Update 2012 January 14 - Yolo is home!
79 dogs made it out of death row in California shelters and up to Oregon and Washington the weekend of January 7, and Yolo was one of the biggest hits of them all! He just knew that this was for him, and he must have felt right at home in the climate of the Pacific Northwest, because he was a dream on the road transport, and within a few hours of our dropping him off at our rescue friends' home, we had several phone calls and emails. "Yolo is the BEST!" "Yolo is FANTASTIC!" Ahh, music to our ears. But truly, he is in his element now. With a family who loves hiking outdoors and snow and fresh air as much as he does, he has made it home. YEA YOLO!!!!!!
Update 2012 January 2 - Yolo is going to his forever home in Washington! See story below, plus new video!
2011 Dec 20
Somehow Yolo found himself out in the cold at Big Bear Mountain, high in the San Gabriel Mountains of southern California. Just a teenager at about nine months of age, his heart longed to be at some playground letting all the local children run after him and pull on him and play with him. But instead, he was behind bars at the local shelter, and his time was out.
We don't usually answer the calls for dogs who sound adoptable; we leave those to other rescues who have kennels or a ready supply of foster homes. Our email IN boxes are set for those subject lines that read like "RED ALERT" or "BEYOND URGENT" -- and even with those, we sometimes have to sigh and just pass them along to others with a silent prayer. But Big Bear is an out-of-the-way place, and the shelter said this really was the end for this boy, as much as the staff all loved him. The only On Wings Of Care volunteer available at the time was Dave, who would have to drive all the way down from his home in the southern Sierra Nevada in order to help. And that meant he would have to bring along his own two dogs (Bear and Sheba-Cosette) and would be driving the high desert and mountain roads during a winter wind storm. But "No" was not an option for Yolo, so it was not one to Dave, either. Before that day was over, Yolo began what no doubt was the adventure of his young life.
Yolo is some nondescript mix of yellow lab and german shepherd, maybe a small pinch of pit bull; and to be honest, he doesn't share the finest features of appearance of any of those breeds. If it were up to looks or structure or such trivialities alone, Yolo's "adoptability quotient" was probably low. But soon after Dave freed him from the shelter and introduced him to Bear and Sheba, we knew otherwise. His sweet, playful, and gentle nature actually make him most adoptable. But how would he handle the immediate adventure that lay ahead of him?
It was dark by the time that Dave and Bear, Sheba, and Yolo drove down from Big Bear Mountain toward Los Angeles. The hardest part was yet to come, because Dave wasn't driving to a house in town. He was going to a remote cabin in the Angeles National Forest that he had promised to check on for its owner. There was no access by car and a challenging one-mile hike to reach it -- plus a howling wind-storm that had branches and trees flying all around them as they hiked through the forest in the dark, plus new dog Yolo and old dog Sheba to help navigate the route while Dave also carried a heavy backpack full of supplies! You have to wonder if Yolo wasn't starting to wonder if he might not have been better off in his old dull life at the shelter!
But all went well. Until they reached the cabin only to discover that the windstorm had knocked all power out. Worse, the winds had knocked the entire power line down from the transformer pole at the top of the ridge. No power, no water, no nothing. Okay, by now you get the picture that Dave is pretty much unflappable. Well, turns out Yolo is too! In fact, Yolo was showing himself to be one just-about-perfect great dog. Only problem was that he was a bit too enthusiastic about playing with old Bear. Bear had to set him straight more than once, which got Dave to thinking that this neutering operation needed to happen soon.
Dave announced that he would be quite happy to foster Yolo at his home. We made a plan to neuter Yolo very soon, and give Yolo a few weeks of excellent nutrition, good outdoor exercise in the mountains where he could run with Dave and the rest of his "pack," and we would teach him to be an excellent citizen with people and animals alike. Most people would think that Dave was taking quite a gamble to offer to foster this strong young dog, considering that Dave's home is shared by quite a variety of critters that Yolo would be expected to respect and befriend -- cats, birds, rabbits, and two additional small foster dogs in addition to Bear and Sheba. But Dave read Yolo correctly. He has been a perfect gentleman with all.
Now, all of that was a few weeks ago. Yolo's been neutered, Bear has established his Alpha position firmly at home, and all of the animals in Dave's animal sanctuary in the mountains are getting along beautifully. Yolo has calmed down considerably and has shown himself to be a most responsive, obedient, and sensitive dog. If Dave didn't already have Bear and Sheba, Yolo would have a permanent home with him, which is probably the highest compliment anyone could pay to Yolo. We think that this time has done a world of good for Yolo, and he is most ready to give some lucky human his deep and loyal heart, and his youthful playful spirit that has matured now and understands what it means to be a good pack member.
UPDATE 2012 January 02!
Yolo has a fan club! Looks like he has some wonderful folks in Washington who want him to share their lives!
We'll be taking him up there this week.
In the meantime, enjoy this video of Yolo having some holiday fun, playing chase with Bear (long-haired german shepherd) and little Dinozo (chihuahua - brother of Abby) around Dave's pool table. Yolo is all about happy and fun, yet he is very obedient when we need him to be. He's just a super combination of puppy and grown-up dog.
Here are some photos of Yolo in his foster home with Dave and with some of his friends and pack mates.