Dog Stories: Yoshi

This one is a two parter! I’ll tell you a bit about baby Yoshi, and his owner Judy, wrote more about him below.

Yoshi was born to Lee and Ruger in 2010- part of the “Nintendo” litter. When he was just a few weeks old, Yoshi’s momma accidentally stepped on him in her hustle to get to dinner (Labs!)- and he had some swelling on his face but otherwise seemed okay. But, within a couple of days, we noticed that one of his eyelids on the bruised side wasn’t quite right. It seemed like the swelling had caused the eyelid to invert and the tiny little puppy eyelashes were scratching on his eye a bit.

We took Yoshi to see Dr. Magnowski at the Animal Care hospital and he was prescribed some eye drops to try to relieve the irritation. We hoped that as the swelling went down, things would return to normal but after another week or so, it seemed to be getting a little worse instead of better, so the Dr. asked if he could try something that he usually only did on baby sheep. Basically, Yoshi’s eyelid was folding inward and in most puppies, this is not something that happens (or is noticed) at such a young age but it is apparently a pretty common issue in baby lambs and the Dr. had developed a successful method of fixing it that was not too invasive. It involved plumping up the eyelid with penicillin, which rolled the eyelid back out into it’s proper position- and then adding a stitch on each side to hold it there. By the time the penicillin would be absorbed, the eyelid would have a chance to grow back into it’s proper position.

Little Yoshi was a good patient and had to wear a cone while his eyelids healed. Of course, he couldn’t spend the usual time with his littermates while wearing a cone so he got a lot of extra attention. He was sleeping in a crate by himself, through the night, by 6 weeks and could even retrieve with his little cone on! Just like his older sister Verona, Yoshi was VERY smart, loved to train and had a super temperament.

His eyelids healed well but we decided to hang onto him a little longer to make sure that he didn’t have any other side effects from being stepped on, and probably just because we were so darn attached to him by that point- he really was fine. We had his eyes checked at our annual doggy ophtamologist appointment and the eye vet was so impressed with how things had healed, that he could not foresee any further issues. Once he had the all clear, we began to look for a great home for our extra special little superstar!

We received a great application from Judy and Mike Bassett looking for a puppy who would make a great pet, flyball and dock diving dog. Based on what Judy was looking for, I felt like Yoshi would be a good fit, but I also had a very good ‘vibe’ that told me this would be a home that would love and cherish our little pal as much as we did (I was right).

Yoshi had to get to Vancouver so that he could fly down to the Bassett’s in California. It took me 12 hours to make the drive to the airport and I think I cried the entire drive. I was both feeling very happy for Yoshi to have such a great home to look forward to- and very sorry for myself that I would have to say good by to my baby boy. Thankfully, Yoshi made it there safely and Judy called right away to tell me that she was in love with him. We were grateful to get many Yoshi updates over the years so we always felt like he was close by even when he lived so far away.

From Yoshi’s owner, Judy Bassett:

After my first lab passed I was looking to find another. I first contacted Erin and she had no puppies at that time. I let her know first off the puppy would have a great home and that we did flyball and dock diving. It was a year since Molly had passed and we were getting ready to go to a flyball tournament, when Mike said I had gotten an email from Erin about a puppy. His name was Yoshi and almost 4 months old.  He had a small surgery on his eye. So I asked if she could send a picture of him and we would be back in town on Monday.

I knew even before Erin sent the picture I would get Yoshi, felt like Molly was sending him to me. Arrangements made for Yoshi to head to Ca. Erin had a 12 hours or more to drive down to ship Yoshi out of Vancouver. 

Mike and I headed up Los Angles to the airport to pick Yoshi up. Erin had sent all his paperwork already to make it easier to get Yoshi through customs. Went to Air Canada cargo area, gave them all the paperwork they sent it over to the customs for release. They said they didn’t get it, I had to keep my cool when she was asking why did I get a dog was I going to breed him. So after 45 minutes later we headed back to the cargo area a few minutes drive. We got there and Yoshi was waiting. We couldn’t get him out with the big zip ties, so Mike asked the guys if they had a knife to cut them. Well they had a box cutter so Mike was able to cut the ties. Yoshi was out, he had made a mess in his crate which I expect.

I walked Yoshi out to a small grass area in front of the building. I sat on the ground Yoshi crawled in my lap eating the food I brought for him. I was calling Erin while doing this to let her know Yoshi was safe and in my lap. Erin was worried about his messy crate, told her he had a clean crate for the ride home. Yoshi didn’t even make any noise on the way home, such a good boy.

Once home Yoshi got to meet Bear and Daisy our other 2 labs. Yoshi felt right at home following Bear around. Daisy took to Yoshi since he was an older puppy and they became great tugging buddies. 

Yoshi was tennis ball crazy so training for flyball was fun. He loved barking in lanes and would come back for a ball. The only problem was he had to give me the ball he brought back before he got the other ball. Yoshi’s trick was let me drop the ball just before he got to me, so he could chase it then come to me. So I got a crib mattress to put in the back field so he wouldn’t crash into me or anything else. His tail was always wagging and would hit my teammate when lining up to race.

Yoshi’s time in U-FLI singles is still the 11th fastest Labrador time ever!

Yoshi was a gentle giant at 29 inches at the shoulder. Yoshi loved everyone but also a great protector. I have had many dogs including raising dogs for 14 years. I knew Yoshi was my heart ♥️ dog. So when he was diagnosed with cancer I was heartbroken. That was one of my hardest call to Erin. My best friend Ellen Dove did the best treatment that could be done. It looked like he had beat it with the radiation. Then Yoshi’s zest for life became his worst enemy he fractured femoral head. Where the decision was made to amputate his rear leg. Yoshi came home and was learning how to get around all the time wagging his tail.

I came home and knew something was wrong Yoshi was in pain. I carried him out to the van praying that I wouldn’t drop him. Got him to the emergency vet where they said he was running a fever and kept him to get him on the right meds. I had called at 2:00 to see if he could come home and he was doing fine. Then I got a call at 5:00 where Yoshi had a ruptured disc. I cried the whole way to pickup Ellen & Jeff to go to the vets. In true Yoshi fashion he tried to wag his tail but couldn’t. Our hearts were breaking, so it was time to let Yoshi go to the Rainbow 🌈 Bridge. 

Yoshi was an awesome flyball dog and put smiles on everyone who he met him.

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