This never ending winter must be stopped. Eko and I figured we were up for the job. Here’s how we’re doing our part to tell Mother Nature we’re ready for spring.
Oh well, we tried!
This never ending winter must be stopped. Eko and I figured we were up for the job. Here’s how we’re doing our part to tell Mother Nature we’re ready for spring.
Oh well, we tried!
I almost titled this post, “Do you talk to your pet?” But let’s be serious. If you have a pet, I am 100% certain you talk to them. How could you not?
Pets may not be great conversationalists, but they’re certainly great listeners. Last night I laughed when I caught myself in mid-soliloquy with Eko carefully listening to every word. It got me thinking about when and why I talk to Eko.
“Go on, Will. I’m listening.”
Rhetorical questions - ”Where did I leave my shoes?” ”Do I need to go to the grocery store?” The list of rhetorical questions I ask Eko is endless. I think by speaking my thoughts it often helps jog my brain out of a rut. When I run my ideas by Eko, I usually come up with an answer quicker than I would have otherwise.
Stating an observation - Just because there is no one around doesn’t mean I don’t have something to say. I’m glad to have Eko to share my observations with. If you saw a man alone in the park shout “It’s a beautiful day!” or “What an afternoon!” you might be inclined to call the police. Thankfully I have Eko by my side to listen to my proclamations and keep me out of an institution. For now.
“Nothing to see here people, just my human making exclamatory observations”
2 vs 1 - We live in a democratic society so I figure it’s only right Eko gets a vote in household decision making. I don’t see how it’s my fault that Eko always chooses to cast his vote the same way as I do. Friday night takeout? “Ok Emily, you vote for veggie pizza? Well I vote pepporoni and Eko just told me he does too.”
At least Eko used to vote with me, but these days his vote seems to have been co-opted. Just the other night I heard, “What’s that Eko? You vote Will does this dishes? Me too!”
Comic relief - As far as comedic performances go, Eko is the best straightman (dog) a guy could ask for. He never breaks character!
If I need to get something done and Emily tells me there won’t be time, I turn to Eko and holler “Cancel all my appointments and tell your wife you’re going to be late for dinner tonight. We have work to do!” Whenever I need a laugh I can always count on Eko to get it for me.
Pets are excellent listeners and they certainly know how to keep a secret. There’s no better confidant around. I talk to Eko all the time so I’m sure I have left out all sorts of examples. So fill me in on your gossip – what do you talk to your pet about?
Ever have a “How did I not realize this before?” moment? Well, essentially my whole life is a never ending series of those moments. Normally these revelations are not worth mentioning (How did I not realize it would be easier to put on my pants then my shoes?) But yesterday I had an idea that – dare I say it – might just be useful to share.
Eko’s always had a solid stable of toys. But there comes a time when he inevitably “retires” a toy and loses interest
Eko’s antler is an exception, but he generally only gives it a passing chew now and again
I’ll buy new toys from the bargain bin, but of course it doesn’t take Eko long to destroy those. If I bought an Eko a new toy every time he destroyed the last one, I’d be broke in no time
Eko will ignore his bright, fun toys when I bring them to the park, but he is always happy to play with a stick
I have always found Eko’s practice of retiring toys a bit troublesome but I never gave it much thought. Until yesterday when I happened to find a ball Eko retired a few weeks ago. To my surprise, when I tossed the ball to Eko he happily pranced and pawed, as excited as if the ball was new.
And that’s when I had my palm-to-forehead realization. Pets need variety and novelty just as much as we do. Schedules, routines and habits are well and good but it’s important to shake things up. I wouldn’t want to play the same game every day, so why would Eko? Eko will play with a stick at the park simply because it’s not a familiar toy from home.
By unintentionally removing the ball from Eko’s environment, the reintroduction was a novel event. And like me, Eko enjoys rediscovering an old game he hasn’t played in a while.
I brought the ball to the park and Eko was completely focused on chasing it
So focused in fact, he pretty much jumped over my head when I tried to photograph his pursuit
My new plan is to put Eko’s durable toys into a rotating-retirement. Rather than most of them accumulating dust , I think the toys will get a good work out when reintroduced. Variety makes life interesting, for everyone. I will have to remember to change things up every once in a while.
Except for mealtime, of course. As far as Eko is concerned, some things should never change!
It sounds a lot more impressive if I say “I have lived with dogs my whole life”, rather than “I have lived with five different dogs.” So in truth, my experience with and knowledge about dogs comes from a pretty small (but important in my heart!) group of pups.
With that in mind I have noticed some behaviors and tendencies with Eko which I never saw in any of my other dogs. I have no sense of how common or uncommon these traits are so I figured I would tell you guys about them and you can let me know if your pups do any of these things. Sound good? Let’s play, “Is it just my dog, or…”
Is it just my dog, or does anyone else have a dog that doesn’t want to go outside at night?
Eko’s nightly “Do I really have to get up?” face
From the day he came home with me all the way through to today, Eko has always disliked having to go outside before we head to bed. As a puppy, he would actually refuse to move and I frequently had to carry his stubborn butt. At any other time of day Eko is ecstatic to go outside, but every night he still grumbles about getting off the couch. Does this happen to anyone else?
Is it just my dog, or does anyone else’s dog do…whatever this is:
I call it the “half-and-half” and I wholly don’t understand it
Is it indecision? Laziness? Boredom? I don’t know what the cause is, but I will often find Eko with only his back half on the couch. Anyone else have a half-and-halfer?
Is it just my dog or does your dog have a different set of rules for their first friend?
Eko and his big sister, Scout
Eko has four-legged friends from coast to coast. He loves to romp and play with each and every one of them. However, he seems to have a special set of rules when it comes to playing with his big sister. Well, she used to be his “big” sister, I guess now she’s just his older sister. Nevertheless, Eko will stand placidly while Scout tries to put her jaws around his head like she did when he was a puppy. He would absolutely never let another pup do that. Does your dog have a different set of rules when playing with old friends?
Is it just my dog, or does your dog also think it’s a doting grandmother?
Eko is obsessed with small dogs and puppies. If it’s a small puppy? His tail starts wagging at the speed of light
Eko considers himself the mayor of dogville and he has to say hello to every constituent. Most pups get a cursory hello, but he gets absolutely giddy when he sees a small dog or puppy. I have never met a dog so infatuated with smaller dogs. Eko has nothing but love in his heart, so he doesn’t always understand why some smaller dogs don’t reciprocate the love.
So that’s what I have. Help me out and let me know if your pup or a pup you know does any of these things. And it’s a two way street of course. If your dog has any unique habits be sure to share.
There are plenty of things you have to teach your pet, but when it comes to sleep they require absolutely no instruction. While Eko has always had the skill set for sleeping, I have noticed his form and style have changed over the years.
As a pup, Eko slept in the classic curled-up position
Like most pups, Eko would paw and spin for seemingly random lengths of time until finally plopping down in a ball. There’s no consensus as to the exact purpose of this routine, but most agree the process is a mixture of digging up a place to sleep, making sure it’s clear, and then curling up for protection and warmth.
However, as Eko grew up his sleeping habits began to relax.
As did his posture and any fear he might be unsafe while asleep
Some might say his posture relaxed just a tad too much
I’m happy Eko feels relaxed, warm and comfortable enough to stretch out. He’s really turned 180 degrees since I first got him.
Quite literally: turned 180 degrees
Curled up? I understand it. Relaxed? I get it. But this upside down sleeping? Completely beyond my comprehension
If sleeping is an art, Eko is a modern day Leonardo da Vinci. But despite my best attempts to sleep upside down with all four of my appendages sticking straight up, I just can’t seem to get comfy. Not sure what the appeal is to sleeping upside down, but Eko seems to have a great-grand-parent that was a bat.
Does your pet have any unique preferences when it comes to catching z’s?
No video can ever do justice to how much fun we had at the Beggin’ Pet Parade in St. Louis, but I put together a few of my favorite clips to remind me of how much fun it is when people and pets party together.
Hope everyone has an awesome weekend!
If you live with a dog, you live with a criminal. Dogs are natural born thieves and many are accomplished counter robbers. Apologists will claim dogs are not sneaky thieves, merely hungry opportunists. However, I recently read a study which demonstrates dogs are tactical when it comes to theft. (Shocking absolutely no one, Dr. Juliane Kaminski, who conducted this study of food-jackers, has a Rhodesian Ridgeback.)
Dr. Kaminski’s study tested what influence light conditions had on whether a dog would disobey a command. As it turned out, when the lights were off the dog were more likely to disobey a command, more likely to disobey it quicker and more likely to steal extra food.
If you’ve read this blog in the past you know this very same experiment played out in my apartment.
One night I heard a rustle and found Eko weirdly sitting in the dark
He did not come when I called and he sat perfectly still
I flipped on the lights and still could not figure out what was going on. Until I saw Eko peek around the corner
Aha, the thief’s target!
I watched to see if Eko had the gall to steal the treat, but he didn’t budge. I then turned off the lights and pretended to read on the couch. And right on cue…
It wasn’t until I read this article I realized Eko had been purposely hiding in the shadows. As Dr. Kaminski noted, “The results of these tests suggest that dogs are deciding it’s safer to steal the food when the room is dark because they understand something of the human’s perspective.”
In short, those sneaky pups plan and execute their heists with our thoughts in mind. If they think we can’t see them, it’s open season. Unfortunately, the study did not investigate the power of dogs to recruit an accomplice.
“Quick, while Will’s not looking, steal me a treat!”
I really need to start a section on this blog called “I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!” for every time I read a scientific study confirming the fact that Eko has been playing me for a fool all these years. All I know is that I’m keeping my wallet in well-lit area from now on.
How did I choose Eko’s first vet? It was easy, I didn’t. My family has a vet in NJ who all our dogs have gone to, so there was never of question where I would take Eko.
I felt right at home, and judging by the way he smooched the techs, so did Eko
While Eko and I traveled, keeping Eko in top shape was a coordinated effort. We saw a vet in Tennessee for an ear infection, one in Portland for a rash and another vet in Colorado for an annual physical. I kept all medical records along the way and checked in with my vet at home with any follow up questions.
After our trip, Eko had another exam at home and received his updated vaccines. When we moved to Chicago I had no vet for Eko. I knew the location of an emergency clinic in our area, but that was about it. Then Eko slipped at the park last autumn and broke his toe.
Eko checking out his busted wheel
Without much thought, I booked the first appointment at the closest vet.
The receptionist had her own body gaurd
I felt the care and treatment for Eko’s paw were good and the price reasonable. However, I chose the vet based only on proximity so I felt it was worth researching other options in the area for the next time Eko got himself into trouble. Eko was happy to oblige on that front.
This photo should be next to “How dogs get ear infections” in vet textbooks
Since it was not an emergency, I did not have to rush to the nearest vet. I booked an appointment at a different practice that is well-reviewed on Yelp.com.
The facilities and services at the second vet were top-notch but the baseline cost seems more expensive than the first vet we visited. We had a quick follow up visit at the second practice and saw a different vet than we saw the first time. At final count for our time in Chicago, Eko has seen three vets at two different practices.
Eko is an active, healthy and happy pup. That would not be possible without the help of my vet from home and all the vets Eko has seen since then. However, I don’t have one vet in Chicago who I’m completely comfortable with and who knows Eko. Nor would I expect to have such a vet since I’m new(ish) to the city.
So who is Eko’s vet in Chicago? I don’t know for sure, but I would like to figure that out. There are a lot of different considerations when choosing a vet, so I am very interested to hear from other people about their experiences.
There are adventure to be had, we can’t have Eko bedridden!
If you have any suggestions, recommendations or advice about choosing a vet, I would really appreciate your input. Thanks for any help or insight you can offer!
For three years I have fed Eko twice a day, every day. But apparently three years is not enough time to inspire faith in Eko that I will remain vigilant in providing him food. Eko is the ultimate guard dog, as long as your goal is to prevent mealtime from being stolen by time.
Ever vigilant, Eko has a multitude of fail-safes in place to ensure he is well fed.
Eko has the ultimate selective hearing. No matter what time of day or night and no matter how deep his sleep might be, Eko will jolt upright if anyone so much as whispers the “H-word”
For a time I would spell out h-u-n-g-r-y but Eko quickly caught on to that game as well. If I accidentally say “hungry” it usually means I will be pestered until I feed Eko.
In addition to explicit verbal cues, Eko also uses some implicit cues to cajole me into feeding him earlier in the evening. I used to buy dog food and fill up the container whenever I got home.
However, Eko perfected his “Don’t be a jerk and do this in front of me” face. I guess it was unfair to torture him like that so now I only fill up his container during meal time
Situational awareness is another strong point of Eko’s. The first time Emily worked the night shift, she happened to wake up for work every day right around Eko’s dinner time. So before she left she would feed him. This was all well and good until Eko realized that whenever Emily woke up, he got food. So Eko took matters into his own paws and started breaking into the bedroom to wake Emily hours ahead of schedule.
I give Eko credit for creativity, but he and I were both in the dog house for a while because of that stunt.
Eko’s “But it was a good plan!” mopey face
While Eko will poke or paw me if he thinks I’ve forgotten dinner time, my favorite is when he uses “psychic” powers to compel me to feed him.
Eko will quietly sit by his food bowl and stare at it with such intensity I can only assume he attempts to conjure food with mental powers alone
You might think Eko’s psychic powers are fake, but he hasn’t missed a meal in three years!
Do your pets have any friendly reminders or cues for you when it’s time for a meal?
I woke up this morning, confused. Well, some would argue I wake up confused every morning, but this morning I was confused by a dull ache in my cheeks. It wasn’t until I looked at my photos from yesterday’s Beggin Pet Parade in St. Louis that I realized the source of my discomfort. My cheeks are actually, literally, truly sore from smiling.
For about six hours yesterday a smile was plastered on my face. In our three years of attending the parade, this year was by far the best attended and the most fun. It was so much fun to see so many people sharing the day together with their best four-legged friends. The costumes, as always, were amazing.
We saw our usual favorites, Sky and Star
Some great classics
And some truly incredible Diva-esque dye jobs
Norv, an instagram famous pup, posed for photos and hammed it up with the crowd
For a second I thought I might have to make a call to the zoo about an escaped tiger
But it turned out it was just this guy with a nice paint job
Between the tiger at the parade and this bear in our hotel, there was only one thing missing…
A lion! Eko put on his best Aslan/Mufassa impression for the parade. He was impressive, imposing, regal….
Well, until this cute poodle realized that, unlike her, Eko was wearing a toupee
St. Louis native and Bravo star, Andy Cohen, lead the parade. The streets were jammed packed for the march. Eko has never felt so loved
After the parade we grabbed lunch and cheered on the Dachshunds as they competed in the annual wiener-dog races. After an awards ceremony and some great live music, it was time to head home. Whether by chance or by fate we happened to take a different route back to my car. Our path brought us by a photo-op too perfect to pass up.
The King of the (Urban) Jungle. And what does every king need? A queen of course.
Maybe one day Eko will get his queen, but for yesterday he was stuck with me!
I could not have hoped for a better trip or a better parade. My cheeks will need the week to recover. As for Eko, it looks like he’s probably going to sleep straight through til tomorrow.
While Eko snores away, I get to relive the parade and start sorting through all the video I took. Hope my cheeks are up for the task, I should have a lot of great footage to post on Friday.