“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.”
– John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog
Yogi, my oldest daughter Robyn’s lovable three-legged corgi, left us last week.
Yogi was such a happy dog. Her loving nicknames for Yogi included “Yogs” or “Yo-Yo”.
Yogs made me grin when he would run…if you can call it running. Indeed, it was like watching a huge log of Jimmy Dean sausage on steroids with four Vienna sausages¹ as legs chugging through the grass.
Man, he loved to play with a ball. You’d toss a tennis ball or a toy and he would just instantly turn his back on you and bound away with his tailless butt the only thing you could see… just like how the famous Willie Mays did after hearing the the crack of the bat. After he chased it down, he’d bring it back near your feet. He’d then stare at the now motionless ball… And if Yogi thought you were ignoring him, he’d use his long, skinny nose to nudge it closer to you if you didn’t pick it up. “Again! Again!” he was saying. The simple joy he must have had.
The only time he wasn’t happy was when fireworks went off. He would cower behind Robyn’s toilet, shaking in fear, with his two shivering rear legs protruding out from behind the toilet. He was such a lovable wuse.
And he always wanted to be alongside somebody. “Hey! Me! Me! Look at me!” he was saying in dog-speak.
Yogs loved everyone – at least everyone who loved dogs. He was always so happy to see you. And he also knew who loved him. He took in my dad and Old Man Jack very quickly on Father’s day in 2011.
When Robyn would bring Yogi to my house, I’m sure he sensed in her car with his doggy nose, “Ooo! Ooo! We’re near grandpa’s house… The house that I can jump onto comfy sofas all I want and leave my hair all over them…and mama can’t say no! Woof!”
And one of Yogi’s most favorite spots to sit was on my lap as I sat on my sofa; it was a silent doggy signal… His stubby little Vienna Sausage legs would propel him right onto my lap as soon as I sat down. No invite was necessary. Then, he would would lovingly lay his head on my nice round belly.
Once he made it to my lap, he didn’t have to say one bark; his face said, “Pet me, you dumb human, while I leave tons of my hair as souvenirs!”
Well, perhaps I was stretching it a bit. Yogs didn’t really care whose lap it was… It would become HIS spot. No matter what you were sitting on. No matter how little space there was… It was all his space.
But make no mistake about it. He knew who his mama was. When Robyn would bring him over to my home to look after him for part of the day and then grew tired of all the attention I was giving him (How rude!), he would patiently wait at the door for his mama to come home.
And of course, his “Feed me some of that human food!” face.
“Huh? I don’t care if it has preservatives! …What??? Mama said no??? Well, if you don’t tell her, I won’t!”²
It was right before Christmas last year; her usual happy boy Yogi was then not only limping, he would yelp after I patted him on the usual spot: his side near his shoulder. After a few persistent visits with different vets, Robyn tragically found out why her beloved son was limping.
Yogi had cancer. He was only eight.
She was devastated. We all were but I felt most badly for Robyn and I knew exactly how she felt. Yogi was a big part of her life and he provided much happiness. But just as if Yogs was her boy, she opted for surgery… but in order to remove the tumor, her beloved Corgi had to lose his leg.
He returned home the day after Christmas last year. Robyn was so happy Yo-Yo was back home.
We went to visit Robyn on August 23rd. Even with all my failings, Yogs would always greet me with great happiness at the door with his stocky Jimmy Dean Sausage body nearly bowling me over. But this time, he barely made it over to me as we walked in. I said, “Yogiiii… What’s wrong?” I secretly feared for the worst. I knew in my heart something was very wrong with Yogi.
She took Yogi to the vet on August 30th. Inoperable cancer had now spread to his spine; he was in great pain. She called me over that night to say goodbye as did many other family and friends. There was great sadness. But there was a happy moment. She said I could give Yogi some of my human food deli sandwich. I think we all gave Yogi some. He must’ve been so happy.
Yogi left us the next day, August 31st, while being lovingly held by my daughter and son-in-law, just like Masako held my grandma in her arms as she passed away, Yogi was blessed with having such an adoring mom and dad.
I know he is in doggy heaven. More precisely, the “Dogs That Brought the Most Happiness to Mom and Dad” wing of doggy heaven. While very, very sad, I know Robyn’s heart is at peace knowing her beloved Yogi is now free of pain.
I will dearly miss you, Yogs.