[VIDEO] Dog-Friendly Vacation

Could we have left the pups in Chicago with my brother when we traveled to NJ last week? Sure, but our vacation wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun!

Eko and Penny inspire me to be more active, to visit new places and to do more things with my day than I ever would otherwise. Thanks to their lead, Emily and I had an awesome trip.

Dog Baths Made Easy

Getting dogs dirty is easy. Rhodesian RIdgeback, blog, chicago, adventure

It comes quite naturally to them, especially when kicking up sand at the beach

Getting dogs clean is not so easy.

Rhodesian RIdgeback, blog, chicago, adventure

I feel like Penny brings a few gallons of Lake Michigan and a few dozen bucketfuls of sand home with her after every beach trip

I’ve always bathed my dogs at home in my shower. This worked when Eko was a puppy. It still worked pretty well when he was full grown. It kind of worked when puppy Penny joined us in the tub. It did not work well at all once Penny grew to her current size.

Bathing the pups became a game of Twister where I contorted myself to try to get everyone clean. I finally decided to buy an extension hose from Amazon to see if I could make things easier for all parties.

Rhodesian RIdgeback, blog, chicago, adventure

Setup was quick, easy and the hose is detachable when not in use

I can’t stress how much I need to file this purchase in the “Why didn’t I buy this five years ago!?” category. The hose helps get the pups cleaner in a shorter amount of time and it conserves water/my sanity. It’s indisputably the better way to bathe.

Rhodesian RIdgeback, blog, chicago, adventure

Although the pups don’t seem to be any fonder of the process!

Rhodesian RIdgeback, blog, chicago, adventure

Penny tried to puppy-dog-eyes her way out of the bath

Rhodesian RIdgeback, blog, chicago, adventure

Which turned into the same “How could you do this to me?” eyes that Eko gave me

Rhodesian RIdgeback, blog, chicago, adventure

But what Eko and Penny certainly enjoyed was how much shorter bathtime was with the hose. They also appreciated the hose kept water from spraying in their eyes

If you bathe your pups at home I highly recommend looking into a detachable hose for your showerhead. They’re pretty inexpensive and they make it so much easier to efficiently and thoroughly clean your dog.

The Day The Penny Stood Still

Guys, something happened yesterday. A thing I was not even sure was a thing. Allow me to explain.

After our long road trip back to Chicago, I figured the pups would be eager to stretch their legs.Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago, blog

I expected wild-eyed Eko pouncing 

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago, blog

But he was completely listless at the park yesterday morning

“Well, I guess he’s tired from our long week,” I thought. Penny didn’t run at the park either, but I assumed it was because there were no other dogs around. So later in the day I loaded up the pups and headed to the dog beach.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago, blog

I expected to see Penny tear across the shore, happy to be back in her favorite place

That’s when it happened. Or didn’t happen. I unhooked Penny’s leash, ready to see the familiar rust-colored blur take off. Instead, Penny did the most unthinkable thing of her year and a half on this planet. Penny stood still.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago, blog

Penny joined Eko and I on the bench for a quiet reprieve

The three of us sat on the bench, exhausted. It was the first time in the past week we had a moment to collect ourselves. I smiled at the realization that it is in fact possible to tire Penny out. All you need to do over the course of six days is drive 30+ hours and relentlessly intersperse backyard sprints, off-leash trail runs and leashed jogs with non-stop dog-wrestling. No sweat.

After a few minutes on the bench, we all wearily walked back to the car. It seemed as if the non-stop action of the past week simultaneously caught up with us. Back home, the pups retreated to recharge on the chairs.

30.5Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago, blog

“Yes, Will, I can get tired. Now can I please have a treat and a nap?”

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago, blog

Eko was so tired he fell asleep with his eyes open

As for me, I sat down on the couch to enjoy the short lived phenomenon of a completely exhausted Penny. “I can do anything right now!” I thought.

So what did I do? I decided to close my eyes, “just for a minute,” and woke up an hour later to Penny furiously wagging her tail in my face.

I guess there’s two important lessons here. One, it is in fact possible to tire Penny out. Two, it is impossible to tire Penny out without exhausting yourself too!

Vacation Unleashed

One of my favorite parts of vacation is how much time the dogs get to spend off-leash. 

Sometimes that means relaxing in the sun

But inevitably, off-leash time means the dogs find adventure

Or adventure finds them!

Auggie and Penny picked up right where they left off and romped relentlessly

We also had the opportunity to give the dogs some more off leash time on a run through the trails near my mom’s house.

Eko and Penny galloped through the first fallen leaves of the season

And took time to breathe deep autumn breaths

There was no better way to end our vacation than with a trail run with these three

This trip was an unequivocal success!

After a delightful little twelve hour ride we made it back to Chicago in one piece. We’re back to reality, which means we’re all back to leashes. Some of those leashes are leather, other leashes are a bit more metaphorical!

It felt nice to cut loose for the week, but I think all species agree that it’s good to be home.

Deja Vu All Over Again

We had such a great time on our trip to NJ, but it’s time for us to once again pack up and hit the road. 

Auggie bounced and begged to get us to stay

But we’re all exhausted and ready to go home

Emily needed to fly home for work, so for this trip it’s just me and the pups. 

As I loaded up, Penny made sure I knew she wouldn’t be left behind

Eko, thinking like a true veteran, made a pretty impressive attempt at jumping from coach to first-class. I turned my back for a second and then found him guiltily sitting like this:

“C’mon! Emily’s not here, let me ride shotgun!”

Apologies for not being as responsive to comments these past couple days, it’s been a whirlwind trip with an uncooperative laptop. We’ll be back in the full swing of things tomorrow.

But today, it’s a familiar story – me, the pups and the road. Catch up with everyone tomorrow.

Romp, Recharge, Repeat

We all made it in one piece to my mom’s house last night. All of us except my laptop.

After 4+ years of service, I think it’s finally time to retire the little guy (the laptop, not Eko)

I’ve recorded a bunch of stuff from our vacation, but I’ll post it next week once I have a computer than can turn on in under ten minutes.

My laptop wasn’t the only one tuckered out after our time romping through the trails of Northern NJ,

Eko and Penny claimed this chair and slept like a couple rocks

And it’s a good thing they got that sleep, because this morning there was someone quite eager to see them


Penny and Auggie picked up right where they left off. The wild rumpus is in full swing

My laptop feels and sounds like it’s about to melt, so I’m going to run! Hope everyone has a great weekend – we’ll catch up next week with a full report of our trip.

A Perfect Fall Day

The first official day of fall was a beautiful one here in Northern NJ and we took full advantage of it with a trip to the local hiking trails.

The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the leaves were just starting to change color

Best of all, we were together

We paused just long enough for a few photos, then we had ourselves a wild wooded romp.

Penny crashed into the lake

While Eko sampled the area’s finest mudpits

And we ran wild together on the off-leash trails. A rare treat for city-folk like us

Emily smiling, Penny clearly about to start trouble, and Eko making a goofball face. A perfect family photo in my estimation

When we put our heads together, we always find a way to enjoy the day

We had an amazing few days with Emily’s family and it’s going to be tough to say goodbye to the trails and the fenced yard. I know Eko and Penny will be quite reluctant to leave today, but I also know they’ll be thrilled to see Auggie (my mom’s dog) later tonight.

I’ll check back in tomorrow, but until then we’re soaking up a few last rays in the yard.