Meet Yogi. He’s an adorable goofball and he is in need of a forever or foster home!
Today Yogi is with Lost Dog animal rescue and they are working to find him his new family. While that’s Yogi’s story today, we want to share with you how Yogi’s story crossed paths with our story, why we think he’s pretty special, and why he might be the perfect addition to your family.
Yogi’s story in our lives started on a Saturday back in October when we were on the way to our Foursquare. Driving along a well trafficked two lane country road on a cool and overcast fall afternoon, we saw a little brown dot moving around on the side of the busy road off in the distance.
As frequent travelers of this road we’ve seen it all. From foxes to deer to possums to skunk, it’s a great part of the area to see wildlife but we’re always concerned about them getting hit by passing cars. Not knowing what the creature was we slowed as we approached, both interested to see what sort of animal was ambling along the road, and also wanting to be sure we didn’t have an animal meets car encounter. But when we got close enough to see who it was, we were shocked to see that the animal we’d been approaching was a very cute dog jogging along the side of the road, apparently looking for food.
Alex and I have a soft spot for animals in general, and seeing this little pup wandering on a busy country road simply broke our hearts. Without a second thought Alex pulled into the next drive to turn our car around and said, “We have to help him, we can’t leave him out here like this.”
Before I knew it we were stopped on the road, Alex was out of the car, and I was doing my best to make sure traffic coming from either direction was slowing down to make sure nobody got hurt. We both initially assumed this little fellow had perhaps escaped from his yard, and we planned on looking at his tag to take him home. As Alex crouched down on the side of the road, the pup seemed to happily run over to him to see what he had to offer. He wasn’t aggressive at all, and seemed to be more curious. We quickly realized this dog didn’t have a home, and there was no home that we could return him to. He was emaciated from weeks or months without proper nourishment, as filthy as I’ve ever seen a short haired dog, nose rubbed raw likely from foraging for food wherever he could find it, and never having his nails trimmed his pads were red and cracked between his toes from walking endlessly along busy roads. To say it broke our hearts is a significant understatement.
While Alex was doing his best to wrangle the surprisingly friendly and jovial dog, another driver in his pickup truck stopped to see what the fuss was about. By this point Alex had befriended our new four legged friend to the point where he had actually picked the dog up to prevent him from running into traffic. After the neighbor graciously shared a box of Chik-Fil-A nuggets with our canine hitchhiker (he gobbled them right up) and confirmed he didn’t belong to anyone that lived nearby or along the road, Alex and I decided it was our duty to load the brindle beauty into the back of our car and figure out what to do. No more than five minutes in the car and the exhausted and hungry hitchhiker was fast asleep.
He was so emaciated we could clearly see his ribs.
Knowing that we had few options on an Saturday afternoon thanks to typical shelter closing times, we took our new co-traveler in the back of the car to the nearest shelter in Maryland in the hope we could make it before closing. Lulu, who had swapped places with me and was now riding up front with Alex, was thoroughly confused at the prospect of a new dog that was now suddenly in the back of her car. To her credit, she handled the whole situation with more poise than either of us expected.
Unfortunately, we arrived at the shelter after closing time. They had an “overnight drop” cage where we could have left him, but given his seemingly starved state, approaching rain, and the sense that we’d gotten him too far to simply leave him in a cage, we couldn’t give up.
We were able to contact local animal control through the county police and arranged to meet an officer at the shelter. She would ultimately be able to let us into the main building and admit our new friend. This would also ensure he would get some food and warmth for the evening, as temperatures were expected to fall drastically that night.
After thanking the officer profusely for taking time out of her day to handle this sweet homeless boy, we drove away from the shelter with only thoughts of this little pooch on our mind. Where did he come from? Why was he wandering alone? How old is he? What’s going to happen next? Did we do the right thing dropping him off at the shelter? We certainly felt much better that we knew he was safe, warm, and fed, and would soon be seen by their vet.
From what we could gather he looked like a pit/boxer mix, seems to be somewhat young but mostly full grown, was probably only about 35 pounds but should likely be about 50-60 pounds, and was surprisingly friendly given his situation.
As the next few days went by we kept thinking about this boy in the shelter, and we started to figure out what else we could do for him. Maryland has rules that prevent individuals from adopting pit bulls and pit mixes from shelters due to bully breed restrictions. Though the shelter we surrendered him to is a very good shelter, it is not a no-kill shelter. This didn’t sit well with us, so we went to work.
Knowing their reputation locally we contacted Lost Dog & Cat Rescue, a well known rescue organization in Northern Virginia. (If you’ve heard of the restaurant, Lost Dog Cafe, they’re all part of the same group.) After the hold period was up and nobody had claimed our new furry friend from the shelter, we began the process of essentially transferring him to the rescue to ensure he would eventually be placed in a good home no matter how long it took. Though Maryland shelters can’t adopt dogs to individuals, they can work with rescue organizations to place dogs, so this seemed to be the best path forward. We figured that if we could get him transferred to Lost Dog, he’d be in a very dog friendly area, and he’d have a better shot at a happy life.
Two weekends after we found him wandering on the road, starving and filthy, we had secured the paperwork for transfer and headed back to the shelter to be his official escort to his new rescue. Lulu tagged along for the ride and made sure to keep him company.
After we picked him up and before we took him back to Virginia, we figured he needed a little bit of pampering to make him feel a little better and to help him in his transition. We took him to our house and had a nice little outdoor spa day. It was a warm day so we game him two very thorough baths in the yard. The water was warm and sudsy, and he seemed to simultaneously love chomping at the stream of hose water, and look in puzzlement as we were drenching him and soaping him up.
The end result, Alex was pretty much as wet as our newly scrubbed companion, but he was, possibly for the first time in his grown life, smelling fresh and clean.
We walked around our yard a little to dry him off and realized that he didn’t have a clue when it came to walking on a leash. He was equal parts spastic and euphoric, and kept trying to play with Lulu, who was, once again, rather confused by the whole situation.
After transferring this handsome boy to Lost Dog, he was given the name Yogi, which seems to fit him quite nicely. He’s now been with Lost Dog for a few months, and in this time Alex and I have made a habit of visiting him at their pop up kennel to regularly to walk and play with him. He’s currently at the Seven Corners Kennel in Fairfax, Virginia, and is doing really well.
Since he became a member of Lost Dog’s pack Yogi has been to the vet several times to resolve normal issues you’d expect from a dog that had spent his prior life outside and without veterinary care. He was neutered and has been acclimating to a life where he knows he’ll be cared for and fed.
When we go to walk and interact with him we always see that others have taken him out to walk around the Eden Center complex several times per day. But he’s always excited when he sees us coming because he knows he gets to get out and play a little.
He’s gotten so much better walking on the leash, and he’s begun putting on weight as he has been getting healthier. He’s a very strong dog, which is far more apparent now that he isn’t just skin and bones.
Each visit with him we work on some basic commands like sit and heel, and he tends to be rather food motivated (but not aggressively so), which means he’s responding really well when we have some yummy treats to offer.
At this point, Lost Dog is actively trying to adopt him out, but it has taken a while to get to this point. Lost Dog received a large number of rescues from Puerto Rico following the hurricane last summer, and getting all of his veterinary items taken care of while also placing and caring for all of the other dogs has taken quite some time. Nonetheless, he just keeps getting better and simply needs the right family. This is a video from one of our more recent trips to see him. Look at how much better he’s doing on the leash.
This is where you come in. We’re hoping someone local to the Northern Virginia area might be reading this and would be interested in fostering this pup, or better yet, welcoming him into your home permanently. Unfortunately with his strength and Lulu’s general poor aptitude to be aware of her surroundings on walks, it would be impossible for me to walk them together, so our fostering Yogi isn’t a realistic possibility. But we want to do anything in our power to make sure this sweet guy has a chance at the happy life he deserves, that he so clearly didn’t have for the first part of his life.
From our experience he’s really very sweet, somewhat shy, and still a little unsure of new surroundings. But when he has a bond with you, you can feel it. When we walk together and he gets uneasy around too much traffic on a nearby road, he’ll lean his face into my leg to feel more secure. He loves getting his back and butt scratched, and his tail moves a mile a minute when he can see one of us coming towards his enclosure.
Yogi, like so many rescues, deserves a a chance to be someone’s happy and healthy companion. We’re hopeful that someone might be you or someone you know.
If you’re interested in fostering or adopting this cute brindle boy with the goofy grin and soulful eyes, here’s more information on Yogi and how you can contact Lost Dog.