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Trixie: A Basenji Dog With a Golden Heart

Pups that look just like the mother.

Pups that look just like the mother.

Trixie Was Not A Bloodhound

We had many dogs on our grandfather's farm, but Trixie was more than just one of the other dogs; she was a member of the family. She was also the protector of us kids and went everywhere we went.

Trixie always led the way and seemed to know where we were going. Whenever she was ahead of us, all we could see was the white of her curly tail and the white of her face. She would go with us to the Blue Hole and the creek and she would swim and chase rabbits or squirrels. Trixie knew when we were going to the Blue Hole and would lead the way, and we would follow with our canes, which we used as fishing rods.

Trixie Cried Real Tear Drops That Rolled Down Her Beautiful Face

When Trixie had her first litter, I knew she was different.

When Trixie had her first litter (three little pups) we all wanted to hold them even though they did not have their eyes open. Trixie did not seem to mind, but I can still hear Mammaw say, "You kids give those pups back to their mother so she can feed and care for them. You can play with them when they get their eyes open and can run around." We would gently put the puppies back in Trixie's bed and she would wash her babies as they fed. But, we never got the chance to play with them. Pampa said we had too many dogs, and before they were weaned, he took them away.

We kids sat around Trixie as she cried. Without making a sound, her tears rolled down her beautiful face and dropped onto the wooden porch floor, forming little puddles on each side of her nose. This was because her babies had been taken away from her, and all six of us cried with her.

As her tears rolled down

They splashed upon the wood

Somehow I knew that Trixie understood

This time her pups were gone for good.

Bit by the Rattle Snake

Trixie was not afraid of anything, so when she happened upon a rattler, she was not leery and went up to sniff it. The rattle snake struck her on her back. We heard the rattle of the snake, and when we heard Trixie yelp, we knew that she had been bitten. Pampa grabbed a hoe and killed the rattle snake.

Pampa made an incision with a sharp knife at the puncture wound where Trixie was bitten by the rattle snake. He held Trixie in a pan of kerosene so that the wound was submerged. He said that this method would draw the poison out. I guess it must have worked because after being sick for a few days, she got well.

A few more days after that, we were in the yard and heard the familiar rattle. Trixie ran toward the sound in the weeds. Pampa said, "That dog wants to get herself killed," and he reached for the hoe. But, before he could find the snake, Trixie came out of the weeds, dragging the snake with her. She had killed her first of many rattlers, and she became a mighty hunter of rattle snakes.

Trixie Died Giving Birth

Later, we moved to Indiana with my mom and stepfather. My aunt came for her children and they moved to Chicago. With no one left to help Mammaw and Pampa with the chores, they sold the farm animals, boarded up the log house, and moved to Chicago.

I am guessing that my grandparents knew that the independent Trixie, who was allowed to come and go as she pleased, would not be happy in an apartment. So, she was taken to my Aunt Hattie’s house to live until they earned enough money to start having a new house built.

In less than a year, after my grandparents moved to Chicago, Trixie died giving birth to her last litter. She had been allowed to continue roaming the farm land that was still owned by my grandparents. Aunt Hattie said that Trixie’s pups were too large for her to give birth normally. With no veterinarian nearby and Aunt Hattie not having a phone, Trixie was doomed. Although we had other dogs, I never forgot Trixie. I can still see her in the tall grass, the only thing showing was her head and the white of her tail.

When we moved to California from Indiana, Dad (our stepfather) adopted a jet black Cocker Spaniel, and we named him Jip. Jip was always chewing up shoes and did so much damage that we gave him to a family who owned a house with a fenced yard, where he would have lots of room to run around outside. After Jip, we got another dog and named her Pigeon (nicknamed Pudsie), but I never forgot Trixie.

This Is What Trixie Looked Like

The Independence of the Basenji

Many years after Trixie died, my husband and I went to a dog show, and for the first time, I saw dogs that looked just like Trixie. That was when I realized that she was a Basenji (or at least part).

After the show, I went to the library and did some research on the Basenji. I was amazed at what I found. It was then that I realized what a unique and awesome animal she was.

The Basenjis are somewhat like cats in that they are very independent and keep themselves clean. They yodel, they laugh, and they cry tears, and it is said that they don’t bark. It is also said they mimic other dogs. Trixie did bark, but not much — only when strangers came around. Her bark never sounded exactly like other dogs. I never heard her yodel, but I did hear what sounded like laughing from her. My research also revealed that the Basenji does not like water. But, Trixie used to swim in the Blue Hole or the creek when we went fishing.

Do You Have a Basenji?

I still think about Trixie. She was such a special dog. It was so sad that she died without her family by her side, except for Aunt Hattie.

© 2013 Shyron E Shenko

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