Happy Tail: Basenji was a Houdini of a dog

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Mara had been going through a rough patch in her life and thought a dog would help. She adopted Josie after seeing her on Petfinder and, as it turned out, the rough patch hit some new bumps.

She says the dog she adopted, listed by a shelter as an Australian Cattle Dog mix, was more like part kangaroo/part demon — “also known as Basenji.”

Josie's separation anxiety came close to putting her adoption in jeopardy.

Josie’s separation anxiety came close to putting her adoption in jeopardy.

The first day Mara had to leave the dog home alone, she gated off an area. Upon her return, she was surprised when Josie greeted her at the door. Inside was a wake of destruction.

For two weeks, the dog defied all the barriers Mara constructed. She met Mara at the door each day with a “happy face and a wagging tail” — and a disaster zone. She ripped up carpet, chairs and couches. Mara was afraid to crate Josie for fear she would harm herself trying to escape.

“At one point, I considered finding her a new home,” she says. “I honestly thought she was trying to tell me she wasn’t happy here.”

She provided lots of exercise and chew toys and enrolled her in training. She was at her wit’s end when the trainer suggested a Thundershirt, a tightly fitted wrap that calms anxious pets.

With high hopes, she put it on Josie and left. She came home to a happy dog and a tidy house.

“What I didn’t know at the time was Basenjis suffer from extreme separation anxiety,” Mara says. The Thundershirt gave the dog a sense of security.

She believes when you adopt you are making a vow that the adopted pet will have a permanent home. “You make a commitment to remain patient through the learning curve, calm through the mishaps and positive about trying new things.”

Mara did so and now has a beloved companion.