The Basenji Club of America African Stock Project

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Rabies from the English Point of View

by Veronica Tudor-Williams

    As there is so much talk about the dangers of rabies, often described by the uninitiated as "greatly exaggerated and no need to worry," I feel that my experience as an inexprienced layman, might help them to change their minds.
  In 1938 I imported a most delightful little Basenji bitch. She came by ship from Port Sudan, and was given complete freedom as she was the pet of all on board. I met her on the ship where people lined up to see if I was a suitable owner for such an enchanting dog, and then I went with her by special van to the quarantine kennels. I visited her twice during the next week, then the following day I had a phone call to say her disposition had altered completely, and instead of jumping into the kennelman's arms to kiss his face, she cowered in a corner and had then rushed out and bitten him. He called the other kennelman who came into the kennel and he was bitten in the leg and then the poor little dog rushed into the enclosed run howling in a weird and pathetic way. The Ministry of Agriculture was sent for and they placed a guard on the kennel day and night as the tragic little mad dog was ripping enamel off her drinking bowl and doing all she could to escape, I was informed. I remember putting my head down on the telephone table and I wept my eyes out - not only for myself and for her, but also for the future of Basenjis.
  Rabid dogs are not allowed to be put down, they have to be allowed to die as it is only in the last day or so that the rabies virus appears in the brain and rabies can be confirmed. Poor little CANDY had the worst sort - furious rabies, and I am glad to say she died within about three days. Tests were made and it was confirmed that she had died of rabies.
  My next contact with rabies was when friends wanted me to look after a super little native dog SUEH being sent home from Equatoria, in the Southern Sudan in 1954. They wanted me to watch his welfare in quarantine and then care for him in England until they came home, and they especially wished him to be used for stud as he was described by the Basenji experts in S. Sudan as an exceptionally good speciman which his photos confirmed. I made all arrangements, then 24 hours before he was due to fly to England, I recieved a cable, "Journey postponed, SUEH ill." It was then confirmed by letter that SUEH'S disposition had changed in a few hours, he had bitten 14 people, and a few days later had died of confirmed rabies....


Excerpt from
The Basenji
Volume XII Number 1 January 1975 p. 18
Copyright © 1985 The Basenji, All Rights Reserved
Used with permission