I Fired My Wedding Photographer

Every once in a while Emily forgets who she is dealing with and asks me to accomplish a simple task. But with me, nothing is ever simple. For reasons still unclear, awhile back Emily agreed to marry me. We’re putting together a site with info for guests at our wedding next year and Em asked if I could “find a few cute photos” to use on the pages.

Um, OF COURSE! I immediately hired myself as our wedding photographer and got to work.

Step 1: Find models. “Hey Eko and Penny, want to be my wedding models??”

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“Not interested.”

Step 2: Bribery. “Hey Eko and Penny, want to be my wedding models and earn some easy treats??”

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“You have our attention, go on…”

Step 3: Start taking the “cute photos” Emily wanted.

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Aww yeah, looking snazzy!

Step 4: Realize I need to step up my game and take some photos that will really make Emily gasp.

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Wait, how did this photo of an English gentleman get into this blog…just kidding that’s Eko!

Step 5: Be an awesome bridesmaid and make sure the bride looks incredible

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She’s ready for the big day!

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“Oh darling, you look wonderful!”

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True love

Well, when Emily came home she gasped alright. But just not the way I anticipated. Turns out she meant she wanted “cute photos” of us. I happen to think she should have been more specific in her instructions, but in the interest of securing matrimonial harmony I decided to fire myself as wedding photographer.

It was tough to let the photographer go, I really liked that guy. They might not make it on the wedding website, but I think these photos look great here. Wherever you are, handsome but fired wedding photographer, I just want to let you know that I appreciate your work!

Chicago’s Best Dog Park (That isn’t in Chicago)

Life for an active dog in Chicago is pretty good. There’s 20+ dog parks, an awesome dog beach and plenty of dog-friendly green spaces. That said, there are just some things you can’t get in a city, and a massive dog-park with acres and acres to roam is one of those things. Luckily Chicago pups need only travel about thirty minutes outside of the city to find Prairie Wolf, a 44 acre dog preserve.

Emily and I took Eko to Prairie Wolf this past winter, but since we’ve had some balmy fall weather it seemed like the perfect weekend for another visit. We brought my brother and his pup along for the adventure as well.

The first thing we saw inside Prairie WOLF Park was this friendly…direwolf? Dog?  Bear? (Side note: anyone have a guess as to what kind of dog this is? He was larger than Eko and very unique looking)

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The second thing we saw was the dogs take off in flight. Penny was in heaven

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Dutch was all smiles

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, adventure, chicago, marking our territory, wolf prairie, blog

As we walked the path the pups would dive into the brush looking for mischief 

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This was my view of Penny for most of the afternoon. Then I’d lose sight of her for a second, hear a rustle and…

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Out she’d burst from the thicket

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With Eko hot on her heels!

At one point, the trail curves out of sight. When I turned the bend just moments after the dogs had…

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They were going absolutely crazy in this mud pit!

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, adventure, chicago, marking our territory, wolf prairie, blog

If scientists ever discover an exact formula for happiness, I’m positive a large component of it will be mud

But not to fear, Prairie Wolf also has a large lake where the pups washed off.

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Penny and a little Yellow Lab had fun playing Clash of the Puppy Titans

Of course, after all my efforts this summer to get Eko and Penny swimming they decided to just go for it on their own in the lake.

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Although it may appear Eko is smoking a stogie, that’s just a stick

So yeah, Prairie Wolf may not be in Chicago, but if you live in Chicago you absolutely must make the short trip with your dog. Come on, just look at this smile:

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To see the pups this happy is worth every extra minute in the car, and then some

After the visit we had, you can be sure we’ll be back to Prairie Wolf soon!

[VIDEO] Teach Your Pet a Silly Trick

Nonsense, shenanigans, tomfoolery – call it what you will, but buffoonery and balderdash are my speciality. Luckily, I have a couple of pups happy to partake in the preposterous proceedings! And best of all, being silly with Eko and Penny happens to be one of the best ways to strengthen a serious bond between us.

Catch you guys next week, hope everyone has at least a dash of silly in their weekend!

[VIDEO] Behind the Scenes of a dog-friendly roadtrip

A couple weeks ago I took a stroll down nostalgia lane and talked about how this blog got its start three years ago. People have found the blog at different times so I received a number of suggestions to revisit some of the earlier content from when Eko and I traveled the country.

I haven’t looked back on those posts in the years since, so it was fun (and a bit horrifying – some of the posts are pretty brutal!) to see how far we have(n’t) come. With that in mind I’m going to periodically share some posts from the early days. Here is one of our very first videos – ah, we were so young!

Looking back does have it’s drawbacks – I’m no pro now, but my camera and editing skills were three years shoddier. And while my videography skills may have grown up, it appears Eko and I were forever and will always be knuckleheads!

Every Dog Has Its Day. And Doesn’t.

Some days the dogs and I wake up and we just have “it.” I don’t know what “it” is or where “it” comes from, but I know there’s nothing like “it.” The pups and I are on the same page, have the same energy and everything about the day clicks perfectly.
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When we have “it,” training is a breeze, walks a joy, and problems nonexistent

Ah, “it” days, there’s nothing better. Of course, for every “it” day we also have what I call “definitely-the-opposite-of-‘it'” days. On these days it seems the pups decide to completely empty out their brains and my own noggin feels the same way. Yesterday was one of those not so glorious days.

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All of our loose-leash progress? Gone.

On these types of days it’s not that my dogs don’t hear me, it’s more that they just don’t care what I have to say.

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“What’s that, Will? You want me to perform a basic command I know perfectly?”

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“Yeah, I could do that, but instead I’m just going to completely ignore you. Cool?”

These types of “not-it” days are not confined to puppies either. Eko (aka Mr. Reliable) has his fair share of days when he decides to act like a complete punk.

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The master of insolence

On these types of days, Eko will look at me with those deep eyes to make sure I get the message loud and clear, “I know exactly what you want me to do, but I’m not going to do it.”

The exuberance of “it” days is nearly matched by the frustration of “not-it” days. But you can’t win them all, so I’ve found the best policy is to know when to fold ‘em and call it a day. I’m not at my best every day, so the I think the dogs are entitled to have an off day when it comes to training/attitude.

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Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum with their heads stuck in Wonderland 

Today is not an “it” day but I’m also happy to report it’s not a “definitely-the-opposite-of-‘it'” day either.

Yesterday got me thinking – what do you do when your pet is having an “off” day? I generally disengage and find a good night’s sleep cures all, but I’m interested to hear how other people help their pets get out of a funk.

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy learns an important lesson

For the past four months I have blogged about a wide number of important lessons for one Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. Today’s post is not one of those blogs. Today’s post is about an important lesson a different Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy learned with Penny’s help.

It all started like any other trip to the beach. Eko and Penny were tearing up the sand.Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, chicago, adventure, dog beach, marking our territory

And making ridiculous faces, as usual

I turned away for a second and when I looked back I saw another Ridgeback pup accosting Penny.

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Like many knucklehead pups, this guy was over exuberant and did not heed Penny’s signals to disengage

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Luckily my head of security rushed over to break up the scuffle

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With Eko giving him the stink-eye, the pup trotted off

The pup’s humans apologized for the roughhousing, but I assured them I know all too well about the issue of reckless puppy playing. They kindly asked if I wanted them to move down the beach, but again I assured them. I had a feeling Penny was ready to pass on a lesson she’s still herself learning.

When Eko trotted away, the puppy darted right back to tackle Penny. This time she was ready for him!

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Not only did Penny chase him off...
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She also chased him down

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It’s fun tackling other dogs, but this guy found out it’s not so much fun when the dogs tackle back

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Penny really let her new pal have it. You could tell his mind was blown that it was possible for another dog to push him around

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“Alright, alright, I give up! This chick is crazy!”

It was so fascinating/fun to watch the give and take between the two pups. The two romped and battled and tested each other to find the boundaries of the game. The first time Penny yelped (and Eko intervened) the other pup did not disengage. But I noticed later, after Penny made him yelp and she disengaged, the other pup started to catch on to the behavior.

The two played for the better part of a half hour and by the time we had to leave they were best friends. And Penny’s new friend left one lesson wiser – “Don’t go looking for trouble with other dogs. You might find it!”

What’s better than a nap? A nap with pets!

My sister is in town this week for work so she stopped by my apartment to catch up. Instead, she mostly caught me catching up on some z’s with the pups. I couldn’t help myself! I saw how comfy Eko looked dozing in the sun, so I decided to close my eyes for just a second.

The “just a second” thing never works. I was out like a light and my sister got to document the formation of a dog pile

I think Penny was a bit confused because she’s usually the one snoring on the couch

But she happily joined right in. Dogs never need an invitation to nap

Eko nudged his way onto the couch and we happily napped the afternoon away

Somewhere in the middle of my nap, I awoke and thought “I really should get up.” Then I opened my eyes and saw Eko and Penny napping next to me. That was all the reassurance I needed to head back to dreamland!

There are few pleasures like taking an afternoon nap while your pets lazily doze with you.

As an added bonus, when you do get up, your pets have a heated pillow to enjoy

We are well-rested and ready to enjoy what promises to be a beautiful fall week here in Chicago. As the weather turns cool, if you find yourself in need of some R&R, I recommend you enlist the help of your pet- they’re like pillows and heated blankets all rolled into one!