I Didn’t Like That Couch Anyway

Last Friday I said you can’t stop Penny, you can only hope to contain her. Well, we lost containment. Penny went supernova when I stepped out for dinner with my sister. When Emily came home, about fifteen minutes after I left, she found this:
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Less than ideal redecorating

At dinner I showed the text to my sister who burst out laughing. One, because it wasn’t her couch. Two, because this was the sign behind me at dinner.

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Luck? Karma? Coincidence? If it’s fate, it sure has a twisted sense of humor

Once back home I interrogated the suspect. So Penny, what do you have to say for yourself?

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“Will, I just want to come clean and tell you the truth….”

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“Eko did it.”

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“What!? Tell him the truth you punk!”

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“OKAYokayokay, I’ll tell him!”

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“Jeez, I was just kidding, Eko.”

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“Ok, Will. The truth is that a ghost did it.”

The real truth is Penny’s staples are out, her incision looks good and she is recovered from surgery. The vet’s given us permission to bring Penny up to speed so we’re heading out for a short run to stretch her legs in order to keep her from stretching my wallet.

The dog parks are going to be extra crowded this weekend, so I’m saving Penny’s big return until the beginning of next week. She’s going to need all the room she can get!

What Does Your Dog Need to be Happy?

Despite my best efforts to keep spirits up during Penny’s recovery there’s been a noticeable drop in morale. Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, chicago, adventure, beach

And it’s not just because of my bad jokes

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Eko and Penny are getting as much time outside as I can manage, but back in the apartment there’s significantly more moping, pacing and zooming than usual

No matter how long I’ve made our walks or outings in the past couple weeks, there is a general sense of listlessness from both dogs. It’s not fun but luckily it is temporary. What this experience has really reinforced for me is that in order for Eko and Penny to be truly happy they need the freedom to run wild.

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The pups have enjoyed the games and puzzles and walks and visits of the past two weeks, but there is no substitute for cutting loose

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No matter the weather, how happy Eko and Penny are is directly related to how much time they’ve had to run

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Off-leash time is not just about romping, it’s also about socialization and making new friends

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Unstructured playtime where the pups can enjoy themselves is a critical component to their happiness

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And it’s not a puppy-thing. Penny has more energy, but Eko loves nothing more than tearing up and down the shore

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Despite all that freedom, Penny often chooses to do what she can do at home anytime – bug Eko!

It hasn’t been the most fun two weeks, but what’s most important is that Penny is just about fully recovered. This has also been a good opportunity to get a better idea of just how important our trips to the beach are – for both Eko and Penny’s happiness and my own.

All dogs are not the same though, so I’m interested to hear from you guys. Do your pets have a particular “need” in order to be happy?

Recipe for a tired puppy

Penny’s post-op prison sentence continues, but since she’s healing well I decided to give the inmate a limited parole. It was a beautiful day out yesterday so we took a visit to hang with my brother’s pup, Doc.18.1

My brother has a small but sunny backyard, perfect for soaking up rays

On her best days Penny can be a lot to handle, but with post-surgery energy Penny attached herself to Doc’s hip

She couldn’t help herself and followed her cousin around the entire yard

At this point, Doc did what any sane pup would and hopped the fence to escape Penny! Luckily my brother was able to coax him right back.

It’s not a great photo, but that’s Doc on the left flying back into the yard

 

The pups quickly settled down to enjoy grass under their paws and the sun overhead

Although I kept Penny’s movement to a minimum, I’ve found the a great recipe to tire her out. Bake her. Not literally, of course! What I mean is that time in the sun really bakes the pups and helps exhaust them even without much running..

Love seeing those big smiles on a warm day

 

In fact, Penny got so hot she retreated to the shade of the deck and zonked out on the cool concrete

Another day, another tally mark on the wall. We’re almost there!

These are the times that try dogs’ souls

“I’m worried about our pup,” I told Emily.

“Penny’s totally fine and nearly healed from surgery,” She replied.

I agree, but it’s not Penny I’m worried about. It’s Eko. His sanity in particular. We’re now over 10+ days post-surgery and Penny’s taking out all her excess energy by bugging her big bro.
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Sure, there’s the usual dental exams, but Penny is absolutely relentless

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Eko tries to keep Penny at bay

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But in this little apartment, there’s only so much you can do to escape the wild beast

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“Will, run! Save yourself!”

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“Actually, forget that. Save me!”

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Eko loves wrestling with Penny, but this is a case of way too much of a good thing

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“Hey Will, I think I broke Eko. You know any other pups I could bother?”

Clearly Penny believes she’s 100% healed. But despite the havoc she’s wrought, we’re playing it conservatively and won’t let her off-leash until next week. Provided we all survive, that is. I’m just thankful I have Eko to help me out.

It’s going to be a long week!

My Dog, The Ring Bearer

The plan was to have no dogs in the wedding. I swear! Emily agreed to marry me and I didn’t want to push my luck any further. We booked our venue and made all our decisions without a single thought about the pups.

But about a month before the wedding we noticed the venue was pet-friendly. And about a week before the ceremony, a family friend generously offered to arrange transportation for our potential ring bearer. Then I saw a dog-tuxedo on sale and that pretty much sealed it.

That’s how at the very last minute we were able to have Eko as our ring bearer.
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Backstage getting ready

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Some brides might sneak in for just a quick photo, but not Emily…

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She made sure she got a big smooch for the big day!

Eko wasn’t just a model, he was a dog with a job. Right before our vows, we asked the ring bearer to present the rings. And to the tune of The Lion King’s “Circle of Life,” Eko strutted down the aisle.

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We were pretty excited to see him

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Eko was escorted by the Treat Fairy (aka, my sister Helen)

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After a few treats for a job well done, Eko gave us one last kiss and headed home

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If there’s a Ring Bearer Hall of Fame, Eko’s in it

Thanks to chance, good friends and a touch of serendipity, we were lucky enough to have Eko make a brief, but awesome, appearance. Our photographer, Shane Welch, was so great about having a pup around. I think Shane was more excited to shoot photos of Eko than he was to photograph me. I felt the same way, so he was in good company.

Oh yeah, we also happened to have one heck of a wedding celebration. It was an amazing evening from start to finish.

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I’m a lucky dog

Much has been written about “true love,” but I promise you no one has ever said this: True love is a woman letting a dog in a tuxedo walk down the aisle to The Lion King theme song in the middle of her wedding.

Did I mention I’m a lucky dog?

Puppy Surgery Recovery: Week One

It seems a bit unfair, but my veterinarian gave me pages of study material for Penny’s recovery yet didn’t ask Penny to read a thing. This was okay, at first. Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, chicago, marking our territory

The vet wanted Penny to keep still, and with plenty of meds in Penny’s system, my pup was happy to oblige

Things got a bit dicey when I failed to have Penny collared at all times and Penny failed to see the need for her stitches.

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While I probably deserved staples in my head, the vet put a couple in Penny’s incision instead. I kept Penny entertained with a comedy routine, which she loved. But maybe that had something to do with the high dose pain medication

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Over the weekend Penny recovered her strength via solar charging

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And plenty of well-earned cuddle time

As anticipated, Penny’s recovery has presented us with a bit of an issue. The good news is that Penny has her energy back. The bad news is that Penny has her energy back. I followed Penny’s transformation post-surgery by looking at her eyes. They went from medicated-eyes, to exhausted-eyes, to groggy-eyes, to rested-eyes, to alert-eyes, and finally to something I call “Penny-eyes.”

“Penny-eyes” is a phenomenon which occurs when her batteries are overcharged and she needs to romp at full speed.

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“Penny-eyes” are sharp, mischievous and often paired with an energetic ear wiggle

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Even other dogs recognize “Penny-eyes.” That’s why Penny’s pal Tripp is giving her the “Hey Penny, why don’t we talk about this” look in this old photo

I’m giving Penny plenty of walks, but it’s kind of like telling a NASCAR driver they can only drive up and down your driveway. Sure they can do it, but they won’t be happy about it.

To split the difference, today I started to give Penny some off-leash time on my back patio. I now have to act as the zoomie-police and quickly step in when she tries to rev up and sprint.

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Supercharged and ready to romp

One week in, and I’m happy to report Penny is back at full-steam. Unfortunately, she’s not allowed to go full steam ahead for another seven days. Week Two could get interesting!