Chances are, those of you that have visited our winery during an event have met Yogi.
Yogi is our lovable Mutt. He appears to be at least half Black Lab, but his heritage was not available from the pound.
After our purebred Vizslas, Sam & Tia, passed on, Cindy & I agreed that we would not have another dog in our lives. But that if we did, it would be a Yellow Lab.
But after about a year, Cindy started telling me about different dogs she had seen on the Napa County Animal Shelter website. I would remind her of our agreement and she wouldn't mention it again for a few days. I was concerned about what type of dog she might see pictured, feel sorry for, and bring home. I had always wanted a dog that would retrieve sticks & balls. I tried to train our Vizslas to retrieve, but after about the third throw, they would just look at me with the expression: “What’s the point of this?”
So, I too started checking out the pictures on the website. If you want to take a peek at the dogs, here’s the website:
Cindy was told that black dogs are harder to place so it seemed a minor concession to consider Black Labs over Yellow Labs.
It didn’t take long for me to stumble on the following pup waiting for adoption.
I sent the link to Cindy at work and the phone rang about 30 seconds later: “I want to go see him”.
We went to the Shelter and filled out the Adoption Application. We were initially told that Bronx was a stray that went unclaimed. We were interviewed and then we went to a small room where an attendant brought in “Bronx”. Bronx was friendly, but in continual motion appearing anxious. Once the attendant felt we were all safe, she left the room. We visited with Bronx for about 15 minutes and decided we wanted to adopt him. Cindy is much more observant than I am and she noticed 2 significant things about Bronx. First, he was very “connected” to the attendant. When she left the room, he kept trying to see her and seemed to get even more anxious. Second, Cindy had detected a very slight, but noticeable limp. At the desk, they said that all pets are thoroughly checked out by a vet and that Bronx seemed to be in perfect health. Thinking that he had been a stray with a temporary shelter name of Bronx, we decided that if we got him, we’d rename him. We were going to name him Bear since he has a big, wide ole' black head like a black bear. But we go camping and didn’t think fellow campers would like to hear us yelling “Bear”. So Cindy suggested “Yogi (bear)” and I thought that was perfect. Think it's just a coincidence that Yogi Bear's girlfriend's name was Cindy Bear???
Later, we would find out that Bronx was not a stray, that he had been dropped off at the shelter. That made more sense considering the information provided on the website about him. Even so, we decided to call him Yogi.
We didn’t find out for a few days if we would be able to adopt Yogi, but when we did, Cindy bought him a new bed and toys. Over the next few days, we learned that Yogi did not handle being away from us very well, that he had separation anxiety. Cindy had noticed that he seemed anxious when the attendant left him alone with us. Then after being checked out by our vet, and a few more diagnostic appointments, we were told that Yogi needed an operation on his shoulder… an operation costing several thousand dollars. So in less than 2 weeks time, we found out that Yogi had separation anxiety and needed an expensive operation. I would have considered taking him back to the shelter and waiting for another dog without these problems, but Cindy wouldn’t. She already felt a bond with him, even though he didn’t seem to completely accept us for several months. So we got his shoulder operated on, nursed him back to good health and started working on his separation anxiety. After working with him for the last year and a half, we can now go out to dinner leaving him at home. But we advise that you not visit during that time - He guards HIS home.
I have a hunch that Yogi's first family gave him up because they found out he needed an expensive operation. They might have even suspected that at the shelter.
Had they warned us of his separation anxiety and shoulder problem, we would not have adopted him. And it would have been our loss.
One night, less than a month after we got Yogi, he was laying next to Cindy on the sofa. She was softly stroking his fur, looking down at him and smiling. She caught me watching and quickly said: “You’re not number 2!” I replied: “Oh S#%&, so now I’m number 3?”
Stay tuned for Winery Dog Yogi, Part 2 - The Orvis catalog
On this site, I intend to tell a few stories, share some family and Napa Valley history and maybe even educate a bit.
As a partner in Pina Cellars, I will write about wine and winery topics. As an employee of Pina Vineyard Management, I will write about vineyard topics. And occasionally, I will write about something unrelated to anything mentioned above.