An Old Vet

Eko’s an old vet. After 4+ years of putting up with my antics and 1+ years of keeping Penny in line, there’s not much that fazes him. Rhodesian Ridgeback, chicago, vet

Eko’s default face is a stoic one

But this week my vet had to go to THE vet for his annual check-up/boosters.

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Our vet’s board always welcomes new patients. This crop of names might be the best I’ve ever seen on one board

Penny thinks the vet’s office is an extension of the dog beach and tries to wrestle every dog there. Eko is the exact opposite.

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He calmly sits while I feed him treats 

Rhodesian Ridgeback, chicago, vet

Back in the exam room all Eko needs is a few encouraging butt-scratches and he’s good to go

As he tends to do, Eko buttered up the tech and our vet with plenty of kisses. Compared to life with Penny, their prods and pokes were a vacation. “I wish all my patients were as easy as you!” Dr. Baker said to Eko.

“You forgot we haven’t done the shots yet,” I laughed.

“Ohhhh righttttt….”

Eko, the perfect patient, the old veteran, is the BIGGEST baby when it comes to needles.

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“Did you say needle? I’d rather have two Pennys than ever see another needle.”

For the boosters I managed to quell Eko with plenty of love/treats. But when he had to go back to get his blood drawn his screams shook the foundation of the building. Of course as soon as he was back in my arms he was as cool as a cucumber again. For a grizzled veteran, Eko really knows how to put on an act.

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The good news is that Eko is perfectly healthy and in great shape!

Now don’t tell Penny, but Eko’s vitals looked even better than they did last year. It seems keeping up with Penny keeps Eko young.

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“Ya hear that bro? I’m good for ya!”

So yes, Eko is my old vet. But when it comes to shots at THE vet, he’s still the same little squeal-prone stinker he once was. And that’s more than okay. No matter how old Eko gets he’ll always be my puppy!

Puppy Undercover

I think I pamper Penny pretty promptly, but it seems she disagrees. Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, blanket, chicago

And an improperly pampered pup must take matters into her own paws

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Penny’s developed a strategy to ensure she’s comfy, with or without my help

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First she checks the coast is clear…

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Then Penny grabs a mouth full of covers and flops down with them

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The cover is supposed to cover the ugly futon…

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But when I see Penny happily self-snuggled I’m happy to bend the rules

Anyone else have pups who tuck themselves in?

[VIDEO] Speaking Tail

Hang around pups long enough and whether you know it or not you’re learning a whole new language. Reading a dog’s body language, especially their tail movements is an easy way to know exactly how the pup is feeling. Here are a few of my favorite things Eko and Penny tell me with their tails.

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!”

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, chicago, montrose dog beach

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!