Did you know that Yuki has many meanings in Japanese? 幸 is the word for "happiness" and 雪means "snow". In other kanji combinations, it can also mean “valuable” when you see it written like this: 由 貴, or “chronicle” when you see it like this: 由紀.
The best part is that no matter which of the meanings I choose, they all perfectly describe those two blue eyes which waited for me at home, as a surprise gift, that one December afternoon.
Yuki was the perfect gift from the person who would later become my wife. She knew that I loved Huskies and I wanted a dog, but at that point I did not consider myself responsible enough to have one.
The moment I saw that little ball of fur, with an olive instead of a nose, with two blue, curious eyes, my life changed forever and Yuki became maybe the best friend I’ve ever had.
HOW YUKI GOT HIS NAME
As new Husky owners, during the first few days we focused on informing ourselves about the breed, name and how to make our lives together more beautiful. We read about their “stubbornness” but we figured, that is how we are too, so it was not a big deal. We also read about the fact that they are difficult and that they need a lot of exercise, but, once again, so were we. Luckily, living in the internet era we could do proper research and find the right name for him. And even if we had a lot of options, we decided to go for the Japanese version of “Snow”– Yuki. We thought this would be the perfect name for a Siberian Husky, since snow was his favourite environment. This little adventure was very rewarding and the best part was that it bonded us tremendously.
YUKI THE EXPLORER
Everybody knows that Huskies are draught dogs; they can walk hundreds of miles, sometimes even carrying things, no matter the season. This obviously meant a lot of exercise for all of us. The mountains were near, so every day we used to walk up to the nearest peak. It did not matter if it was sunny, windy or snowy, we would just pack a bag and start climbing. Yuki was growing every day and he simply loved exploring the neighbourhood.
His favourite places were the unexplored woods, probably as this meant following the trace of random animals, digging and sniffing every centimetre of land. We could not prevent him from following his hunting instinct and even if we were a bit scared in the beginning, it proved that letting him free would eventually prove very beneficial. Here is how his instinct saved us on a couple of occasions.
YUKI AND THE BEAR
As I mentioned earlier, we were living in a city in the mountain area. Our neighbourhood was famous for receiving daily visits from the bears, especially in summer when they are looking for food in the garbage bins from the city, or fruits from the trees. On one of these occasions we came as close as one could get to a brown bear. Unfortunately, we were taking our usual walk one evening. Suddenly Yuki became very anxious. We had no idea what was happening until we saw him running towards a small orchard. We started shouting after him, but it was all in vain. He got close to the bear, keeping the distance, though, and started to run around him very fast and changing directions very quickly. The bear was getting nervous from all that teasing. We were trying to stay away, but still shouting and calling him to come back to us. In all that panic, we did not realise that everything he was doing were part of his natural instincts, rooted deep in Yuki’s genes, to tire and eventually chase the bear away. And his instincts were 100% right. Eventually the bear got tired of following Yuki’s continuous movements, turned his back and started walking towards the woods. Both my girlfriend and I were speechless. I will never forget the look on Yuki’s face as he was coming back towards us. He was completely serene, like nothing had happened. That was the moment when we realised that he was the best partner one could wish for, especially in the wilderness.
YUKI AND THE SNAKE
This is another chapter from Yuki’s bravery story. It was a really scorching hot summer and the land was extremely dry, dragging out all the creatures in search of water. We were taking our afternoon walk. The grass was quite tall, knee height. After a few minutes Yuki started barking. It was not the kind of playful, “let’s run” bark, it was more like a warning. If he could talk, he would have probably said “stop”. When he realised I was completely ignoring him, he came in front of me, stopping me from reaching a spot where you could see some mountain rocks. I continued my walk and that was when he took a big leap to the first rock and bit a snake which was resting on the rock into two. Then he took each of the two pieces and started shaking them, as if he was making sure that they could not harm me anymore. I do not know if that was a poisonous snake, we have very few poisonous species in that area, but that did not matter to him. Nevertheless, his protective instinct, the duty of protecting me and his pack came first.
YUKI AND THE CITY
Eventually we moved to Bucharest. Romania’s capital is an asphalt jungle with many cars. That was a tremendous change for a dog who was used to daily walks in the wilderness. The lack of trees, the mountain and the springs was affecting him.
He was only happy in winter when the snow was settling or during the hot summer days when we were going to the park in the morning. But he adapted very well. We were surprised when we realised that he had learned all the green spaces from the neighbourhood. He could even recognise where we were going from the car. As we were walking, he would drag us to the nearest place where he would be connected to the nature.
HUSKY YUKI’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
My mornings in front of the laptop were always a challenge for him. He would do anything to get my attention and he would always end up in my lap, even if he was not a puppy anymore. He was a sucker for love and affection, he just wanted to be near me, no matter what I was doing. He knew that even if he was not out that much, he had the precious moments with his family instead. He truly adapted to the new situation. He unconditionally loved every person he met. He was perhaps the exception to his difficult breed, being one of the most understanding dogs I’ve ever met. He taught me important lessons about life and about myself, lessons I would have not been able to learn from any book. He was always there for me when I suffered, when I laughed and I could tell him things I would have never admitted to any other human being. He protected me, gave me joy, he made me laugh and he made me cry, he showed me what to cherish in life and taught me that the real bonds transcend time and hardships.
What I am taking with me and what I want to pass along to my children is that the only way to understand the meaning of unconditional love is by having a dog. No friend in the world can do that. In my heart I will always carry those pointy ears, that olive-like nose and the two eyes that were as blue as the sky. RIP my friend!
Author: Cristian, Yuki’s best friend