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14 November 2011

A couple weekends ago, I took the Bows to a lure coursing event sponsored by the local whippet club. In contrast to the fast dogs I expected to see, I was moving too slowly in the morning so we didn’t arrive until the afternoon. By then, the grounds were pretty deserted. They had just cut the line on the coursing machine and were already packed up since the turnout was pretty small.

One of the judges identified me because of the Two Bows. She’s a respected breeder and a member of the Basenji Forums that we both frequent. Even though I missed all the action, it was helpful to have her sort of talk me through the setup, and I felt encouraged to attend future events. Of all the types of “official” dog activities, coursing is the most appealing to me. It seems less intense than agility, and you get to share the thrill of watching dogs — sighthounds, especially! — in fluid motion.

In pleasant company

I was also pleased to have an expert eye get a look at Bowpi. She has been through enough previous owners that we have no information at all on her original breeder, but it was hinted that she might actually be of “decent” breeding based on her absence of dewclaws. A thin, pink scar where those front “thumbs” would have been suggests that someone took care early enough in her life to adhere to this practical standard (as it is for US Basenji breeders).

So after seeing Bowpi in person, she ventured a guess as to which local breeder Bowpi might have come from, approximately seven years ago. Months ago, another Basenji person at the dog park had mentioned how Bowpi looked like dogs from this same kennel — it was intriguing to have their two unrelated evaluations corroborate. Of course, a single pair of matched guesses does not rule out the possibility that she was an imported pet store pup or came out of someone who was breeding without the approval of the named kennel.

My thought is that if she was bred in California, and if she wasn’t a singleton pup, another Basenji person will eventually recognize her. Not that there’s any urgency to know where she came from, nor would it change how much we love her. Now, if she was Fanconi-affected or found to be harboring some serious congenital disease, I would want to know who was ultimately responsible. But she’s doing well, so we’ll leave well enough alone.

That day on the beach