Road Trip!

Despite numerous letters to the President and both houses of Congress, my petition to reduce the distance between Chicago and New Jersey fell on deaf ears. I checked again this morning and the map still says we have a thirteen hour drive ahead of us. Oh well, it was worth a shot.


Vote Will/Eko 2016! We’ll remove inconvenient geographical distances!


I ran Eko and Penny doubly ragged yesterday so they’ll be content to snooze the trip away

This drive is never fun, but I’m lucky I have two road warriors for pups. I also have a theory that they don’t think the trip is that long since they’re sleeping for the vast majority of it.


What the backseat of my car looks like for ten of the thirteen hours

Either way, now’s no time for dithering. The road calls. Catch you guys tomorrow from NJ!


“Must-haves” for Pet Travel

We’re gearing up for a Thanksgiving road trip to NJ. I like to travel light, but I feel like I could make an endless list of things the dogs “need.” In reality the pups need very little, but there are some extras which can make the trip more enjoyable for everyone. The trick is figuring out what those “must have” extras are and what you can leave behind.

In the ongoing trial-and-error experiment that is my life, here are the goods I’ve found go the furthest when we’re furthest from home.

1. Antlers:


This new antler gets even more attention than the old one. If the pups are in the mood for chomping, in the car or at our destination, I’ve found nothing keeps their attention like the antler


In fact, it’s so popular I’ve ordered a second one to avoid these staring contests. Antlers are lightweight and don’t smell, a double bonus when traveling

2. Crate:


Heavy? Yes. Cumbersome? Yes. Essential? For now. I no longer crate Penny at my apartment, but when we’re traveling, a crate is essential for her safety. While I run holiday errands I’ll feel much better knowing Penny is chomping on an antler in her crate and not looking for trouble around my mom’s house

3. Blanket:


This green guy is the “The Little Blanket That Could.” It survived puppy-Eko and is chugging along unscathed by puppy-Penny. It’s small, comfy, lightweight and a familiar piece of home. No matter where we go, wherever I lay down the blanket is where the pups go to lay their heads 


Penny would have gone to the fire anyway, but you get my drift

That’s it! Of course we have food, waste bags and treats (yes, treats are essential), but aside from that we’re minimalists. It makes traveling with the pups easier and more enjoyable if I’m not lugging beds, toys, grooming supplies and anything else I don’t absolutely need. If something unexpected comes up, I can usually rig together a temporary replacement. More often than not, I don’t need anything else.

Traveling with pets isn’t a one size fits all process though.  So I’m interested to hear what your “must haves” are when you hit the road with your pet. If you have any good ideas, I might just have to borrow them before we leave!

[VIDEO] Is a Rhodesian Ridgeback right for you?

Before I got Eko I had lots of questions about Rhodesian Ridgebacks. I wanted to learn everything and anything I could. I found plenty of great materials, but reading through generalities can only get you so far. I wanted to see one up close. For those who are doing the research I once did,  I put together a quick video of what day-to-day life is like with a Ridgeback.

How did your expectations of your pet differ from the general descriptions you knew ahead of time?


[VIDEO] A Rhodesian Ridgeback in Gotham

We’re taking another drive down memory lane today with a look at our week in Gotham in 2011(!). Eko might not be batdog, but he made himself right at home in Manhattan.

As an added bonus we managed to trick a pro to put this video together for us, so unlike all of my older videos (and most of my newer ones) it looks great. Check out young Eko in action.


How many settings does your pet have?

In LOST, the TV show from which Eko got his name, one of the characters has to press a button every 108 minutes in order to prevent catastrophe (don’t ask, long story). I often feel like that character because with Eko and Penny there is a figurative button I need to press about every 36 hours to prevent catastrophe in my apartment. That button? The “on” button.19.1

If Penny and Eko don’t get to release a full burst of energy every other day or so, I’m in big trouble. That’s why we keep showing up to the beach, even when it looks like the aftermath of the apocalypse 

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When the pups are on, they are on! There’s no trotting or lazy strolls, just full throttle romps

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When at full tilt, the pups are completely oblivious to everything else

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Eko, cocked, loaded and ready to explode out of the barrel

But like fired bullets, Eko and Penny’s supersonic sprints have sudden endings.

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Penny came to a screeching halt, felt the wind and came trotting over with her “take me home now” face

With the button pushed, the timer is reset and tranquility restored in my apartment.

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As you saw in last week’s video,  after a good romp these two transform into pieces of furniture 

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Down for the count

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When “turned off,” Eko won’t even bother to move his head from underneath Penny’s paw

Like a lightswitch, Eko and Penny really only have two settings. But I do know plenty of pups who use their daily energy allotment quite differently. Some are happiest plodding on long walks and others like to take frequent trips around the house throughout the day.

What about you guys? How many “settings” do your pets have?

Beach Bath and Beyond

Eko and Penny love the beach, which is great. Based on how much sand they bring home with them, the beach loves them right back. Which is not so great.18.1

Rain or shine (or unannounced mini-blizzard) these two love their beach time

In related news, a wizard put a hex on my apartment which causes my bathtub to shrink a little bit each day. Well, either that, or maybe it’s just that Penny is growing. In any event, the tub is increasingly cramped when I try to bathe the pups together. To give my back a break I decided to clean the pups up at Soggy Paws, a local self-wash spot.


When we were on the road I used to bathe Eko at self-wash places all the time. They make bath time easier for all species


I said easier, not enjoyable. Eko still thought about making a break for it when it was his turn


With Eko at my level it was so much easier to wash him. Having a hand spray nozzle was also clutch. …hey, who’s that back there?


No, the authorities did not apprehend Penny. This is actually a really cool drying station for pups who don’t like the blow dryer. Circulating warm air dries your pup right up


This little babushka has been around the block, so all he needed was a couple towels and a quick go-over with the blow dryer


I couldn’t stop laughing when it was time to go. Penny, who had been understandably hesitant to go into the dryer, was reluctant to leave her warm enclave

We had a great experience at Soggy Paws, but unfortunately it’s not feasible for the pups to get this deluxe spa experience for every bath. While we can’t always go to the spa, I’m hoping to figure out a way to bring of the spa home to us. Has anyone ever bought an aftermarket shower attachment hose? I think having the hand held spray would be a big benefit at home, so any recommendations would be great.

If you have any other big dog bath time tips or tricks be sure to let me know!

Puppy Physics Lessons

Puppies have a lot of things to figure out as they grow. One of those things happens to be the very fact that they grow. At her best, Penny doubled in size every few weeks, so a couch that was out of reach at the beginning of one month was easily accessible by the end of that month. This also means Penny’s been gaining strength/speed at superhero levels.rhodesian ridgeback, puppy,  beach, chicago

“With great power comes great responsibility…to cause trouble”

Penny loves the benefits of no longer being the smallest dog on the block. Recent trips to the beach offered time for Penny to test the physics of her larger size.

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Better leverage? Check. Eko can no longer easily pull sticks away

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Larger mass? Check. Penny can now throw her weight around when playing

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Better acceleration? Check. There’s nowhere Eko can run where Penny won’t follow

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Longer reach? Check. Eko’s length advantage is steadily shrinking

Penny certainly has a lot of things going for her, but she still has a few hard physics lessons to learn. Most notably, force equals mass times acceleration:

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With both pups running full speed, Penny decided to crash head on into Eko

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And nearly knock herself unconscious!

I love the above photos for so many reasons. Penny looks like a comic book character who just got punched and Eko’s grin is priceless. Not to mention Penny’s “I’ve made a huge mistake” face.

Penny is a powerful pup, but she’s learning that power has some limits. One of which happens to be her brother’s sizable rear end and thick skull!