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[VIDEO] What Does a Rhodesian Ridgeback Look Like?

Not all Rhodesian Ridgebacks are created equal, and that’s a good thing. One of my favorite parts about the breed is it’s diverse genetic history and how it plays out with different pups. I get a lot of questions asking about what a Ridgeback should look like, so today’s video covers some of the common and not-so-common variations in the breed.

Special thanks to Mary (Zero’s breeder), the extended Vyrtuous Ridgeback family and the members of RRCUS who donated a lot of the media for this video.

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[VIDEO] Sunrise at Chicago’s Montrose Dog Beach

There’s no snooze button on my new alarm clock so we’re always up before the sun these days. I used to dread early morning wakeups, but starting the day with Link and pups at the beach for sunrise has helped me find new perspective.

The Unreasonable Dog

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Lion, Marking Our Territory

How far can light travel in four years? The answer could be represented as a very long number. Simplified, the answer is four light-years. Most simply, I like to think of the answer as “Penny.”

Today Miss Penny Mayhem turns four (Earth) years old. The tendency with birthdays is to remark how fast time flies, but it seems Penny flies at relativistic speeds because no one in my family believes she’s only been with us for four trips around the sun.

Emily thought Penny must be six. My brother was certain the little wild thing (Penny, not Emily) was even older. I started to question my own sanity so we had to go back and double check the math. Despite the evidence I’m still not sure my brother is convinced. I’m only marginally more confident.

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[VIDEO] How To Feed a Rhodesian Ridgeback

People are passionate about their dogs, which is awesome. People are also increasingly passionate about what they feed their dogs, which is also great! That said, I think that passion often breeds competition rather than collaboration. It’s tough to sift through all the data on canine nutrition and I know I’ve felt overwhelmed by the increasing number of available choices.  Today’s video covers how I like to think about canine nutrition in a way that helps me best care for my dogs.

[VIDEO] Dog Training Mistakes, Mishaps and Failures

I like to think I do my best to show the good, bad and ugly of sharing life with dogs. Still, what ends up on the internet is inevitably more polished than real life. It’s easy to have the camera running when everything is going well, but when things go south I’m the one doing all the running. (And I for one am eternally grateful there is no footage of me trying to catch puppy Penny at the beach)

A full compilation of  all the mistakes I’ve made would last roughly the duration of my life, so today I thought I’d share a very small selection of mishaps I did happen to catch on video. Success looks good on camera, but I’ve found the best way to learn and grow is through failure. And boy have I done a lot of learning. Thankfully my dogs are patient – if opportunistic – teachers.

So next time you’re struggling with training your dog, I hope you’ll find encouragement in the fact that I have failed in ways more spectacular than you can imagine.

Remembering Ourselves Through Dogs

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We forget almost everything. Life is singular and precious, but it is too expansive for our minds to hold in its entirety. We relinquish rote, routine and unremarkable memories willingly, hoping to save space for the occasions we cherish most. But the pernicious flaw of recollection is that we cannot always choose the moments we keep.

So if memories are an imperfect inheritance from ourselves, how can we invest our fortunes today so that despite what we lose, our minds and hearts may be richer tomorrow?
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[VIDEO] Rhodesian Ridgebacks vs Snow

The slow tilt towards spring has begun, but luckily Mother Nature delivered Zero and Lincoln’s first real snow storm before the weather turns. Both outside and inside, we made the most of it.

The Nature of My Dogs and The Nurture of My Child

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I’ve always enjoyed the parable of “The Scorpion and the Frog.” The synopsis, from Wikipedia

A scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a river. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung, but the scorpion argues that if it did so, they would both drown. Considering this, the frog agrees, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When the frog asks the scorpion why, the scorpion replies that it was in its nature to do so.

The short tale captures the essence of a timeless dilemma – is it possible to ever truly change one’s nature? And who is responsible for what comes of that nature? Do we blame the scorpion for being what it is, or do we blame the frog for believing the scorpion could be anything but?

I was a frog. I believed reason determined behavior. I thought nature could be tamed by circumstance. Then I got a puppy. Read more ›

When We Care For Our Dogs We Care For Ourselves

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Just before we brought Lincoln home from the hospital I took Penny and Zero to the beach. The dogs soared joyfully over the fence and I jumped the rail in their wake. A familiar routine in an unfamiliar time.

For each of us, there is something restorative about crossing that boundary. We leave behind the things that leash us to the world and run unencumbered. It is meditation in motion. A calamitous communion of teeth and peace. A raucous, panting tranquility in which we inhale love and exhale everything else.
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[VIDEO] Sharing Never Tasted So Good

Lincoln may go down in the census as an only child, but he does have a couple four-legged siblings to help him learn the ropes!