In early 2001 I lost two dogs in a divorce. It was a brutal decision for me not to pursue some sort of “custody” arrangement, but given that they were not children and perfectly happy in their current environment, I decided my mental health was more important. So I moved on, knowing I would get another dog when I was ready. Six months later, I was ready. I was living (sort of) on my own, renting a house where I was allowed to have a dog, and my new boyfriend (now husband) was game.
One of the dogs I’d lost was Sylvie, a German Shorthaired Pointer that we’d raised from puppyhood. I loved her to bits, and since I felt a bit cheated out of owning a GSP, I decided to see about getting another one. Greg was a bit leery as Sylvie was a handful and full of energy, but he still was behind me. The first thing I did was phone the breeder where we got Sylvie from to see if she had any puppies available. She did, but she also mentioned that she had a three-year-old from Sylvie’s litter that she’d shown, and was now looking for a good home for him. I remember her saying on the phone that he was “very quiet for a Pointer”.
I’d adopted two adult dogs before, and in both cases there were no bonding issues. And the idea of not going through puppyhood again was very appealing, so I decided to go for it. It helped as well that the dog was from Sylvie’s litter. I fully admit that I was attempting to fill the huge hole that her absence had caused, and that connection meant a lot to me.
So into our lives entered Yoshi. It was my decision to get a dog, my decision to pick this specific one, and it was me and my mum who went to get him, but from day one he entered Greg’s heart as well as mine. I don’t remember ever feeling that he was just my dog, not Greg’s.
My mum and I drove to Squamish to get him, and we both have clear memories of the drive back, with Yoshi in the back seat of my mum’s Honda Civic, inching closer and closer to us until eventually he was pretty much in the front, lying across the emergency break, wedged between us. I also remember leaving the breeder’s house, leaning down to put my shoes on, with Yoshi’s snout right in my face. The breeder mentioned that this was something Yoshi “did”. And boy, did he ever.
The plan was to have Yoshi for the month of November on trial, and if everything worked out we’d keep him. He had grown up in the bush, and apart from the dog shows he was in, he spent his time running freely on an acreage near the Squamish River. It was quickly apparent to us that he was not used to city life. So during the first couple of weeks we introduced him to as much as we could. Big trucks, buses, umbrellas, other dogs…we took him everywhere. And he was scared of everything. I remember thinking that we were not going to be keeping this dog, he was too skittish. But then he started to get used to things, and get used to Greg and I. And by the end of November I don’t think there was any question in Greg’s or my mind. This dog was ours.
And so it began. What followed was eight and a half years of true companionship. He was my faithful running partner and my company on countless walks through the woods. He was our greeter, our plastics chewer, our counter surfer, our in-your-face-as-you-put-your-shoes-on dog. And just over a week ago, in the wee hours of a rainy Monday morning, we made the decision to put him down. He had stopped eating and stopped drinking, and we knew it was time for him to go.
I miss him terribly. I miss the clack, clack of his claws on the hardwood floor in the mornings as he let us know it was time to eat. I miss his quiet snoring in the evenings. I miss petting his silky ears. I miss his presence in our household. He filled a hole for me but he’s left an even bigger one behind.
I know that I will fall in love with another dog. But Yoshi will always hold a special place in my heart. He helped me heal from a bitter breakup, and he was one of the founding members of what is now the Fox family. He was around for a pretty amazing time in my life. Good bye, my sweet pup. I love you very much.