Life Without A Promise

Eko and Penny, like all dogs, live in the moment. Though the circumstances of each moment change, those moments remain familiar. The moments are filled with love, adventure and a promise the pups will never lack for either. After a run along the beach, the pups follow me home tired and content, comforted by my promise.

Doc, my brother’s senior rescue, does not know that certainty in his life. He’s lived in different places with different people and he lacks the comforting reassurance of a kept promise. Doc loves my brother, but when we let Doc off-leash all bets are off.

Doc has no inclination to run away, but he certainly has the inclination to run towards everything. Not even Montrose Dog Beach is big enough to contain the eager pup, so recently we traveled to Wolf Prairie Dog Preserve to let Doc really run free.  

At the gates, Doc hesitated for a heartbeat. Then he took a deep breath

And exploded with joy!

To see Doc dash across the prairie you’d think his romp was purposeless. He randomly dove into bushes, smelled trees, rolled in long grass and zig-zagged in looping circles. But if you knew Doc’s story you’d understand that the romp was the purpose. It wasn’t the direction or the location that mattered, it was the act.

The only certainty for Doc is the present moment. And he lives in the moment in a way even more profound than my own pups.

Doc jumps exuberantly

Paddles furiously

And even when this little punk made off with his toy…

Doc couldn’t care less. He lives in serene appreciation of a moment he might never have again

I love watching Eko and Penny romp, but there is truly something special about watching Doc run free

So free that dozens of acres wasn’t enough for him! Doc somehow managed to get on the other side of the park’s fence

As they always do, Eko and Penny followed me back to the car. They enjoyed the adventure and trusted we would romp again soon. Doc, panting and muddy, trotted by my brother’s side with a big smile.

There will be plenty more romps in Doc’s future, but his posture said that if our trip to the park was his last one, he had no regrets

My brother makes the same promise of love to Doc that I make to Eko and Penny. Together they’re building a bond and Doc is learning to trust each moment will be filled with that love.

None of us is sure how many moments we have left. While Doc learns to trust there will be more, he provides a powerful reminder each passing day leaves us with fewer moments to fill and enjoy.

I’m thankful to Doc for demonstrating that the most important promise is the one we keep to the present moment.

Canadian Doubles

In tennis, when two players compete against a single opponent it’s called “Canadian Doubles.” It’s a fun skill game or it’s a necessary weighting of the sides in order to ensure a fairer competition. 

Around these parts we also can call 2 vs 1, “Penny Doubles”

Whether siblings, playmates or two pups who just met – Penny always seems to inspire dogs to join forces against her. 


Recently Penny worked a couple of Husky siblings into a frenzy by “borrowing” a coveted stick


The huskies were reluctant to let their prize go


But Penny ran with the opportunity 

“Oh boy, she’s in trouble. They won’t give up,” the man with the Huskies said

“That’s exactly what she’s hoping for,” I replied

Penny led her pals on a wild frolic up and down the shore

The pups chased and barked and hounded Penny, unaware she was loving every minute of it

And just when it looked like the Huskies were calling it quits, Penny came to a halt. She let her pals tantalizingly close…

And then took off again with glee!

I was going to end this post by saying I don’t know why Penny inspires dogs to gang up against her, but I’m pretty sure it’s simply because she loves the mayhem of it all. Why have one dog chase you when you can rile up the whole beach?

Neighborhood’s Gone to the Dogs

A couple years back Eko broke his toe while running in an asphalt dog park. Since then he’s been wary to go any faster than a slow trot on asphalt and accordingly we’ve steered clear of those types of parks.

With our new move to the Uptown area of the city, we’re now just a quick walk to the popular Puptown park. Since it’s on our morning route anyway we’ve taken to stopping in and introducing ourselves to the locals.
Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chicago, puppy, adventure, uptown

I think Eko’s running for mayor of Puptown. He likes to sit by the sign and greet everyone who comes in

Speaking of greetings, we’re lucky enough to now see a lot more of a familiar face.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chicago, puppy, adventure, uptown

“Hey, it’s Doc! What are you guys doing here?”

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chicago, puppy, adventure, uptown

My brother also lives in the neighborhood so we’ve gotten to spend more QT with the family

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chicago, puppy, adventure, uptown

And we’ve made plenty of new friends too. Friends who introduce themselves in the old school manner of “Hey, let’s see how tough the new kid is.”

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chicago, puppy, adventure, uptown

Friends who then say, “OKAYOKAYOKAY, sorry, new kid! I’ll play nice!”

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chicago, puppy, adventure, uptown

The sprinkler helps keep the pups cool even on the hottest days

Our visits to the park each morning have led to a fun new development. During our first few trips Eko contently plodded around and but wouldn’t play. Until yesterday, that is.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chicago, puppy, adventure, uptown

Penny begged Eko to romp, but he stood statue-still. I figured it was a lost cause

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chicago, puppy, adventure, uptown

Until he suddenly darted out from under Penny and took off in a gallop

Puptown is certainly no Montrose Beach, but it’s proven to be a welcome addition to our daily routine. The dogs get a bit more off-leash exercise and it’s a fun way to meet new neighbors. Not surprisingly, everyone’s been great.

On a side note, I think Eko will definitely win the election in a landslide.

Meet Leo!

Last week we had our first four-legged visitor to the new apartment and he could not have been any stinking-cuter. Meet our new pal, Leo!

“Hi, I’m cute. Give me treats.”

This pup, like the famous renaissance artist, was named after the even more famous Ninja Turtle, Leonardo. He’s my friends’ 10-week-old Bernese Mountain Dog. Did I mention he’s too stinking cute?

Paws the size of his head? Check

Leo’s still too young for the dog park, but since Eko and Penny are healthy and up to date on all vaccinations we invited Leo over for some puppy-socialization.

Leo was initially wary of Eko, but Eko was actually the more nervous one. He was terrified we’d saddled him with another puppy!

Not surprisingly, Penny was eager to test Leo’s mettle

“Ok kid, you take this ball and then I fight you for it. Got it?”

Leo quickly came out of his shell and gamely battled with Penny

Leo also found time to taste test my camera strap

Penny may be the big pup now, but she should enjoy it while she can. Leo is likely to be three times her size when full grown

Emily always swears we’ll never get another puppy, but…

That’s what they all say! She was as hopeless as I was to resist Leo’s charm

Eko and Penny got a new friend, Leo got some great socialization time and we got plenty of puppy-cuddles. A winning afternoon for all!

Farewell Summer

The first day of autumn may not be until September 23, but this is the last weekend of summer in my heart. No matter how late the warm weather stretches or bright sunny days linger, you can’t convince me summer lasts a single day past August 31st. September belongs to autumn and autumn alone.
Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, adventure, marking our territory

With that in mind I wanted to look back on summer and share some fun photos which never made it on the blog

Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, adventure, marking our territory

We dug right in to making the most of this short summer

Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, adventure, marking our territory

We certainly weren’t afraid to get a bit dirty in the process

Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, adventure, marking our territory

There was no shortage of splashing

Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, adventure, marking our territory


Or crashing

We made plenty of new friends
Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, adventure, marking our territory

And discovered cool new places

Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, adventure, marking our territory

Summer’s light regretfully fades, but we certainly have no regrets about how we spent our time

With that, summer, we bid you adieu. But we’re in no rush to see you go, so hopefully you’ll take your time heading out the door!