Next Stop: Chicago!

It may have been a short trip back to NJ, but it was certainly not short on fun.
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We had a great visit, but now it’s time to wrap things up

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We left no stone unturned in search of a good time

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Penny even got to experience her very first fire!

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There’s another thirteen hour trip in store, but after this week I don’t think the pups will have any trouble snoring the whole way through

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Hugs all around, time for us to hit the road!

I took a bunch of video this week of the pups in action so hopefully I’ll have some fun stuff to share on Friday. We’re on the road all day today, so we’ll catch everyone tomorrow back home in Chicago!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Superpuppy!

For the last leg of our NJ trip we’re visiting Emily’s parents. The pups absolutely love it here because they can fly around the fenced-in yard.
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During Penny’s first visit here, “fly around” meant she could jump all of two inches off the ground

Now that Penny is really coming into her own, the romps this week were significantly more high flying than our first visit.

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A flirt-pole, though weirdly named, is a fun way to ramp up the fun. If you have the space to use one, I highly recommend you try it out

Once Penny achieved enough speed on the runway it was time for takeoff: 

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The pup went up…

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And up…

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And up!

It’s quite tiring to be Superpuppy, so Penny was rewarded with her very first roaring fire.

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Love at first light

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“I could get used to this!”

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  And where there’s fire, there’s Eko. Superpuppy may have snagged the closest seat to the fire, but Eko got the best one.

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And Emily? Emily got to wonder how Eko managed to pull this move off!

It’s tough to beat fires and fenced-in frolics, but unfortunately we only have one more day to soak it all up before heading home. Provided I can convince the pups to leave!

How Do Dogs Remember?

When I pulled into my mom’s driveway late at night, Eko knew. I don’t know exactly when he realized it, but Eko absolutely knew where we were. Was it the sight of the house? The smell of the yard? I wondered how dogs recall a memory, but didn’t have much time to ponder the question as the car-weary pups bolted to the front door. They were enthusiastically welcomed by my mom’s pup, Auggie.20.1

As usual, he was all smiles!

The gang has been in a non-stop romp since we arrived and I’ve spent a good amount of my time catching lamps, fixing rugs and keeping the house in one piece. I’ll definitely post some photos later this week of the gang in action.

NJ treated us to late fall’s beautiful palette with early-fall-like temperatures. It was a perfect mix for a visit to the local dog park. I remember how Eko used to love flying around the park, soaring through the agility course.

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Either the jumps shrunk or Eko grew, because he could basically walk over them this time around

Penny hadn’t seen an agility course before so it was fun to see her follow Eko’s lead. But the best part of the day was undoubtedly our hike on the trails.

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There’s something about walking trails with your pups on a gorgeous fall day that just can’t be beat

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Watching Penny follow Eko’s lead was great – the two adventure buddies stuck together like glue

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“Hey wait for me!”

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A good romp, a good sunny spot, a good nap. Life in NJ is good for a pup

Visits home always remind me how everything both stays the same and completely changes. Yet with all those changes, Eko still perfectly remembered my mom’s house, Auggie, and the dog park.

Any theories about how our pups remember the things they do? Like us, I’m guessing it’s a combination of senses.  Elephants never forget, but dogs have a pretty good memory too!

[VIDEO] Six Months with Puppy Penny

The pups and I are on the road to NJ for a visit home. It’s the first time we’ve been back since I got Penny – forever and no time at all ago. I’m not sure if time flies, but Penny certainly does! Here’s a look back at our time together so far.

Catch everyone from NJ next week!

New Jersey, Here we Come

Emily has a week of vacation coming up so we’re getting ready to head back home to NJ for our first visit since picking up puppy Penny.16.1

While we do have half of a reindeer team in our stable, unfortunately it’s not enough to fly us all back to NJ

Em’s flying home Saturday morning, but I’m leading the ground invasion with the pups. Unfortunately the distance between Chicago and NJ hasn’t shrunk since our last trip so we’re looking at a thirteen hour car ride.

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“Ha, you crack me up Will! Thirteen hours? Yeah right, tell me another joke.” 

Then I showed Penny the route on Google Maps.

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“Oh no. You weren’t joking. This isn’t funny at all.” 

The weather’s ugly here in Chicago the rest of the week, but to survive thirteen hours in the car I’m going to run the pups ragged at the beach, rain or shine.

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“Guys, don’t forget about me while I’m gone”

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She doesn’t know it yet, but on the other side of that ride there will be plenty of smiles like this for Penny

The last time we were in NJ Penny would fall asleep on walks before we reached the end of the block. This time around I’m excited to show her all of our favorite old haunts. Should be a lot of fun, we just have to get there first!

Tuesdays with Dutch

A couple months back my brother James and his pup Dutch moved to Chicago for law school. Well, James moved for law school, Dutch is just here to take all the tests for him. James has a jam packed Tuesday schedule so Dutch spends Tuesdays here with the gang. 15.1

Dutch, the elder statesdog of the family, had grown accustomed to his life as a solo pup

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But as I detailed in this video, Penny eventually won him over. Dutch went from actively avoiding Penny to letting the little squirt cozy right up

Dutch can’t quite put his paw on it, but something is different about that little squirt he let use him as a pillow.

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“Hey Will, do you ever get the feeling that Penny is bigger than she used to be?”

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“Eh, whatever. It’s cold and she’s comfy.”

Dutch may not be able to tell for sure, but I know that with Penny’s ever increasing size there is no way to squeeze more than two pups on the futon. This of course causes a bit of an issue since everyone wants to hang out in the same room together.

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Everyone looked to me for answers, but as usual, I had none

So Eko took matters into his own paws.

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A perfect fit. At least in Eko’s mind

I thought I would need to call the fire department and have them use the jaws of life to free Dutch, but he loved every minute of it.

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It was cold, so I guess two dog blankets is better than one!

Would Dutch be ok at my brother’s apartment for a long day? Sure, but I think he, me and my pups all prefer having Dutch romp with us!

My Favorite Dog Facial Expressions

Dogs are renowned masters of body language. Be it wagging tails or raised hackles, dog body language is easy to spot if you know what to look for. Pups also have incredible facial expressions, but they’re often tougher to spot or fleeting in duration. That’s why I love looking back through photos to catch facial subtleties I missed the first time around. It’s a rain soaked day here in Chicago so I decided to review some end-of-summer photos from the beach. 14.1

I call this one “the surveyor.” Eko’s default face as he looks over the beach

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Eko’s “ohmygoshyouaresoannoying” exasperated face comes up when Penny won’t stop bugging him

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I love how this photo captures both Penny’s exuberance and the other dog’s uncertainty about the nutjob on his left

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The shared excitement on their faces here is great. The pose would be perfect for the poster of a buddy-cop flick

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And when it comes to dog facial expressions, the crazier the tongue, the happier the pup!

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An exhausted pup is a happy pup

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The exact moment at which Penny realized she may have tried to turn on a bit too steep of an angle

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Even from the side, a pup’s face can say it all. Can’t you just hear Penny politely begging for a treat?

The pups got in a good run yesterday, so their faces will remain happily buried in the blankets on the couch through the storm. My legs are still a bit sore from Sunday’s race so that plan suits me just fine and makes this made-for-radio face of mine smile!