Better Together

After months of trying to steal Eko’s bed instead of sleeping in her crate, Penny’s ultimate puppy-triumph was finally getting a bed of her own.

Penny’s loved having a bed of her own to stretch out on

For a few months, Penny took every opportunity to enjoy her new bed. She’d claim it, stretch out on it, and perch on it like a queen on her throne.

But since our move to the new apartment I’ve noticed a strange phenomenon.

Instead of enjoying the space of her big bed, Penny started creeping closer to Eko

So much so that I’d find her halfway sleeping on Eko’s bed

Inevitably, I woke up to this scene:

Eko gave me the “are you seeing this?” look while Penny gave her saddest “please don’t kick me off” eyes

“This is getting ridiculous,” I thought. I separated the dog beds to see if that might help the situation. Last night the dogs each went to their own bed, but of course when I woke up I saw this:

“Morning, Will. Please close the blinds, we’re trying to sleep here.”

Eko didn’t seem to mind the stowaway, or maybe he’s just applying the old mantra “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”

I have no idea where Penny learned she could just cozy up wherever she feels like.

Okay, I may have some idea

Penny’s always been my independent puppy, but as she gets older I think she’s realized life (and naps) are better spent with those you love.

And as for me, I guess I’ve realized I now own an extra guest bed.

My Private Dog Beach

Chicago is the third largest city in the country. The soundtrack to my day includes rumbling trains, screeching buses and roaring planes. My open window fills with conversations of passing pedestrians and wordless hoots of children on the playground.

I love city life. It’s vibrant, exciting and bursting with opportunity. Of course, I also appreciate the benefits of quiet serenity. Which is why I love visiting the dog beach on cooler fall days.

The shore is clear. With the dunes behind me and the lake in front of me, it feels like I have my own private retreat.
Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, chicago, montrose dog beach, adventure

And my own entertainment! Some of Eko and Penny’s best runs happen when we’re alone

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, chicago, montrose dog beach, adventure

With no distractions and no obstacles, the pups have free rein to fly

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, chicago, montrose dog beach, adventure

The only sounds are the alternating rhythms of lapping waves and pounding paws

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, chicago, montrose dog beach, adventure

The pups pause for deep breaths of the cool air

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, chicago, montrose dog beach, adventure

Then take off for another romp

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, chicago, montrose dog beach, adventure

I know a city of nearly three million people lies just beyond eyesight

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, chicago, montrose dog beach, adventure

But for a few moments it’s only me, Eko, Penny,

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, chicago, montrose dog beach, adventure

A fall breeze,

Rhodesian Ridgeback, blog, chicago, montrose dog beach, adventure

And our own private beach

Once we walk over the dune we re-enter the city and all it’s wonderful cacophony. I always do so more relaxed and more energized. That may sound like a contradiction, but if you have ever been out in the world, alone with just you and your dog you’ll know exactly what I mean.

If you haven’t, I highly recommend finding a beach, trail or quiet place near you!

[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.