Meet Oliver, a precious 13-year-old senior Basenji who is looking for that special someone to love him for the rest of his life. Oliver is a special boy who has some medical difficulties, some physical limitations, and an incredible story of how he came to be in a shelter in Oklahoma, where BRAT found him and has been nursing him back to health. Oliver is now ready to share his love for life with you as he writes the last chapters of his amazing story.

To fully appreciate Oliver’s story, you need to know that Oliver is blind and nearly deaf. He also has cardiac disease with multiple heart murmurs, a high heart rate, and an irregular rhythm. On top of that, when Oliver came into BRAT in early May 2021, he had a very severe case of heartworms that caused fluid buildup in his lungs.

With that background, go back a few weeks to April 2021. A senior black and white Basenji showed up on someone’s front porch in Bethany, Oklahoma. The poor dog was just skin and bones, had patchy fur, and a terrible cough. The person who found him took him to the local shelter. Seeing how fragile and unwell he was, the shelter placed the dog with a temporary foster who named him, “Oliver.” The shelter found that Oliver had a microchip, but it was not registered, and the implant facility did not recognize the chip number as one of theirs. The shelter posted about Oliver on their Facebook page in an effort to find his family. One of our dedicated BRAT volunteers in Oklahoma saw the post and notified BRAT. We contacted the shelter and after no one claimed him, the shelter released him to BRAT. Oliver went to live with a BRAT foster.

Oliver’s BRAT foster also tried very hard to find his family. Concerned there was someone out there who was heartbroken over losing their beloved blind and deaf senior Basenji, Oliver’s foster searched high and low for Oliver’s family through social media and lost dog sites. She did not find his family, but she did discover that one week before Oliver appeared in Bethany, he had been found as a stray in another suburb of Oklahoma City — 20 miles away! The people who had found him posted that he slipped his collar and ran off.

We will never know how this blind and deaf senior boy with heart disease and a severe case of heartworms traveled over 20 miles, across at least one interstate highway, to end up in Bethany. You might say he was lucky, but his luck got even better when BRAT found him.

While living with his foster, Oliver was treated for his heartworms. He got the slow-kill method, because with his age and heart condition, the fast-kill method would have killed him. Oliver’s coughing was caused by the heartworm infestation, not congestive heart issues. It has gotten better since the heartworms have died off. Oliver also has had a full cardiac evaluation, including an echocardiogram and an ECG. Oliver is on three medications for his cardiac disease and for the issues caused by the heartworm die-off. The medications are designed to delicately balance managing the pulmonary inflammation from the heartworm die-off while supporting the heart by increasing its efficiency. The total cost of the three heart medications is approximately $110 per month. The vet has said that the heart problems are a forward moving-disease and will progress as Oliver ages, but that this treatment plan will slow that down and gives him the best shot at having a good quality of life for longer than he would have otherwise. Oliver has also seen an ophthalmologist for an eye infection. He has eye ointment and is on a temporary course of oral antibiotics. The eye infection will clear soon, but we’ll know more about that in a week or so.

If you have read this far, yay! That means you probably want to know what Oliver is like! He is a sweet and gentle soul. Initially, he was very aloof at the foster’s and rarely sought out affection. But over time, and as he has begun to feel better, he is more comfortable asking for affection. Oliver shows this by leaning into the foster and pushing his face into her hands for scritches. There is a lot of activity in the foster’s home and the foster believes Oliver will really blossom in a home where he can get lots of undivided love and attention. Oliver is likely to be standoffish with his new family for a while at first, but if you are patient and gentle with him and help him know he is safe, secure, and loved, he will come to trust and love you.

Oliver’s favorite things include sunbathing in the backyard and sleeping in a pile of blankets or very soft bed. Oliver loves other dogs and especially likes to cuddle up with them or sleep in the other dogs’ bedding. Although Oliver would like a canine companion, Oliver will only be placed in a home with another dog IF that dog is a gentle, non-reactive dog who gets along with other dogs and can accept a dog who cannot read doggie body language or hear snarls and growls. Similarly, Oliver will not be placed with a cat that may be aggressive to him because he can’t read an angry cat’s body language or hear the hissing.

Despite being blind and deaf, Oliver manages well. He can find a doggie door and is able to figure out where things are after feeling his way around (he does a little prance with his front feet to feel where something is, so he won’t hit his face). He is easily startled because he can’t really see or hear what’s coming at him, and he gets anxious when he doesn’t know where he is, like when he is in the bathtub for a bath. The foster has found in those situations, it helps calm Oliver to gently put a hand on him to let him know you are right there and everything is okay.

Because of his conditions, Oliver needs to keep his activity level down so that his heart rate is not increased. That means no walks and no roughhousing. Fortunately, Oliver is not an energetic dog. And he is perfectly okay with being picked up and carried places. When being carried, he will sometimes “swim” with his legs while being carried, but that’s because he isn’t sure where the ground is.

Oliver is housetrained. He has had a couple of accidents that happened first thing in the morning when he wasn’t able to find the doggie door quickly enough. Taking him outside first thing in the morning will help avoid that problem.

Oliver’s ideal home is one where someone is home most of the time and he has a fenced yard to sun himself and doggie door access. His ideal home will also be a low-activity family that is sensitive to Oliver’s disabilities and medical needs and is willing and able to get excellent vet care for ongoing management of his heart and pulmonary disease. The successful applicant will need to verify that they have a vet who is willing and able to follow through on Oliver’s treatment and management plan. In addition, BRAT will send Oliver with a 60-day supply of his medications.

We don’t know how old Oliver actually is—the vet’s best guess is something between 12 and 13. With careful attention to his medical conditions and by providing him a loving low-activity and low-anxiety life, you may be able to give him several more years to live his very best life in a loving forever home.

If you think you could provide Oliver with love, gentle understanding of his limitations, and the veterinary care he needs, please read the data sheet below carefully, complete the BRAT adoption form (if you have not previously done so) and contact the BRAT coordinator, Deborah Hughes.

The coordinator's link will take you to a form that will ask you your name, email address, the city and state you live in, why this dog is perfect for your family, a typical day in your household, and, if applicable, how you plan to transport Oliver.

There is an adoption fee of $75.00 for Oliver. This fee is used for the extensive costs associated with vetting and otherwise caring for Oliver and future Basenjis in rescue. BRAT adopters receive a dog that has been spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, treated for fleas and internal worms if necessary, DNA tested for Fanconi syndrome (dogs under 10), and heartworm tested. Our dogs get recommended dental work. When indicated, we test our dogs for thyroid deficiencies. They are also temperament evaluated. In addition, BRAT provides free lifetime post-adoption counseling to help deal with behavioral or health issues. Finally, we provide a free lifetime identification tag connected to our "lost dog" toll free number.

ABOUT THE DOG
Dog is a: Purebred
Dog's name: Oliver
Dog is currently in: Oklahoma City, OK
Birth date: 2008-09 (est.)
Gender: Male
Color: Black and white
Weight: 24 pounds
Neutered/Spayed: Yes
Tattooed: No
Micro-chipped: Yes (but not registered and unknown company)

HEALTH INFORMATION
DHPP: 5/7/2021 (3-year)
Parvovirus: 5/7/2021 (3-year)
Rabies: 5/7/21 (3-year)
Rabies certificate: Yes
Coronavirus: Not tested
Bordetella: 5/7/21
Lyme Disease: Not tested
Fecal: Negative
Heartworm: 5/7/21 Positive – on treatment
Regular heartworm given: Yes – as part of slow-kill treatment
Urine tested for Fanconi: No
DNA test for Fanconi: No
Other tests: ECG, echocardiogram
Regular medication info: Vetmedin 10mg 1x per day; Tadalafil 20mg 1x per day;
Predisone 5mg 2x per day; Neo Poly Dex eye ointment; oral Cephalexin

EATING HABITS
Eating schedule: Twice a day
Type of food: Dry
Brand(s) of food: Purina ProPlan Ur Urinary Ox/St
Begs for food: No
Favorite foods: Anything flavorful. Dislikes fruits and vegetables.
Feeding instructions: Feed in crate. One and a quarter cup Purina ProPlan UR Urinary OX/St twice per day, mixed with chicken broth or tuna.

TEMPERAMENT
Temperament description: Timid and skittish, but will approach for affection after he has learned to trust his handler
Lived with children: No
Likes children: Unknown, but probably not because he is afraid of sudden movements and loud noises
Lived with cats: No
Likes cats: He was tolerant with an acquaintance’s cat
Lived with dogs: Yes
Likes dogs: Yes, but not bullying aggressive dogs
Prefers men or women: Either, but prefers people who are soft-spoken
Likes strangers: Wary of strangers
Nips (playfully): Will nibble on your clothes to ask for affection
Bites (in anger): No
Crate trained: Yes
House broken: Not completely
Destructive indoors: No, but has not had the chance
Destructive outdoors: No, but has not had the chance
Dog is a climber: Unknown
Dog is an escape artist: Yes, he will bolt through an open door
Easily startled: Yes
Wakes up grouchy: No
Rides well in car: Yes
Gets carsick: No
Rides in crate: If necessary, but is fine in the backseat
Yodels: He has howled when he felt abandoned
Screams: Once, when startled
Dog sleeps where: Currently in crate, but would probably like to sleep in the human’s bed if allowed.

If you are interested in Oliver, please use our coordinator contact form, to email our BRAT coordinator, Deborah Hughes. Thank you!

There is an adoption fee of $75.00 for Oliver. This fee is used for the extensive costs associated with vetting and otherwise caring for Oliver and future Basenjis in rescue. BRAT adopters receive a dog that has been spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, treated for fleas and internal worms if necessary, DNA tested for Fanconi syndrome (dogs under 10), and heartworm tested. Our dogs get recommended dental work. When indicated, we test our dogs for thyroid deficiencies. They are also temperament evaluated. In addition, BRAT provides free lifetime post-adoption counseling to help deal with behavioral or health issues. Finally, we provide a free lifetime identification tag connected to our "lost dog" toll free number.