prevent me from tying my walking boots. From Shani she knows to chew a bone and/or a plaque-attacker and sharpen her teeth before meals - and that if she lies on top of her Grandmother and wiggles, she will slip down between the old lady and the Aga.... The interaction of the Pack and the Puppy is quite wonderful to observe. They have agreed to accept her and she is theirs and they are training her. And we are largely letting them do things their way, only stepping in (minimally) if things get a little rough.

We remain vigilant but relaxed over any discipline meted out to this young ball of energy by the more staid adults but that is part of pack life. She has to learn from them how to become a pack-member and to get the best from her life with us.

Her next 'adventure' will be to the Vet again for her second shot (ALL the adults are due for theirs too so it'll be expensive) and she'll go to ringcraft classes in due course. She will just sit and watch until she has enough confidence to join in. And she will come, with Hope as mentor, to the woods to see her first rabbits and learn to come back for a piece of liver !

She has to practise stacking !

We loved her to pieces and she is a tremendous credit to Burt & Ted's care, attentive socialising and rearing.

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Sally & Marvin Wallis
Zande Basenjis
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