This week we said goodbye to Dex, Mr. Dexterity with Pips.
The second of our aging trio, Dex was fifteen. Too big to show, he was sent from our breeder friend in Santa Barbara back in 2007 to join Jetta, Larra, and Eva, previous gifts from the “basenji farm.”
Dex was one of our most gregarious dogs. In pictures from the puppy litter, he is front and center with his nose to the camera, and he is the only basenji we’ve had who yodeled—the distinctive basenji song, which I described in another blog written years ago.
“Barkless, they are; mute they are not. They talk, growl, howl, and if you’re lucky, yodel. You can listen to this uniquely basenji song at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQxY7AWF4O4. But you have to be lucky to have a singer of you own. In twenty years, Dex is our first true yodeler. We’ve surprised a yodel out of one or two, but none like Dex, who celebrates with song when we discover a pack-mate who’s managed to shut herself in the storeroom or garage. And there’s nothing, but nothing, like being greeted with a howling song of joy when you arrive home after a long day.”
One of the neat things about basenjis is that they don’t show their age; they neither gain weight nor stiffen in the joints. Dex moved more slowly as he aged, but ran as gracefully as a two-year-old. Only his occasional erratic behavior signaled an aging brain. Whirling about wildly on the lead was the first signal; dogging our every footstep was another, then tremors, then a seizure. Saturday, he rolled off the couch and couldn’t get control of his limbs. Time to say goodbye to our yodeler—to send him off to join Bridget, who died in March, and the eight others we’ve enjoyed over the years.
The house is very empty, but there’s still Jake, our thirteen-year-old rescue, asking for his walk. Jake is the twin of Rocky, our first basenji, which feels like a sort of closure, but probably isn’t.