I’ve been putting off writing one particular addition to the chapter “Animal Life”. Not because I didn’t want to write it or because I didn’t know what I wanted to say, but because I wanted to make sure I gave it the consideration it deserved, and I wanted to do its subject justice.
Yogi came into my life nearly five years ago. He was one of the many, many animals that BFF’s son Dean has acquired over the years and like the others would have been disposed of (don’t get me started on that). I was visiting BFF and Dean one day, sitting in their lounge room, when Yogi came through from the garage at Dean’s bidding.
In what I know now to be Yogi’s typical manner, he ambled in, looking as if his head was too heavy for him to lift, breathing a little heavily, but with a gentle manner. Our eyes locked, and he came up to me, pressing against my legs while I rubbed his massive head. In what I also now know to be typical, his breathing became louder at that point – he enjoys getting his head rubbed.
Yogi is a Dogue De Bordeaux (French Mastiff). When I met him he was just over four years old. My Instagram and photo library are pretty much full of images of him so I won’t go too overboard in this post with pics, however he is typical of his breed in terms of appearance, although Pumba, from what I understand, is more typical (see here for Pumba’s story or see the Menu above under ‘Animal Life’). In my opinion even his drool is beautiful:
I’m not sure if his nature is typical of the breed. I’ve only had experience of Loopy Lucy and Pumba, but from what I’ve read he seems to be. He is easy-going, loyal to the extreme, protective and vigilant where his property and family are concerned.
He doesn’t bark unless something appears that may be a threat to his property and family, and his bulky, imposing appearance belies a friendly, gentle, loving nature. However, God forbid if you threaten his family or property!
There’s so much more to my relationship with him though, and this is where what I write is going to sound corny. All I can say in defence of that though, is that it’s the truth. I read in a book once that there is one dog for everyone. There have been many dogs in my life, and now of course I have four in my family, and I’ve loved them all, but the dog for me is Yogi, and has been since we locked eyes five years ago in BFF’s lounge room.
I said to Dean afterwards that if he is ever going to re-home Yogi to tell me first. I fully expected Dean to – what he termed – “get rid of” Yogi. (Hate that expression, makes me so angry). It was just a matter of time, and I could not envisage Yogi being with anyone except me. Sure enough, in late 2013, Dean asked me if I wanted Yogi. I had seen Yogi occasionally since then of course, and of course I had no hesitation with my answer.
My mum had just died, and sometimes I wonder if the attachment I have to Yogi is related to that in some way. I was also going through a bad time with Tom. Yogi was certainly a comfort to me, a strength, a friend. My fervent belief though is that to regard Yogi as some sort of replacement or convenience underestimates him and our relationship.
He’s continued to be a comfort, however so much more. Sometimes I will be at home after a tough day at work, and he just KNOWS I feel stressed or worried. Frequently, he has sat in front of me when I’m on the couch in some sort of mental, stressed-out daze, and he gazes at me unwaveringly, occasionally lifting his paw to put on my knee. There was one occasion when I got home from work and I literally just stood in the middle of the living room, thinking deeply about a work matter, and Yogi came up to me and pressed against me. I know for a fact that he wasn’t hungry, didn’t need anything for himself. He just KNEW I was in a bit of a state. The thing about those occasions, and numerous others, is that he DOES comfort me. Transforms me and my world.
I don’t know one person who on meeting Yogi doesn’t like him. He has that affect on people. If there is any such thing as a purely GOOD being, a being that has only love for others, then Yogi is it.
Actually, I suppose I should modify that somewhat….there have been one or two people who have come to my property for some reason or other, and Yogi has not liked them as much as he likes most people – he is definitely more wary. There was one young guy who I had organised to do some paving for me, and Yogi literally parked himself about 20 metres away from where the guy was working and just stared at him all day (ordinarily Yogi would just go to sleep or follow you around in a friendly fashion). Needless to say, I never had that young guy back again.
I love how every day Yogi greets us at the gate when we return home, as if it’s been years since he saw us (when it might have been even just an hour!) I love how he ambles into my bedroom at night and climbs onto his bed, then snores away until morning. I love how when he wants to come inside he scrapes at the door. I love how he gets excited when the neighbour drives past with his dog Jack in the car and the two dogs bark excitedly at each other (it’s their game, the funny loves). I love how he has wrestling matches with Loopy Lucy, and after three minutes has had enough and gives Loopy a bit of a gentle swipe to tell her to piss off now. I love how he might feel like showing Pumba who is boss, but he will look at me and know I don’t want that going on in my house so he will decide against it. I love how he loves the kids in a different way to how he loves me – like he is their pal. I love how I know I can trust him unreservedly and can rely always on his unwavering, steadfast loyalty. I love how he brings a smile to my face every time I see him.
One of my plans in the medium term is to travel around Australia with Yogi, in a caravan or motorhome. BFF was going to come with us, but being the killjoy he is, he has decided such a jaunt is not for pets, so he no longer wants to come (in my opinion, BFF doesn’t want to be apart from Dean for the extended period, and I have no intention of travelling with Dean – but that’s a story for another time). So, I go with Yogi alone unless someone else amenable puts their hand up. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest being with just Yogi (have spent many an hour doing just that), and I am so looking forward to it. Haven’t quite worked out the logistics of the trip yet, but I know we are going.
If you’ve read this far you won’t mind me quoting from a piece of prose I came across (author unknown) which pretty much sums up how I feel:
“Some of my proudest moments have come about with ‘just a dog’. Many hours have passed with my only company being ‘just a dog’, and not once have I felt slighted. …In those days of darkness, the gentle touch of ‘just a dog’ provided comfort and purpose to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it’s ‘just a dog’, you will probably understand phrases like ‘just a friend’, ‘just a sunrise’ or ‘just a promise’. ‘Just a dog’ brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. ‘Just a dog’ brings out the compassion and patience that makes me a better person….
For me…it’s not ‘just a dog’. It’s an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment. ‘Just a dog’ brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day….
So the next time you hear the phrase ‘just a dog’, smile, because they ‘just don’t understand'”.