Sadly our dog Yaku died recently at only 1 year old. I want to write her story here so she will not be forgotten, because in just 1 year she lived a remarkable life.
Once upon a time, just after we got our Doberman named Seidr, and just after our 10-year-old Golden Retriever died from cancer we saw a small white creature near one of our trees on the farm close to the house.
Seidr kept barking at it. From afar it looked like a white cat, but when we came closer we discovered it was a puppy.
The puppy looked very sick, dirty, skinny, and infested with lice. My wife a great dog lover took the puppy, washed and took care of it.
We tried to put the puppy up for adoption but nobody wanted her. So in the end we decided to keep her and name her Yaku. Named after the Yakult drink, because she was pure white.
We brought Yaku to the vet and gave Yaku the appropriate medicines to give her back her strength and to remove the lice.
Later we found out that Yaku actually belonged to our neighbor. Apparently, the neighbor did not want her and basically dumped her on our farm in hopes that we would take care of her or let her die, either way, he did not care about Yaku. The sister of Yaku was also unwanted and tied with a rope to our farm gate. Since we do not go out of the farm every day we never knew this. Our other neighbor who is more kindhearted took the poor puppy from our gate and took care of it himself. He named her Pulot which is Tagalog for “Picked up”. We heard this story from our other neighbor when we met him and the puppy a few weeks later.
Yaku and Seidr: Dog buddies
Yaku was only 1 month old when we found her while our other dog was 6 months. So we had 2 puppies to take care of. Seidr being a Doberman dog was a huge dog compared to the small Yaku.
Sometimes we let them play with each other under supervision, but Seidr was a rough play buddy, Yaku’s entire head could fit in the mouth of Seidr. Yaku was bullied a lot by Seidr, but Yaku loved playing with him, and no matter how many times Yaku got bullied she kept coming back to him. Seidr never wanted to kill or hurt Yaku it was just that Seidr did not know how strong he was.
As Yaku started growing up she became stronger and bigger. Even tho she was still 2 times smaller than Seidr she could now defeat him in a play. Yaku bit into his ears and lips and would not let go until Seidr cried. As they grew up together they became buddies and always loved playing and hanging out with each other. We hiked with them together in the mountains and we all had a lot of fun.
One day Seidr was being mean by biting Yaku in the leg and twisting it. Yaku cried so much and she could not walk anymore. I rushed Yaku to the vet, but luckily the vet said there was no damage, just some inflammation. After only a few hours Yaku was already walking without a problem.
When Yaku became 6 months old we were thinking of neutering so we won’t have any unwanted pregnancies. However, at the time we were busy managing a project at the farm and it got delayed. Just then Yaku got a very severe case of mange, and because of that, she could not be neutered. Within only 1 week she lost nearly 80% of all her hair. The vet gave us medicine, but it did not work and only became worse. Her skin literally started falling off and she was bleeding every day. She barely ate or drank and was very lethargic barely moving for days. She also had a very high dangerous fever. Finally, the vet gave us a different medicine which did work. Yaku almost died, but with her new medicine she completely recovered and after just a few months she got all her hair back. She played with Seidr again and was very energetic.
The vet told us the horrible mange started, because Yaku had her first period which lowered her immune system.
We had some problems with ant infestations in our house so bought borax to control it. On our first trials with borax, I did not know exactly how much to use so I used a lot of borax just to be sure the ants would die. I put it on a small plate on the kitchen counter since that is where the ants usually go. Somehow later in cleaning the plate ended up on the floor and Yaku ate all of it. An hour later Yaku became lethargic and dizzy. We made her drink lots of water, but knowing how much borax was on that plate I was sure she would die. Yaku puked a lot and we kept giving her water. Somehow the puking and water helped, because the next day she was perfectly fine like nothing at all happened.
Just when Yaku was recovered from her mange we noticed that her breasts were getting bigger and swollen. Yaku was pregnant. We did not know anything about dog pregnancies, nor did we know when she got pregnant or who the father was. Everybody was hoping it was Seidr, but the only time we ever saw them try to mate it did not work cause of the difference in height between the two dogs. Also, locals said they saw Yaku mate with other dogs. Yaku had the habit of wandering all around.
We normally rotate Yaku and Seidr on guard duties. The one on guard duty sleeps outside, while the other sleeps inside. While Yaku had mange she was off guard duty for a long time. So now that she was recovered it was her time to sleep outside again so Seidr could get a break.
One night we tried to take her outside, but she refused and resisted. We thought this was just Yaku being a brat, because she has a very bratty personality and she seemed fine otherwise.
So I just dragged her outside and locked the door. Then later that night we are woken up by a yelp of Yaku followed by strange yapping noises.
When we went outside to check what is wrong we found 4 small baby puppies around Yaku covered in blood. We were so shocked. Yaku just barely recovered from a near-death mange experience and now she is birthing puppies. At this point, she was only 10 months old, still basically a puppy herself.
We quickly made the most comfortable and coziest bed for Yaku and her new puppies. We stayed with her and comforted her for half of the night until we were sure she was ok.
In the morning we found 5 puppies, which meant another puppy was birthed while we slept.
In the following weeks, Yaku became very skinny and tired, and her mange also started coming back. Luckily we were quickly able to give medicines and vitamins so the mange would go away. The constant breastfeeding of her puppies lowered her immune system, but once she was done with breastfeeding she was back to her normal self again.
The 5 puppies were the cutest creatures ever. They were so adorable. We saw them learn how to walk; saw them open their eyes and ears for the first time; saw them do their first bark and howl, and we watched them slowly grow bigger trying to learn the world around them.
Tho sometimes the puppies were extremely annoying, especially at night because they cried so much every day and every night. Yaku was also not producing enough milk anymore which meant we had to give them milk ourselves and whenever the puppies needed milk the crying and howling would not stop until they got some.
Eventually, we gave all 5 puppies away and we had peace again in our house.
Everything went back to normal. Yaku was healthy and Yaku and Seidr were playing with each other again every day. We were happy and all was good.
UPDATE We got one of the puppies back after it almost starved, read more here.
But then we had to leave the farm for a while, because my mom got cancer and we needed to visit her. Seidr went to Manila to be taken care of my family, but Yaku remained on the farm and would be taken care of by the farm caretaker that we hired.
Just a mere 2 weeks before went back to the farm we received the news that Yaku died from a venomous snake bite. After all that she went through her life was taken by a snake.
I do not blame the snake for that is just nature, but I do blame myself for leaving her behind.
Yaku was a great dog. She was loyal and fun. Yes, sometimes she was incredibly annoying but I loved her and I am really sad she died all alone at such a young age after all the struggles she went through. I feel so sad for her.
This is just a short story of Yaku’s short life… The memories and adventures we share with her can not be explained in a single blog post, I have countless funny and interesting stories about Yaku. Yaku was really a tough and amazing dog and I am glad I got to know her. I learned a lot from her.
Her children will live on.
Thank you for reading.