This is a full Circle of Life love story.

It’s about our dog Yogi, who we adopted as a
rescue from the wonderful Montclair, NJ PAWS sixteen years ago.

This past Tuesday Dec. 6th, we made an excruciating same-day decision to put 16 year old Yogi down after learning that morning he had a life-ending health issue from which there was no return. It was a sad and heavy day, the kind that never gets easier.

This story begins in 2006 when we were looking for a companion buddy to our two year old Jack Russell Terrier Lilah, and heard about a Jack Russell puppy at PAWS.

The puppy sat there unclaimed for 3 months after being found in a local pharmacy parking lot. We adopted him, named him Yogi after Montclair’s beloved Yogi Berra, and so our love story begins.

Yogi worshipped his new friend Lilah who became his sun and moon. To us, he was our court jester, spicing up our calm household with his happy howling, racing through the house playing fetch and demanding daily toy tug of wars. He made our dog door a revolving dog door all day, romping through the seasons in and out of our yard, always a step behind Lilah. He’s the only dog I knew who would charge out into the yard during a thunderstorm, point his nose to the sky and bark at the lightning.

This big self-image made him bark at the ocean too, racing along the shore as waves hit, barking them back into the sea. He was a self-anointed trusty soldier, defender of our fort, where friends, family and contractors had to pass muster before he allowed them in our midst. Yogi had a
natural mohawk along his back ridge which stood straight up the more excited he became. It suited his personality well. People would often stop me on our walks about it, thinking we had cut it that way, it was so distinct. He had spring loaded legs, and could levitate onto any bed in the blink of an eye. His energy and joie de vie were hard to contain. So as Life chugged along, our deep love developed as we all adapted to our feisty, quirky, loving furry friend. Yogi endured Lilah’s nearly passing 5 years ago, and settled in to being top dog and the only dog as his aging presence and personality filled our house and our hearts. The void Yogi left has been shocking, to think this little funny 15 lb boy’s personality and charm could enrich our home so thoroughly in every nook and cranny these past 16 years.

In my grief, I pulled out all of our dogs’ paraphernalia, paperwork, toys, treats, leashes, collars, bedding onto our dining room table to donate. As I sifted through vet paperwork to save the meaningful bits, I came across Yogi’s Montclair PAWS Adoption paperwork which I hadn’t seen since that eventful day many years ago. I recalled that morning like it was yesterday, little Yogi being led out of his cage to where I sat on the floor to meet him. He climbed in my lap, threw his head back into my arms, and put on his best-ever brightest show to win me over. It worked. The adoption papers were keepers for sure. As I looked at the paper more carefully, I saw it was dated Dec. 6th, 2006 — 16 years to the day! Now that’s crazy. I could hear Yogi howl!

Nina Sloan

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