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Ode to Joy

Every so often, someone comes into your life who turns your world upside down in all the best ways. 

Yogi Bear did just that. For nearly eleven glorious years, or 75 dog years, he gave his unconditional love to the world and those who loved him. He was graceful, clever, devoted, and joyful. This soulful Golden Retriever was dearly loved by his family. He passed away in November of 2016, leaving behind quite a legacy in his dog-loving family.

Yogi Bear

As fate would have it, soon after he died, ten Golden Retrievers were in desperate need of help. They were scheduled to be sold at a commercial breeding auction after their owner was charged with animal cruelty. Without intervention, they would be sold to other commercial breeders where they would continue to live their lives in cages while being bred repeatedly.

Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest (RAGOM) wanted to save the ten dogs, but this rescue effort was over their budget. Difficult choices would have to be made at the auction as to who would be chosen and who would be left behind. They contacted Friends of Flicka for help.

Coincidentally, Friends of Flicka was looking to do something special as a way to honor Yogi Bear’s legacy. What better way than to rescue these Goldens in need? We committed to help, with one request to our friends at RAGOM: do everything possible to bring home all of the Goldens.

With just a few days to prepare, RAGOM sprung into action, taking all of the necessary steps to attend the auction and organize the rescue.

When the day came, RAGOM and Friends of Flicka waited on pins and needles, knowing it could be hours before news came from Missouri. While we expected at least some of the Goldens would be rescued, we knew that despite best efforts, RAGOM might not be able to help them all. Sometimes at auctions, if the commercial breeders know that rescue organizations are bidding, they’ll work together to drive up the prices.

Late in the day, news came from Missouri. RAGOM joyfully reported they were able to save all ten Goldens. It was a moment to celebrate.

One of the Goldens was in need of a name, and RAGOM had the perfect one in mind. This wonderful dog was given the name Yogi, in honor of the dog who made their rescue possible.

Yogi was driven to Minnesota, where he would be taken in by a foster family. He had likely never experienced life outside of a cage, and he was nervous. RAGOM had invited Friends of Flicka’s Jim Seidl to come by and meet the dogs.


Yogi was joyfully welcomed into RAGOM’s care by Friends of Flicka’s Jim Seidl.

It was a special moment when Jim greeted Yogi. Despite all he had been through and his fear of people, Yogi walked right up to Jim. It was as if Yogi Bear was with young Yogi, guiding and protecting him. It was love at first sight, and the feeling was mutual.

Yogi settled in to his foster home where he began to learn about life as a loved dog. He learned how to walk through doors and up and down steps. He received veterinary care to restore his health. He learned that he was no longer just a number; he was a dog with his very own name. And when people said his name it meant good things would happen – food, treats, a gentle hand, or a chance to play. Day by day, the patience of his foster family taught him that he was safe. He evolved into a playful dog with a love for everything life has to offer.


Yogi learns that car rides are a good thing.


Yogi was adopted by an active family. Because another family member had the nickname of Yogi, he was given the new name “Baloo” in honor of his joyful personality. Mowgli, the family’s other dog, has shown Baloo the ropes and the two quickly became best friends. Together, the two wrestle, take long walks, chase rabbits, and nap side by side.


The days of living in a cage are long behind Baloo. When the alarm goes off in the morning he rests his head on top of his adopter, Brenda, and they start the day off with a quiet moment together, his big brown eyes persuading her to wait just a few more moments before starting the day. He has a passion for snuggling and a motto of “just keep petting”. His beautiful soft coat is hard to resist.


Just like his namesake Yogi Bear, Baloo too has turned the world upside down for his adoptive family. “If you are feeling sick, had a bad day, need a shoulder to cry on, or a friend to listen, Baloo is your guy,” Brenda states. Baloo has even begun volunteering – visiting children at school and helping them learn to read. Like Yogi Bear once did, Baloo has brought joy and unconditional love to his family and friends. “I am so thankful this little love has come into our lives.”


Baloo is greeted by the children he helps learn to read.

Several months after his adoption, Brenda wrote a note to Friends of Flicka. “Thank you so much for your support to RAGOM and the dogs that are being raised in the harsh conditions of a puppy mill. Baloo is a wonderful dog and can now have a good life because of your help. Baloo and all of the other dogs you have supported appreciate all that you have done.”

We know Yogi Bear would be proud.