Pongo Facts:

Born: around May 1, 1995, in Lome, Togo.

Attitude: Yep. In abundance.

Gender: Male (but fixed).

Breed: See FAQ 1.



Lome, Togo | 1995-1996


Idaho and Washington | 1996-1999


FAQ 1: What kind of a dog is he?

A. Good question. Short of a DNA analysis, I doubt I'll ever know for certain, but he bears significant traits of Basenjis and Jack Russell Terriers. He also physically resembles the African Wild Dog, but would be very small for that breed.

The phrase psycho-terrier has been used from time-to-time to describe him. The characterization is not completely inaccurate.

More accurate might be to just describe him as a Pongo. Like Tigger, he's the only one.

FAQ 2: How did he get into the United States?

Short answer: I paid a lot of money.

Long answer: He received all the required shots from a french-trained Togolese veterinarian, who issued him a carnet international de sante (international book of health). For those who've never seen one, it resembles a passport and has a place for a photo or nose print of the animal in question in addition to his medical history

He then flew KLM with Chuck from Lome to Amsterdam, and KLM boarded him at Amsterdam during the 24-hour layover. Pongo was noisy but well-behaved under the circumstances. The only incident occured when he was stretching his legs in the Amsterdam airport while we waited for someone from the KLM kennel operation to pick him up. Pongo decided to mark the Dutch Customs desk as his own. The Customs agent wasn't too happy, but seemed to understand the needs involved after an overnight flight, and KLM had someone take care of the mess.

We then continued to Pullman, Washington via Detroit and Seattle. Yes it was expensive, and the airlines charged by gross weight (including the kennel cage). Pongo has been back in the kennel cage, but never without a long fight.


Central Coast, California | 1999-2001


Southern Calfornia | 2001-2006

Near Joshua Tree


FAQ 3: Where does the name Pongo come from? Does it have some african tribal significance?

A. Actually, it comes from the lead dalmatian of the Disney movie One Hundred And One Dalmatians. Pongo was the name of the "father" of the 101 puppies. One of the Embassy kids suggested the name and I liked it. I guess that to a 5-year-old a black-and-white dog must be a dalmatian.

FAQ 4: Wow. Where did he get that scar? Sometimes phrased as 'Tell me about the incident with the Rottweiler.'

A. On May 10, 2002, Pongo was seriously injured when a Rottweiler pulled free from her owner's fiance and attacked him, biting Pongo in the lower abdomen. He underwent surgery at Animal ER of San Diego to repair a hernia, i.e., push his intestine back into the cavity where it was supposed to be and sew him back up.

In the short term, recovery involved living with drain tubes, surgical staples, the Elizabethan collar/cone and a pain patch on his shoulder. Extensive lying around being spoonfed canned dogfood and chicken broth was also involved.

In the longer term, recovery involved getting him comfortable around other dogs again (still working on this one) and rebuilding the strength in the abs and hind legs needed to jump, run and climb stairs (now pretty much accomplished).

Follow-up Q. What happened to the Rottweiler?

A. The San Diego County Department of Animal Control came out on May 12 and did a very thorough and professional investigation. They seized and quarentined the dog. Since this was the second bite on a human reported to the Department (he got Chuck too), a hearing was held on June 12 to determine if the dog should be classified as a "dangerous dog" under California law. The dog was found to be dangerous. The dog was not returned to the couple and they have since moved away from the neighborhood.

Recovery | Spring 2002

 May 14, 2002

Pongo passed away July 19, 2006, at the age of eleven. He had a long and full life, and made Chuck's life better every day he was in it. Several kind and generous people, including Scott Barnes, have made gifts to the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA in Pongo's memory. Their generosity and thoughtfulness is very much appreciated.

More images of Pongo.

Home | About Chuck