Squeeze Every Last Penny

Nothing is given to a younger sibling. For seven years I was the youngest of three siblings and I scrapped for everything. One of the major resources I had to jostle for was space. Whether on a couch or in a car, I had to find a way to squeeze myself a spot where my brother and sister insisted there was no room.
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Penny has mastered the art of the younger-sibling squeeze

Squirming her way into a spot on the couch or the futon is one thing, but Penny recently demonstrated no spot is too small for her to shimmy her way into.

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This one foot by two foot sunspot barely fit Eko, but Penny remained undeterred

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First she nudged Eko over

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Then comfortably settled in to bask in a few glorious inches of sun

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Eko knew his options were to either start a fight or just let the nosy little punk share with him

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And like an experienced older sibling, Eko opted to share. Not without a few grumbles of course

There’s no room? Regardless of species, there’s no such thing when you’re a younger sibling!

Meet Atlas!

I’ve always said the best part about adventure is sharing it. I get to share adventures with Eko, Penny, Emily and our friends/family, and then I get to share them here on the blog. But every once in a while we’re lucky enough to bring those two worlds together.

Last week I heard from Jessica and Scott, two people we’ve shared our blog adventures with. As fate would have it they were in town with their pup Atlas and asked if we were up for a romp at the beach. Our answer? Of course!Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, chicago, montrose dog beach

Atlas is a sweet five-month-old Ridgeback with such a great disposition. He’s also already about the same size as Penny!

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Penny made sure to give Atlas a warm welcome

Jessica, Scott and Atlas got to witness “Penny Mayhem” in person. “She’s always been like that…right?” Scott asked with trepidation.

I laughed and assured Scott that Atlas wouldn’t turn into Penny. She’s one of a kind.

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Being a puppy is a ruff job so Atlas took a break under a bench

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“Alright guys, I’m coming out!”

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Atlas joined up with my treasure hunters and the gang explored the shore for booty

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Atlas had never been at such a big park before, but he quickly warmed up and happily chased Scott along the water

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Atlas was in full awkward-puppy-run mode which meant I was in full “awww” mode. I’ll never stop loving watching gangly pups galloping

We spent a beautiful sunny afternoon hour together. As puppies tend to do, Atlas made very clear when the trip was over.

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He flopped in the ground and gave us the “I’m not moving unless it’s toward the exit” face

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Atlas waiting for his valet service to whisk the car around

It was so great to meet Jessica, Scott and Atlas. We got to trade stories, hang out and enjoy some sun with our pups. So thanks to Jessica and Scott for dropping me a line!

We always love to meet new people and new pups so please consider this post an open invitation to come hang out with us at Montrose Dog Beach if you’re ever passing through Chicago. Year round, rain or shine, we’ll be there.

Hope to see some of you there! You can’t miss us. Well certainly not Penny at least.

Tail Tale Signs

Tails never cease to amaze me with how much they can communicate. Even without looking at the rest of a dog you can almost immediately pinpoint their mood by checking out their tail. A tail is pretty much the same thing as a thought-bubble in comic strips.

We all know the common tail wags like “big and happy!” and “tucked and worried.” But today I want to share some of my favorite tails which are just a bit more subtle.

“Brace yourself”

In gusty weather or when making deep turns the pups use their tails as a brace/anchor. It always cracks me up to see their tails flapping against the wind like a flag

“Gimme a minute”

While scheming, Penny gets this distinctive side-to-side tail wag that’s the equivalent of the hour-glass icon on your computer. It means she hasn’t quite figured out what to do, but she’s working on it. In the above case, she was (unsuccessfully) trying to figure out how to catch that bird.

“The (Almost) Statue”

Asking an excited pup to sit down is like putting on a kettle on the stove. Still on the outside, bubbling to a boil on the inside. I know Penny is extra excited when she sits still but can’t stop the very tip of her tail from wiggling like mad.

“I never got the memo”

 A tail has a mind of its own. Especially since it often doesn’t respond to the same information as the rest of the body. I can’t count how many times Penny or Eko has been shocked at accidentally smacking themselves with their own tails.

“Phantom Wag”

Sometimes you just know your pup is wagging their tail. You can’t see it, and you don’t quite hear it. You just feel it. You see their face above your bed, or around a corner and you know there’s a wagging tail attached to it

“I love you. I swear.”

My favorite tail wag of all is when I come home expecting a big welcome and neither pup leaves the couch. Whether they’re too tired or too comfy, there’s just no way they can move. They still want me to know I’m loved so they’ll frantically wag their tails like “Hey, check it out, we’re excited. Promise.”

There’s no shortage of unique feelings so there’s no shortage of unique tail wags. Do you have any personal favorites with your pets?

Lesson For a Loveable Lug

I love all dogs, but I have a special spot in my heart for larger pups. They tend to be some of the sweetest, goofiest, wannabe lap dogs.

Bernie, a Great Dane we met at the beach, met all the above criteria

One of the tough parts about having a large dog is that some people are wary of letting their dog play with yours. Eko is hilariously gentle with smaller dogs, but I completely understand why his size might make a person nervous. If I see that’s the case, I’m happy to run the pups to a different part of the beach.

Bernie, a gregarious pup a few months older than Penny, had the same trouble the other day. He’d good naturedly bounce and crash around smaller dogs (ie: every dog at the beach) and his owner kept shooing Bernie along.

Bernie bounded over to Penny and started pushing her around a bit. Bernie’s owner graciously offered to move Bernie down the beach but I just laughed and told him to enjoy the show.

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Bernie was quite confused why Penny wasn’t the least bit intimidated when he threw his weight around

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Bernie was even more confused when Penny started chasing him!

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“You messed with the wrong chick, buddy!”

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Great Dane, puppy, montrose dog beach, adventure, chicago

Penny kept chasing Bernie off but the big lug just kept on bugging her

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So she called in the cavalry 

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Eko and Bernie bounced and crashed while Penny looked on

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“Bernie, trust me, you’re getting off easy by wrestling me instead of Penny”

After getting run ragged by Eko and Penny, Bernie, in true big dog fashion, looked so pleased with himself as he flopped in the sand. Bernie’s owner said he appreciated me letting Eko and Penny run with Bernie. I told him we were more than happy to pass along the lesson Penny learned just a few weeks back.

It’s the circle of life!

[VIDEO] Why My Dogs Are Best Friends

Earlier this week I wrote about the motto, “Love to play, play to love.” In short, it means I think playtime is an invaluable part of building loving relationships, irrespective of species.

With Eko and Penny I have been lucky to have two pups whose personalities mesh well. But good fortune can only take you so far. That’s why I’ve prescribed a healthy dose of daily fun to help make sure Eko and Penny have a great relationship.

My Favorite View in Chicago

One of my favorite parts of having dogs is they force you to get up and move. Now, where you move to is entirely up to you. Walks around the neighborhood are nice, but on warm days I love heading out to the lake for the view.Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, chicago, cute, adventure

Nothing beats a walk with the whole family

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At the furthest point of our walk we like to sit by the docks and watch the boats go by

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Penny is particularly enamored by the sailboats

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Sometimes a bit too enamored! 

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We sit, we eat a few snacks and we watch the world go by

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Nowhere to go and all day to get there

While the harbor is nice and the skyline is beautiful, I think the truth is that my favorite view of Chicago is any view that includes Emily, Eko and Penny. I couldn’t ask for a better crew!

The Family That Plays Together, Stays Together

I know I’m very lucky Eko and Penny get along so well, but I think to a certain extent I’ve taken for granted why they get along so well. Sure, Eko’s patient. And yes, Penny has an infectious puppy charm. But I don’t think either one of those things best explains how these two stay close.

I think a better explanation is that Eko and Penny bring out the best in each other through play. After a couple days of avoiding Penny when I first brought her home, Eko just couldn’t resist romping with the little ball of energy. And the two have been romping ever since.
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Even with a full beach of dogs to choose from, Penny will beg for Eko to play with her

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While Eko may shrug off offers from other pups, he never turns down an invitation from his sister

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Nothing makes Penny smile quite like trying to keep up with Eko

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And nothing makes Eko bounce around like a puppy more than having Penny hot on his tail

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I love all our time at the beach, but nothing makes me happier than when I see these two playing together

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Clearly nothing makes them happier either!

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Except for maybe making the cameraman jump out of the way every time they fly by. I’m pretty sure they do it on purpose just for yucks

 Of course we love to play, but around here we also play to love!