It is eight years ago today (May 12) that I found FULA in the Southern Sudan. We had arriv-
ed the afternoon before at a village very near to the borders of the Belgian Congo and French
Equatorial Africa, and whilst John and Michael were off looking for somewhere to pitch our camp
beds, I was in the Land Rover when a native who spoke very good English, asked if he could help
me. I explained we were looking for "Ango Angari," which is the native name for Basenjis, and he
said he would send messages into the forest and the dogs would be brought to the village. That very
evening a native turned up with a puppy. It was a sweet little thing, it looked purebred, but was a
poor specimen with a long back and straightish tail. I explained it was not what we wanted, and did
not buy it.
I was very taken aback when a short time later, Michael arrived with the same puppy, and
handed it to me saying if we did not buy they would not bring more puppies in for us. I could see the
point, but I could not help feeling that we were going to look a bit silly, having travelled thousands of
miles, spent hundreds, almost thousands of pounds, and this was all we had to show for it. We
deflea-ed and fed the puppy, then it curled up and went to sleep on my feet, and when I went to
bed, it insisted on coming too. It was a roasting night, and a puppy curled around one's neck in a
narrow camp bed with a mosquito net a couple of feet above one's nose, is hard to beat for sheer
physical discomfort. I remember I threw off the mosquito net feeling I'd sooner die of malaria than of
a heat stroke.
Next morning I wearily emerged, escorted by the puppy and standing by the Land Rover
ready to leave when a native appeared with a puppy in his arms. She was wearing a strip of brightly
colored native cloth around her neck, tied in a bow; the only puppy we ever saw wearing a "collar. "
I looked and looked again. I asked for her to be put down, and within a few minutes I said I'd buy
that puppy. John asked me what I would do with the other pup, and I said I would give her back to
her owner and ask him to spend her price on food for himself and for her, whereupon John said if I
was going to do this sort of thing all over Africa it was going to be very expensive, a remark I enjoy-
ed then and still do.
We next concentrated upon the new puppy, we asked her name. FULA, which I wrote on an
old envelope which I still possess, as FOULA, and I was immediately corrected to FULA. The tran-
slation being "a cork. " We asked her breeder, Sayed Ruge, about her parents. BOBI and DANA-
KIDE, without hesitation was his answer so I feel it was correct. We were then invited to go into the
forest to see her sire and dam, as her father has "such a curly tail. " We had a journey of 170 miles
ahead of us over rough tracks to be completed by nightfall, so we did not accept. This is my greatest
regret of the whole trip, it would have added so much interest to have seen FULA'S forebears. We
know the "very curly tail" must be true, and I would not be surprised if we had found that one of her
parents was black and white because of the black and white puppies that have descended from her
through a recessive gene. It will amuse most of you that John and Michael pulled my leg for the rest
of the trip - calling me "the fool who bought Fula. " Below is a photo of FULA, taken two weeks
after I got her.
CH. BINZA OF LAUGHING BROOK is called "Tiger. " Alas, the tiger stripe is a dominant
gene so we can only get it again if we get another tiger stripe. "Tiger" was in England for nine months,
but the Basenjites in the northern section said they would never allow this color to be included to the
standard, so the only thing to do was to send him back to Michael in Rhodesia. I imported his
daughter M'BUNGA, mated to him. It cost me the earth and then she was not in whelp. That's the
good and bad luck of importing. FULA has been my only really lucky import.