It is with a heavy heart that I say that Gus, the 12-year old beloved Basenji, passed away last week. I didn’t mention anything about his illness, as we were hoping for more good days and more time with him.
I met Gus about a decade ago when I met Chris (my ex). When Chris and I started sharing our lives together, Gus became my dog, too. When Chris and I split up last year, Gus stayed with Chris. Over the last year, I was lucky enough to get extended “custody” visits while Chris traveled.
Gus suffered from tumors on his spine. They were inoperable and benign. As they grew, they began to effect the movement on one side of his body until it was too difficult for him to get around. Chris made sure he had the very best of treatments. Gus was not in pain.
Here’s what I’ll remember about Gus.
|Gus was a sweet and funny guy.|
|He and Ike were best friends from the moment they met.
Gus was totally the boss, and Ike was cool with that.
|Gus and Ike were a great team.
Before Chris and I moved in together, both dogs had huge issues with separation anxiety. Once they had each other, they could hardly care less when the humans left the house.
|The family grew and changed, and every dog that came into the house knew to respect Gus.|
|Unlike other Basenjis I’ve known, Gus enjoyed quiet time on his own.
While everyone else was crowding in for a spot on my lap, Gus could be found happily chillin’, away from the chaos.
|Gus was a smallish Basenji, and super fast.
It was a nightmare to ever have to catch him when he didn’t want to be caught.
|Gus lived more places than most people. He was born in Texas, then moved to Detroit. Then Chris was transferred to Seattle, where we met. The four of us (Chris, me, Gus, and Ike) were transferred to The Netherlands. Then it was Houston, with extended stays in Austin with me.
He also traveled across the country in a car several times. He was a super good car dog.
|His official official name was Augustus Africanis, or something very close.
His full name was Gustopher Wayne.
He answered to Gus, Gussy, Gussy Wayne, Baby G – and when he was a puppy, “Dammit Gus!”. (He was a difficult puppy.)
|Over the last several years, Gus and Ike have both mellowed-out and become more predictable dogs. No more worrying about someone eating the sofa, ripping up carpet, or hiding a toilet brush in the bed.|
|Basenjis are “barkless”, but Gus was quiet even by Basenji standards. When he was super happy he would wag his tail and make an excited little whine – but he never “barooed”.
I always said that the only time Gus would make a noise is when someone stepped on him, which was pretty accurate.
|He was both sweet and demanding.
He would gently bite anyone who dared to stop petting him.
|There are lots of people who are going to miss Gus and his big personality.
Chris and I both miss him very much.
I’d like to end this post on a happy note. This is how I’ll remember him most. Gus had a great sense of humor. While he was truly frightened by a few things – children, thunderstorms, and bouncing balls….there were a few things he pretended to hate for the comedy factor – pepper, chapstick, and spray bottles.
Here’s a little video of Gus reacting to chapstick.