Young dogs are, generally speaking, excitable, curious about the world, and full of surprises. That was no more true than when a married couple from England decided to adopt one. The husband had only one strong demand: he would welcome a puppy into their home provided that the animal in question was very small (and, thus, manageable).
And so the search for the perfect pooch began. But what this pair ended up bringing home wasn’t anything they were prepared to have in their life—and the reason why will surprise you!
Sue and Robert Markham of England were looking to adopt a new pet. They had their hearts set on a dog, but Robert made one exception: it had to be small. So, while Robert was at work each day, Sue would go on the hunt for the perfect pup.
For Sue, this was a task that was just as fun as it was convenient. You see, Sue worked at a local dog kennel where puppies were often turned in for adoption. She didn’t have to go far to find likely prospects…
One day, a puppy was left at the shelter who really caught Sue’s eye. He was perfect! Sue just had to bring him home, but she also knew that this little pooch was hiding a secret that her husband probably wouldn’t like…
Still, Sue figured she’d keep that little secret to herself. She named the puppy Yogi Bear and took him home. While Robert was on the fence at first, he quickly fell in love with the little dog, and he finally gave in.
He might’ve been named after a bear, but the tiny puppy only weighed about a pound when Sue and Robert adopted him. Sue told Robert that the pup was a Jack Russell terrier, like the one pictured here, and that even fully grown he wouldn’t be very large.
“I knew Robert didn’t want a big dog,” Sue explained. “So, I told a little fib and said he was a Jack Russell.” She knew that if Robert found out what the pup truly was he would never let her adopt him…
“I thought a big dog would be a lot of work and could be trouble,” Robert admitted. “We only have a small living room. I thought, ‘How much trouble can a Jack Russell be?’” Robert had no idea what he was really in for…
Within just a few months, Yogi Bear had already grown much larger than even an adult Jack Russell. What was wrong with this dog? Robert then began to realize that he might have had the wool pulled over his eyes…
“By the time he was five months old, he was bigger than any Jack Russell he came across at the park,” Robert added. “And he had this big tongue that lolled out of his mouth and a tail like a baseball bat.”
Robert decided to confront his wife about the dog’s true breed and Sue caved. “It started to become fairly obvious when Bear dwarfed any other dogs in the village,” she said. “So, the game was up.”
Believe it or not, this dog was not even close to being related to a Jack Russell. It turned out that Yogi Bear was actually a Boston Great Dane! Far from being on the smaller side, this breed can grow up to weigh more than 150 pounds. Woof!
Robert was more than a little annoyed, but the damage was done: he was already deeply in love with the dog, and he knew there was no way he could possibly think about asking Sue to get rid of him.
“He’s a very good-natured dog,” Robert said. “[And he has] a lot of character. So, it would be hard for anyone not to love him or be angry with him.” But that didn’t mean Yogi Bear didn’t bring with him any problems…
At 10 years old, Yogi Bear weighed a whopping 200 pounds! Because he was so massive, Robert had to build him a three-acre field to play in just to be sure the pooch received enough exercise.
Yogi Bear certainly wasn’t a cheap house guest, either. He ate more than $237 worth of dog food each month alone. Sometimes, he even got treated to a breakfast of raw eggs and cooked sausage.
Yogi Bear was six feet and 10 inches long, which meant he couldn’t fit in a normal dog bed. Robert and Sue actually had to buy him his own chaise lounge! When it got cold outside, the dog warmed up with a coat made for horses.
He might be enormous, but that hasn’t stopped Yogi Bear from trying to be one of the family. “He certainly thinks of himself as a real person,” Sue explained. “He sits on his own sofa and watches the TV with us.”
Yogi Bear might have been big, but he was also very kind and loving. His owners liked to call him their gentle giant. Sure, he took up more than his fair share of room, but Yogi Bear was a friend to everyone he met!
He even made friends with a stray cat whom Sue and Robert named Toffee. “They’re good friends,” Sue said. “Toffee is always following him around, and he will happily lick her on the head very gently. Bear sees Toffee as his own pet, I think, as she’s certainly not our cat.”
It wasn’t just cats who were charmed by Yogi Bear, either. Neighborhood children flocked to pet him when he went on walks, and he loved every second of it! Robert wouldn’t trade his dog for all the money in the world.
Even though they started out on the wrong foot, it’s clear that having Yogi Bear in their lives has brought Sue and Robert nothing but joy.