Thalia’s familiar spirit is a basenji. Basenjis are about the size of a fox terrier. The standard male weighs 24 pounds and is approximately 17 inches at the shoulder.
Basenjis are members of the hound group and use both their eyes and noses to hunt. Originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they were used to flush game into nets.
Basenji-like dogs can be found all over the world, but the basenji is distinct from these village dogs, because it doesn’t bark. They may bark a few times as puppies, but almost never as adults. For the most part, basenjis are silent, but they’re not mute and make many other sounds. Their growl sounds a bit like a rabid duck. They make a noise basenji owners call a yawn meow. They can howl and they make a charming sound called a yodel when they are happy to see you.:-)
Here is video of a red and white basenji puppy yodeling:
Basenjis come in five colors, Red and White, Black Tan and white (Tricolor, think Bernese mountain dog colors) Black and white, Brindle and white, and Black Brindle and White (we call it trindle)
So why a basenji? The simplest answer is because I love basenjis. All the things I love about them make them great familiars. Small enough to pick up, quiet, they clean themselves like cats, they have no doggy odor, they shed some in the summer and the fall and the rest of the time very, very little. They are charming little clowns.
Check out this video: (give it a second to load) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deoESC_q_aE&feature=youtube_gdata_player
And this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSQiuF2YECg&feature=youtube_gdata_player
They are not for people with very small children. If you hurt them, they will nip!
But for respectful older children and adults they are fantastic companions.
Check out the interstellar support crew and furry familiars page to see Sky and Banner my late red and while basenjis. And scroll down to see my brindle puppy, “Ranger.”