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Borrowing Courage From Our Dogs

Our fears are our own. No one can take them from us, so we must find a way to face them. Thankfully, our dogs are willing to lend us their courage when we find our own lacking. I’m grateful Lincoln already finds inspiration in Penny and Zero.

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A Year After A Year After

As a child, I remember my parents crying. A quiet tear from my mother as we drove past our old home. A short breath and watery eyes from my father while sitting together on the edge of my grandmother’s pool.

I could not understand why these seemingly innocuous moments overwhelmed them. When I asked what was wrong the answer was always, “Nothing,” said with a wry smile. If pressed, they might share a hint of a stirred memory, but no more. Then they’d wipe their eyes and quickly return to the present moment.

Life is inextricably lived in one direction – forward. But it can be understood through an infinite number of vectors, intersecting at angles and times known and unknown. I now recognize that in those moments with my parents I witnessed a juncture of self-discovery through some revelatory vector. A moment they had once lived, experienced again with new perspective.

This past Saturday was a juncture in my own life. One I pass for the second time living forward, but a crossroads well-worn in my heart. September 29th marks two years since Eko died.

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When Should You Spay or Neuter a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, Marking Our Territory

Showing a profound lack of judgment by the people at Google, my site often ends up at the top of search results for questions about Rhodesian Ridgebacks. My qualifications for such prestigious placement are that I have Rhodesian Ridgebacks, I have a camera, and I have a very loose understanding of how to control both of those things.

That said, I’m always happy to share whatever knowledge I’ve picked up along the way. I can’t offer the expertise of a veterinarian or behaviorist, so I simply try to share the perspective of what an average owner might experience.

Recently, inquiries about the timing of a Ridgeback’s spay/neuter are increasingly common. It’s a question with pitfalls and nuance and a lot of strong opinions. I’ve heard people say veterinarians only recommend spay/neuter because it makes them money, and I’ve heard people say anyone who doesn’t spay/neuter their dog is an irresponsible jerk. Neither of these sentiments is particularly helpful (or true), and the conflicting opinions leave a lot of us feeling uncertain and ill prepared to make the best decision for our own dogs.

Rather than attempt to make that decision for you, I hope this post offers some dispassionate context for how to best consider your options.
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[VIDEO] Rhodesian Ridgeback Lion Hunting Training

First, we’d like to humbly accept the adulation we’ve received for keeping Chicago safe from lions all these years. It’s not glamorous work, but if it means the people of this city can finally sleep without fear of a lion invasion, it’s worth the effort. Many of you may get Monday off, but I can assure you Penny and Zero will be hard at work!

The Things Worth Leaving Behind

marking our territory, rhodesian ridgeback, eko

It used to be easy to pack my car. When it was just Eko and me, even when we lived on the road for a year, the trunk was never full and the cabin was always spacious. I could afford to be thoughtless about the bags I carried because I was never forced to leave anything behind.

A marriage, a child, and two dogs later – the question is no longer can we fit everything, but can we even fit everyone? With each subsequent road trip, solving the puzzle of how to squeeze the sum of my life into a single vehicle grows ever more challenging.

Looking back on our summer of travel there was a simple answer. Leave Penny and Zero behind. Place them in the safe hands of family or trusted boarder and go on the journey without them. Vacations would be so much easier and less time-consuming. All it would cost is a week away from the dogs.

And is bringing the dogs really worth leaving most of my own bags? Is it worth the discomfort of a fifteen hour drive each way? Is it worth limiting where we can go and where we’re welcome to stay?

Despite the increasing complexities of life, the answer to each question remains an unequivocal “Yes.”

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[VIDEO] Rhodesian Ridgeback Vermont Vacation 2018

Our third annual pilgrimage to Vermont was well worth the fifteen hour ride each way. I was certain the trip to the farm would be mindblowing for Lincoln, but I guess the phrase “raised in a barn” might apply to my city boy more than I ever thought!

[VIDEO] Rhodesian Ridgeback Vacation Adventure

We enjoy romps in Lake Michigan so much in Chicago, we figured we should check in on all the waves Penny and Zero send crashing into the Michigan shore on the other side. Turns out those waves are doing just fine! So the pups decided to send them on back across to meet us home.

[VIDEO] A Boy Raised by Rhodesian Ridgebacks

There’s no one right way to raise a dog or a kid. But I’ve found the best way for me to raise a dog and a kid is together. It’s not always easy, but the worthwhile things rarely are.

We’re off this weekend for the first of two family road trips. Hope everyone enjoys the Fourth, we’ll catch up with you when we get back.

One Year Old Rhodesian Ridgeback vs One Year Old Human Being [VIDEO]

When I was younger, my mom would often accidentally call me by our family dog’s name. I was incensed. In her defense, we had a Dalmatian and I had freckles, so it was understandable. Now that I have a dog and a kid of my own, well let’s just say I empathize with my mom’s mixup more than ever.

A Fire Tended By Dogs

One year ago I held Lincoln in my arms for the first time. An ember cast forward from the bonfire of life into the tinderbox of my arms.

He was such a precarious light. His flickering breath barely perceptible against my chest. Just past the corners of my vision I felt the encroaching fear some menace in the infinite darkness of things I could not see would  extinguish this spark.

The temptation was to turn towards the darkness. To claw at it. Build a wall against it. Stand between it and my tiny light. But thankfully my dogs have taught me such attempts are futile. Read more ›