Aspen the Ace

We passed a milestone at our house last week. Aspen, one of our basenji dogs, became an ace. Let me introduce you to Aspen. Like I just said, she’s a basenji, which is an African dog native to the Congo. The breed has roots going all the way back to ancient Egypt. Basenjis are sight and scent hounds, meaning that they hunt both with their eyes and noses. And since they’re hounds, they tend to pursue small game out in front of their human masters, thus requiring planning and thinking by them to catch their prey.

So back to Aspen. She loves to hunt like her cousins in the Congo. She already had four kills on her list, two squirrels and two bunnies. Believe me when I say that the wildlife in our backyard usually grazes or plays with one eye on the dog door leading to the house.

Last Wednesday morning, I’d gotten up early to water the flowers since it was so hot outside. I noticed that she was delicately nibbling on something in the back corner of the yard. I frowned and turned back to the watering. Something didn’t seem right. I’d better go check on her, I thought. So I headed to the back corner. That’s when I saw it. She’d caught something and with the appetizer finished, she was getting ready to settle down for the main course. “Aspen!” I screeched, most likely loud enough to awaken any neighbors who were still sleeping.

I snatched her up and carried her inside. “Steve!” I shouted. “You wouldn’t believe what she did!” I slammed down the plastic door over the dog door.

He only groaned. “What?”

“She got a squirrel!”

Being the mortician of the family, he went to the garage, got a glove, and headed outside. It turned out to be another baby bunny. He dutifully disposed of it. Later, as Steve was crating them for the day, she yodeled twice.

Some of you may wonder if we scolded her. I have to admit, we didn’t. Hunting is deep, deep in her nature. I was actually proud of her for having the smarts to bide her time and wait patiently for prey. So now Aspen is an Ace in the basenji world.

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    The Conversation

  1. kath says:

    I’m still stuck on the fact that you got up early to water the flowers. That’s dedication.

  2. Jenn Mercer says:

    Heh. We have a similar attitude when one of our cats catches an animal — although I have to admit that we have not told our daughter about the baby bunnies.