Remembering Yoda

In 1994 I came to California with a duffle bag and a dog.  I had $22 in my pocket because my Grandpa couldn’t let me get on a jet to a faraway land with only $2 to my name.  I am pretty sure that $20 was all he had at the time.

Yoda was still a young whipper snapper with a whole lotta spunk.

Unfortunately I don’t have many pics from his early years.

It would be another 4 years before we would meet his paparazzi.

In fact, all the pics on this post were shot by The Hub.

Except for the out-of-focus and slightly crooked ones.

Those are mine.

Yoda and I were great pals.

When I wasn’t at work, the two of us were hanging out doing everything together.

We were a pack.  Sometimes I was the pack leader and sometimes he was the leader of our pack.

OK, most of the time he was the pack leader…he just let me feel in-charge now and then.

I was single a lot of that time and when it came to men, I screened them for his approval.  If I didn’t think they would make the Yoda cut, there wasn’t a 2nd date.  He was a feisty little guy, weighing in at 4.5 pounds.  Yoda had a heart of gold, and he wouldn’t bother anyone who didn’t mess with him (or me) first.  But if someone invaded our personal space, they would draw back a bloddy nub.  Most people would just chuckle when I warned that “HE BITES!”.  I was never joking.  Yes, Yoda broke skin on many occasion.

But mostly, Yoda slept.  Preferably in a warm sunny spot.

Yoda tolerated The Hub, which meant The Hub got the Yoda stamp, but it would take another 6-months of steady courtship, a whole lot of steak, belly rubs and serious schmoozing before The Hub would be allowed into our pack.

One night, The Hub, got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.  The Hub swung his legs over the edge of the bed and slipped his feet into his foam-style flip-flops.  He set his foot down in a puddle of pee.  Yes, “Damn Dog” (as he was known during moments like these) had left a huge puddle of pee in the slipper.  The Hub noted that not a single drop of pee was anywhere around the slipper.  He got every drop inside the slipper.

That’s just to keep The Hub in check.  A subtle reminder of who is still in charge.Then Yoda met Mr. Green Thumbs, my father-in-law.  Mr. Green Thumbs recently retired from Levi’s, where he was a tailor for 33 years.  My father-in-law knows his way around a sewing machine and chances are, you’ve seen some of his handy work on the rack or in your closet.

But he is world famous for his gardens.

In my world anyway.

Mr. Green Thumbs can make a dead plant spring back to life by walking up to it.  Everything he touches turns green and sprouts beautiful flowers.

For 13 years I’ve been studying this man and picking his brain but I have yet to figure out his secret.  He has somehow tapped into the secret language of plants and he has mastered plant speak.

Yoda never cared much for plants unless he could reach them to pee on them.  But he did like to be dressed at all times.  Back in those days it was slim pickin’s on doggy clothes.  Yoda and Mr. Green Thumbs became friends after a while and Yoda benefitted greatly from this friendship.

Pretty soon Yoda had his own personal tailor spinning out all types of attire.

Everything from casual play time (and sleep) wear

to formal suits.  For…you know…when Yoda had a fladdy-dah affair.

Only the best wool for my boy.

When Yoda was not tending to his busy social life, he was doing this

and this

Yoda’s life got real exciting when we decided to add a second dog to the family.

Yoda was 11-years-old when Lily came onto the scene.

They became great pals.

After he offered up his spot in the pack.

To a girl.

Yoda had a couple of other good friends to pal around with.

Momo would do anything for him.

And he wore a bow-tie to show his appreciation.

And he loved meeting new people dogs.

After a couple years of living with his new doggy sister, Yoda started to slow down.  He had a pal who didn’t mind cuddling.

Lily kept two feet near the floor ready to go.

But it wouldn’t be long before Yoda’s lifestyle of an American dog would get the better of him.

I am saddened for all the health issues Yoda suffered mostly from my ignorance and trust in the wrong people.  I am humbly grateful for all that the experience taught me.

I’m still loving and missing my loyal friend, pack mate and protector.

Happy Birthday, Yoda.

June 24, 1992 – January 28, 2006



  1. Sarah says:

    Happy Birthday, Yoda you were seriously cute!!

  2. Heather says:

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who would devote such love and attention to a furry family member. I just lost my guy “Jag” in January, and it still makes me cry to think about him. I miss him so much. Don’t have the heart to get another dog just yet. Your guy looked like he was loaded with character….I’m glad he got to have YOU!

    • Denise says:

      :-) Thank you for the kind words Heather. I am so sorry for your loss. I was out of work for 3 days after Yoda died. To this day I miss him, and I’m sure you’ll always have a special place in your heart for Jag. You’ll know when it’s time, but in my experience, having another dog (as adorable and sweet as she is) has not made me miss Yoda less.

  3. Evelin says:

    Awww! Denise! So beautifully written and illustrated! Happy birthday Yoda! (LOVE that name!!!!) I just recently fell in love with a four-legged friend! :) I’ve had parrots all of my life, but decided to get a puppy for my kids. More specifically he will be my autistic son’s service dog. He’s incredible and even though I thought I wasn’t a “dog person” i’m in love, and now can’t picture my world without him. They really are a part of the family! Yoda was lucky to be loved by you, and vice versa!

    • Denise says:

      Hi Evelin, thanks so much for stopping by! Hold on to your heart, if you’re already in dog-love you’ll have a pal for life. Nothing compares to a dog. Loyal and always happy to see you; what more can you ask for?

  4. Janice says:

    Denise, words flow on the keyboard so well for you. I feel as if I can hear you speaking. It’s beautiful, eloquent. I really enjoyed this post about Yoda, whom I’ve never met, but feel like I know. What a blessing in your life to have him.


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