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June 7, 2017

A Boy and a Dog. A Dog and a Boy.

The morning after Eko died, Emily told me she was pregnant. I can only imagine what my reaction to the news might have been the day before, but at that moment I felt nothing. I wanted to cheer, but I could find no joy within me. I wanted to cry, but I had shed all my tears for Eko. I loosed every valve in my heart, hoping to give the moment the love it deserved, but there was simply no lifeblood left to pump through it. I was an empty man.
The morning after Eko died, Emily told me she was pregnant. I can only imagine what my reaction to the news might have been the day before, but at that moment I felt nothing. I wanted to cheer, but I could find no joy within me. I wanted to cry, but I had shed all my tears for Eko. I loosed every valve in my heart, hoping to give the moment the love it deserved, but there was simply no lifeblood left to pump through it. I was an empty man. A spark which should have set my world on fire instead quietly extinguished itself in the vacuum of my loss. As I groped for words, trying to explain, Emily took my hand  and spoke first. “I found out this morning,” she said. “And I only told you because I’m the worst at keeping secrets. It’s not important right now, so we’ll talk about it later.” No hugs, no celebration. Just an acknowledgement that the best news can come on the worst day, and Emily holding my hand to keep me from drowning. Grief is a gaping hole in a sinking ship you cannot abandon. Loved ones help you stay afloat for a time, but in the end, you are the only one who can bail yourself out. The trouble of course is that the same loss which put a hole in your boat also put a hole in every bucket you have. And you cannot save a broken ship with broken tools. In the months following Eko’s death, as I struggled to build new tools, I was buoyed by Emily, Penny, family, friends and the kindness of thousands. I patched the hole as best I could and limped forward in my listless ship. As much as I yearned to fight against the current of time to get to Eko, I knew I needed to prepare for the future. Slowly, Emily and I began to talk about this future, but never above a whisper. The pain of losing that future was still too raw. In that future, we walked with our baby on warm summer days while Eko and Penny trotted beside us. In that future, Eko and my child fell asleep on each other in front of wintertime fires. In that future, I stroked Eko’s gray muzzle while telling my wide-eyed toddler stories of a boy and his dog on a great adventure around the country. I once sailed into that future confidently, but in this new future I was rudderless. How rudderless? So much so that I thought it was a good idea to tell my two-month pregnant wife – who was struggling with severe morning sickness – that I wanted to get another dog. Quick poll. You are violently ill during the first trimester of your first pregnancy and your husband stumbles into your arms crying incoherently, saying he needs a puppy. Do you:
  1. Divorce him immediately
  2. Continue vomiting and allow that to be answer enough
  3. Kindly lie and say you’ll think about it
Looking back, all of the above options seem eminently reasonable. The only unreasonable answer is exactly the one Emily gave without hesitation. “I think that’s a great idea.” Maybe it was the dehydration and nausea talking, or maybe it was love. Whether you call it a soul, spirit, essence, identity – or by any other name – whatever it is that we are is not immutable. Emily saw, better than anyone else, that after losing Eko I was not myself. Of course she didn’t think really think adding another dog when we were going to have a newborn was a “great” thing to do, but neither did I. Instead, I believed it was the right thing to do. I’m incredibly fortunate Emily offered her unequivocal support. Last Thanksgiving we hosted our families in Chicago to share the big news. After a heartfelt toast to Eko and his legacy, I raised my glass and said that we had some important news to share. I inhaled deeply and told the group we had decided to get another dog. “Oh…I thought you were going to say Emily was pregnant,” her mom blurted out. “I knew I forgot something. Yeah, that too!” I replied. Later, once the cheers, hugs and laughter quieted down, my mom asked, “Wait, so you were kidding about the dog, right?” It was no joke. In fact, it was more of a secret. One which my head kept from my heart. Because my heart didn’t want another dog – it just wanted Eko. But I was determined to meet my child as my best self, and I knew the best way to find that lost self was through a dog. I quietly began my search and connected with Mary from Glass Creek Kennels, where a litter of pups was serendipitously born on Thanksgiving Day. Only fitting, I think. In the weeks and months after Eko died I reluctantly washed his bed and blankets with sickening guilt that I washed away the last of my puppy from this world. But I held fast to one blanket – the first one I gave him as a puppy, the one which miraculously survived unscathed through the years. I hid the blanket in my closet. When feeling depressed I’d wrap the blanket in my arms and breathe deeply of Eko’s comforting, lingering scent. Were my apartment to have caught fire and I could only save a single possession it would have been that blanket. Because in my sorrow I mistook that blanket to be the last place on earth where Eko still lived. I brought the blanket with me when I picked up Zero because I wanted to wrap my new puppy in Eko’s love. I thought I would carefully hold Zero in the blanket and then tuck it away again in my closet. I realized the folly of my plan when I reached down to give the blanket to Zero and his ten enthusiastic siblings all wanted to share. I had two choices. The same as choices I always have, really. Either I hide and protect the love in my heart, or I give it away freely and accept the risks of doing so. I’d hid it for so long, believing that was how I honored Eko, but in that moment I realized my error. I tossed the blanket atop the puppies and smiled as they sank their teeth into it. I carried Zero to my car in the battered blanket. Normally it’s the new puppy who cries on the ride home, but I handled that duty for our trip. Not exactly the image of a man ready to be a father, but certainly the image of a man finally ready to become ready. Over the ensuing months Zero became Penny’s best friend, Emily’s favorite blanket, and my guide back to the joy of love given freely, despite the cost. So last Sunday, when Emily delivered a healthy baby boy, I had the pleasure of meeting him as myself. Not the self I imagined, but the one I needed to be. The self I could not have become without my dogs. The night after we brought him home, I held Lincoln in the darkness of our kitchen, hoping to give Emily some time to sleep. As he began to fuss I tiptoed to our dryer and pulled out a clean, warm, familiar blanket. I wrapped my son in the scarred but soft fabric and held him confidently. Not because I have any of the answers he’ll one day want. But because no matter the cost to my heart, I’m ready and eager to share the love he’ll always need. As for the answers? Well, I’ll tell him to ask his mother or the nearest available dog. It always seems to work for me.

Comments for A Boy and a Dog. A Dog and a Boy.

  1. Tears of unbridled joy and happiness for you and your family. All of them! Congratulations.

  2. Through all of the heartache, puppies help us heal. I’ve learned from experience, all of my dogs have come into my life during big life changes. Congratulations on your new baby, and your healing heart. Kids and dogs are the best combination!

  3. Congratulations! You tell such a touching story and this one has a beautiful, happy ending. Welcome Lincoln. May you have many happy years growing up with your canine siblings. They are sure to teach you much about love and laughter.


  4. congratulations!!!! I cried the whole time while reading your post, but I’m so happy for you and Emily… you are the BEST people of this world!!!!

  5. Shannon Schmit says:

    I have got to learn not to read these in public as I am crying on the train. Congratulations on baby Lincoln!!

  6. Sue says:

    Congratulations to you & Emily. Now you are parents to not only two adorable dogs, but also a beautiful baby boy. Lincoln and the pups will fast become best buddies.

  7. Emmadog says:

    Well, that is some shocking, but good news! At least you won’t need to leash the newest addition for a while. Congratulations!

  8. cathwhistler says:

    Oh, my goodness! Heartfelt congratulations to you all… <3 Thank you for sharing this great news and doing it in a way that allows us to come on the journey with you. You are a terrific writer, and it's an incredible legacy that you'll give to your son to allow him to deeply know you and have a chance to "know" Eko too.

  9. Pat says:

    You’re much better at keeping a secret than Emily! Congratulations and welcome Lincoln. Two Ridgeback nannies, what a lucky boy. 🙂

  10. Victoria Coleman says:

    OMG -that is so wonderful – congrats to you and your amazing wife!! So happy for the 4 of you to have such an adorable little guy to have more adventures with – and i hope we see more pics of Emily and Lincoln (as well as, of course, you, Penny and zero)

  11. Tiffanie says:

    Lincoln has wonderful, thoughtful, parents, and two dedicated guardians! What a lucky little Boy! Enjoy this new journey!

  12. Congratulations to you and Emily and Penny and Zero and Lincoln! What a wonderful family you will all be for each other!

  13. meANXIETYme says:

    Wow, just a shocker! What happy news for your entire family. Congratulations on Lincoln and I’m so glad to hear that all are well and healthy…do keep us updated on how Penny and Zero are doing with the new addition. Lots of new experiences to come for you all!

  14. KDKH says:

    What a wonderful family you have! Congratulations on the newest addition. You four will be great parents to Lincoln. Because where there is love, children thrive.

  15. jturner9192 says:

    Will, congratulations to you and your growing family! It is so wonderful to be on this journey with you! My boyfriend and I brought home our very first 8 week old ridgeback on Saturday, the day before Lincoln was born. We found your channel about a year and a half ago and have been studying your videos ever since in preparation for our long-awaited first puppy. Most of what you have to say inevitably moves me to tears. You may think this is silly, but I believe that part of Eko’s spirit is in Lincoln, and the rest is in your heart where you can carry it with you always. True love never leaves us; it only manifests itself in other ways. You are surrounded by love in your precious family and I hope you continue to find joy in your journey.
    Julie, Garcia, & Tucker (AKA Spartacus the Bringer of Snuggles)

  16. Karen Boone says:

    What happy, joyous news, congratulations to the whole family!!!

  17. Deena Sadek says:

    Such a beautiful post and wonderful tribute to Eko. He has blessed Lincoln through his blanket communion. And BTW, Lincoln looks just like his daddy! Congratulations all around.

  18. Lynne Bates says:

    Beautiful and congratulations from Cape Cod.

  19. Michael Bondor says:

    I’ve kinda been wondering where you’ve been! Tending to family business, evidently. Thank you for sharing your joy with your fans, all of whom are thanking Heaven for you and your family’s joy!

  20. TheRidgebackLife says:

    I’m jumping up and down! What a beautiful post and tribute to the love you have for your puppies! Congratulations to you and Emily! I am so excited for you. Lincoln is adorable (I’m glad you didn’t name him Eko–there’s only one). I can’t wait for your next video, although, I’m sure your hands are full now, so it might take awhile. I’ll try to be patient. Best wishes to your ever-growing family

  21. OHHHHH i am beside myself with JOY! I am sooooooooooooooo happy for you both!! Congratulations! What a precious, precious baby boy Lincoln is!!!! You both are going to be wonderful parents and he couldn’t have better siblings (wink)………………..and Eko’s legacy lives on, as it ALWAYS, ALWAYS will!!!!! So happy for you! xoxo

  22. Tracie McGuire says:

    As I sat hear crying reliving the pain I’ve carried since my mother’s death I am also able to experience the acceptance of her loss while reading your words. Hearing the news and then seeing the picture of your beautiful son helped me to realize the error I have made in holding onto the pain of the loss as the only tangible thing I had left of my mom. I now see the only thing to do is let it go and allow my heart to open to the joy love has to give, when given freely. Congratulations to you and your family for this amazing addition and thank you for helping me to see the path through the forest of my pain. I now have a direction to follow.

  23. Jodi Wood says:

    Crying as always with your post! So so happy for you all! Lincoln will learn everything from you and Emily AND the dogs! Xo

  24. Gayleen says:

    Wow, you have the most incredible gift for putting emotions into words. Both grief and joy! When I read your posts I feel all of the emotions you describe so eloquently! Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby boy! And thank you for sharing yourself with us.

  25. Eve says:

    OH this is exciting news!! Lincoln and Zero get to grow up together as maybe that was the plan all along just we mere humans don’t know the path we are to take until it is here! Congrats on the new baby boy and love to you all!

  26. KarenS says:

    Sitting here with my eyes full of tears, so happy for you and Emily with the birth of Lincoln. I was holding it together until you mentioned that you wrapped him in Eko’s blanket. He’s a real cutie that little guy. Hope Emily is recovering and that the pups are ready for their new jobs as best friends.

    He’s off to a great start in this scary big world. He has two beautiful people that understand love, joy and despair and will be there to guide him as he grows.

    Congratulations on the birth of your first child.

  27. Mo says:

    Oh geez, I’m on my way to work and just read your post. Back to the bathroom to redo my makeup…
    I am thrilled for ALL of you. Compile all this into a book, please…

  28. Robyn says:

    Congrats, Will! I’m so glad to hear about your baby. From your San Diego friends, and Penny’s namesake, Penny!

  29. Fran says:

    Oh my God Will, u sure hide that fact or I missed something. I was consumed with Eko n his passing n Penny n u grieving n new Zero that I never thought a baby. I m so happy for u and Emily, now the pups will only add to ur happiness of the future. They will take care of their new brother. Love to u all with joy in my heart n soul for 2 ppl I have never met but love from z distance. Congrats on Lincoln. Hugs

  30. Fran says:

    Lincoln is gorgeous I forgot to add.

  31. lori gallo says:

    Congratulations Will and Emily! He is beautiful and will fill your heart with more joy than you could ever imagine!

  32. lisaC says:

    Another heartfelt beautifully written post. Congratulations. You refilled yourself beautifully. Enjoy!

  33. Oh Will……..and Emily…….my heart is so full learning this news and what a grand surprise for all of us who know how you both have struggled with the loss of Eko. What a gorgeous little boy you and Emily have added to the circle of love you created – Congratulations. Life is full of surprises some make your heart so full it could burst and some are so awful they reduce us to tears but there’s a balance – you have it now. I bet the pups can hardly wait for Lincoln to be old enough to play on that beach you all love so much. Hugs to all of you………from me, Teddy, and our own little angel, Sammy.


  34. Rikke says:

    Congratulations What a big surprise. I’m so Happy for you and your family. I wish you all the best❤️ ❤️

  35. Lea Placek says:

    Every single one of your posts “gets”me Will, but this one especially! We too brought our second Ridgeback, Koda home when I was 5 months pregnant, and also while my husband was going through very intense chemotherapy for another relapse of his leukemia
    We had no idea what the future would hold for us: a baby on the way, a new Ridgeback puppy and my husband’s cancer returning, but we knew that we wanted to look towards the future instead of being afraid to live in the now; and so we brought our puppy home last June, Tony continued with his therapy & a few months later we welcomed our son to the world
    We grieved for the life that we once knew before cancer & before the fear of death enters your mind everyday
    but we celebrated our new puppy and our new baby boy, and our families’ hopes to move forward
    It was hard at the time but we are so glad we have Koda, he has become the baby’s biggest fan and biggest protector
    Thank you for sharing so openly and most of all congratulations to all of you on the birth of your son Lincoln!

  36. Ellen says:

    Congratulations on your wonderful new addition . I’m sure Penny and Zero will be wonderful protectors of your new baby!!

  37. Geri Zeibert says:

    Well Will, what a secret you kept for all this time! Congrats to you and Emily! I’m sure that Penny and Zero will be up to the challenges of their new baby brother with Eli’s spirit to guide them. Welcome to the family Lincoln!

  38. sarahkyllo says:

    Congratulations!! What a happy joyous time after a lot of sadness. You have a beautiful little family!

  39. Kristin & Vega says:

    Your writing is truly beautiful.

    Congratulations with your new extended family!

  40. LisaDay says:

    Congratulations to you and to Emily on the birth of your son. Enjoy every moment, it goes by quickly. Congratulations on Zero. My condolences about Eko.

  41. coastingnz says:

    To be honest I haven’t read all of this – can’t through my tears, and I’m sitting in an airport so don’t want to look too distraught at a computer. Absolutely stoked for the two of you – had to scroll down to see the outcome after the “great idea” comment from Emily. I’ll take a breath and wait until we get to our destination and can read in private – and cry in private, tears of pain, tears of heartache and tears of joy. So happy for you all. Hugs and snuggles to all.

  42. Nicole Da Silva says:

    You have the most eloquent and captivating writing style. I wish you all the best with your new little one, I’m sure he already knows the love that surrounds him. One day, when he looks over these blogs, he’ll be the most proud son!

  43. Anne says:

    Well, you outsurprised me; that’s for sure!!! Emily may not be able to keep a secret, but you can! WOW, CONGRATULATIONS to you both,especially you Emily. You did all the hard work. That’s one lucky boy to have parents like you two and the 2 Ridgebacks, well they’re a bonus. I can’t wait to see these adventures that are ahead of you now! You guys have just kicked it up a notch. Oh, and I also teared up when reading the part about wrapping Lincoln in Eko’s blanket; so precious and sweet. He definitely has an extra guardian angel looking over him! ☺️

  44. Connie Taylor says:

    Emily, Will, Penny and Zero – congrats to all of you on your newest and greatest new family arrival!! Cherish these times because they go by so fast and before you know it, Lincoln will be writing about his exploits as the “younger” brother to his two four-legged siblings and all of the adventures they’ve had together. Kids need to grow up with dogs it’s so natural.

  45. Jessica says:

    Congratulations! Beautiful post. My husband and I had our first baby (a boy named Sterling) just last week, May 29, and are so excited for his adventures with our 1.5 yo Ridgeback, Dixie. And we look forward to reading (and watching) all about Lincoln’s adventures with Zero and Penny!

  46. Stef Luciano says:

    So happy for you…for so many reasons. And I’m crying at my desk. You are such a beautiful writer and your love for your dogs and your family is endless. You guys are very blessed and I hope to find what you have found one day. Congratulations. Your family is beautiful!

  47. divine-brownielove says:

    congratulations on your babyboy! It´s a very special time now you have a babydog and an babyboy….and for sure Ms Mayhem.
    Now your family is with two boys and two girls absolutely fabulous.
    Always remember Eko with lots of love…and send you all kisses

  48. JenM says:

    Amazing! Such a wonderful story! Congrats!

  49. MaryAnn Traylor says:

    How wonderful, Will! What a beautiful tribute to Echo, and a lovely start for your new family. Echo’s loss has haunted me. I have felt your pain through your beautiful writings. Now I will revel in your joy as you, Emily, Penny, Zero and baby Lincoln start a new journey together. Echo will never be forgotten. He will be remembered with joy for what you shared together, and for his part in making you the man you are today. I send congratulations to you, Emily, and the pups, and to Lincoln I send a big, “Welcome to the world! So glad you are here!”

  50. Robyn Brown says:

    Congratulations and God Bless!!! So happy for each and every one of you.

  51. Mo says:

    Hey Will,
    You are such a great journalist, you bring a warm touch of humanity to each beautiful piece of writing about human and canine, so familiar to all of us who have loved and lost. Congratulations to you and your wife on the birth of your son and thanks for sharing your world which we all can empathise with,
    Mo (Aberdeen) Scotland

  52. ripark85 says:

    Congratulations on a healthy boy! You’ve lost a part of your life, but looks like life is on your side… it brought you two beautiful presents! Always a pleasure reading your stories.

  53. Abbie says:

    Congratulations! Also this was beautifully written as always. I felt everything along side you as I read this. I don’t know how to say what I’m feeling right now, but I’m so glad that you have such a wonderful family around you who understood what you needed after Eko’s death. Thank you for being so open and vulnerable with us; it’s nice to know we aren’t alone in our grieving for pets. ❤️

  54. Mary says:

    How awesome Will. Many blessings to all of you. I bet you can’t wait for the next adventures! It’s going to be amazing.

    Eko would be proud of you!

  55. Jaclyn says:

    Congratulations to you’re new little addition! My husband and I have been following your instagram and blog since before we got our ridgeback 2 and a half years ago and still love seeing the antics they get into. Seeing Just this past Sunday we too welcomed our first child into our family. We’ve made sure to include Duke in every family change before her arrival. I believe the night before going into labor Duke knew something was happening and watching him meet our daughter for the first time yesterday was a funny and fantastic site. We can’t wait for them to grow up as best friends as I’m sure you are with Lincoln, penny and zero. Wishing you guys the best through this new adventure!

  56. Ingrid says:

    Congratulations! Lovely post that brought tears to my eyes

  57. Shalini says:

    Congratulations and wishing you, Emily, baby, and pups SO much happiness!!

  58. Dianna says:

    Congrats! You did well in keeping the secret. I follow you super closely and much like Eko’s death was a severe shock, this new announcement was a wonderful shock!! I’m so happy for all four + one of you!!! God bless! Xxx

  59. Rachel Hopple says:

    Absolutely gut wrenching AND beautiful. Saving this for my files of beloved writings!

  60. Aled says:

    Great story. I’ve long followed your adventures, which has inspired me to take the plunge and get my first Ridgeback, due to arrive in 4 weeks.. as for a baby – that adventure is yet to come!
    Congratulations to you all on the birth of your son, and I look forward to following your future adventures.

  61. Incredible story. It couldn’t have happened any other way! Perfection. Well done, Eko. Of course I know he had a paw in this every step of the way.

  62. Kali, Max, and the rest of the pack says:

    Congratulations to your whole family Will,
    A very moving post.
    Was wondering if the absence of posts was due to some other event…

  63. The healing power of a pup can be quite potent indeed. Thank you!

  64. Thank you! Hope they were good tears, because mine have been.

  65. I’ve no doubt these three will become as thick as thieves in no time.

  66. Thanks! Emily also says I’m not allowed to crate train him, but we’ll see…

  67. Thank you! I recently began to think about what this blog was/is/will be, and my hope is that it’s exactly that – a legacy for my children to better understand me, Emily and our family.

  68. I don’t beat her at much but I have her by a mile in that department! Lincoln undoubtedly has the best company a pup…er I mean kid… could ask for.

  69. Oh yes, plenty more adventures to share just as soon as we all get a bit more sleep!

  70. Thanks! Both he and I are lucky to have the pups to keep an eye on us.

  71. Oh yes, plenty more adventures and stories to share in that department. Should be a lot of fun.

  72. Often short on answers, but never short on love.

  73. Sheelah Gullion says:

    Your post ripped open the patched cover on my grief and made me sob as though my own ridgeback, Zulu, my soulmate, had only just gone, even though it’s almost 2 years now. It brought back all those bleak first days, weeks, months, when I felt robbed and like I had a gaping wound that I nursed and kept hidden from all but my spouse. I have another ridgeback now, too, and I love him and it did help. I’ll probably never feel the same way about another dog as I did about Zulu, and I’m okay with that now. More than okay.

  74. Thanks for all your kind words! And I’m right there with you, love lives on in those we share it with. I carry Eko in my heart, so the love I give to Lincoln carries Eko with it.

    Glad we could help you in some small way on your own journey. Enjoy that new puppy smell and don’t forget to take a lot of photos, they grow way too fast.

  75. Thanks! Lincoln certainly got my hair, no doubt about that one

  76. Figure Lincoln counts as a pretty good excuse for missing a post or two! Thank you, looking forward to sharing many adventures to come.

  77. Thanks so much! The next video should be a lot of fun, just need to keep my eyes open long enough to edit it! I’m hoping I’ll be able to post one by next week.

  78. Thank you! It’s been a long road to get here and we’re excited to find out where it leads.

  79. We each suffer and grieve and lose, it’s inevitable. What’s not inevitable is finding the courage to risk our hearts again, and again, and again. I’m fortunate to have had so much support in finding that courage, and I’m happy to hear that in some small way I’ve been about to pass on that support to you.

  80. Thank you! While I may not know much, I have a great team at my back.

  81. Thanks for all the kind words! I find myself best when sharing my story with others, so I really appreciate you taking the time to read.

  82. Thanks so much! We each have the opportunity to discover and rediscover ourselves each day. I’m very fortunate to have had incredible people and dogs help me make the most of that opportunity.

  83. Quite the circus we’ve got going on over here, but we’re loving every minute of it.

  84. Well said! We’re excited to see where this new adventure takes us.

  85. Thank you for taking the time to read. The empathy I’ve discovered through this blog has been an incredible source of strength through both good times and bad.

  86. There’s so much we can’t control in life, but we can always choose to put more love into the world. Despite the cost, I’m glad I made that choice.

  87. I too am often at a loss for words, but thanks to family, friends and everyone I’ve connected to here – I’m never at a loss for love and kindness.

  88. Thank you! Looks like we’re in this adventure together. Every kid should be so lucky to have a doting pup as their sibling.

  89. Thank you – hope they were the good kind!

  90. This blog certainly earned a joyful surprise and I’m so happy I got to share it.

  91. Thank you, glad you liked it!

  92. Awesome – glad we could help inspire you to join the Ridgeback club! You’re going to have a great adventure – don’t forget to take a lot of photos.

  93. That is certain if for no other reason that I would have totally bungled things if left to my own devices.

  94. A very happy (if a bit sleepless) absence. You and Kali were in on the secret before most!

  95. All you want is your dog, but eventually you realize you’ll never get them back. And that’s a good thing. Because it means what you shared was truly irreplaceable and impossible to copy. There will never be another Eko or Zulu, but there will always be new dogs and new adventures worthy of our love. We just have to find the courage to risk our hearts again.

  96. Couldn’t agree more! Lincoln is lucky to have this wild pair to look up to.

  97. So we’re in this together! Lincoln and Sterling are lucky to have good role models to look up to.

  98. Thank you! It was a long road to get here but we’re so excited to see where it leads us.

  99. Thank you so much! I hope this blog will be an archive I can pass on to my children to better understand where we came from.

  100. Thank you! I may have to include a “possible cry inducing” tag on future posts.

  101. We’re looking forward to years of glorious romping with Lincoln and his four-legged siblings.

  102. The best friends and nannies a kid could ask for.

  103. The kindest gift we can give our beloved pets after they leave this plain is to remember them in love, and share their beloved blankets, toys, and dishes with other pets (or other humans, in the case of the freshly laundered blanket). It took me a long time to get to this point myself. Your post reminded me of why I do the work I do in animal rescue, and why it matters so much to remember that our loved ones always live in our hearts.

  104. Rose says:

    Congrats Will and Emily! What do Penny and Zero think of the new bundle?

  105. Kathy says:

    Maybe you could give Lincoln Ecko for his middle name.
    Congratulations to all of you.

  106. Barbara Suess says:


    Congratulations to you and Emily!!! He is adorable!!! Hopefully, Lincoln’s middle name is Echo; as a tribute. I wish you all nothing but love and happiness in your future. I am sure Aunt Penny and Uncle Zero will be great care givers and eager face washers!!!


  107. Shirley Andonie says:

    Well somebody sure is good at keeping secrets! What a wonderful surprise. Your writing is always so moving. Congratulations to you, Emily, Penny & Zero. Welcome little Lincoln!

  108. René L. Hester says:

    OMG ~ Congratulations Will & Emily!!! Lincoln – love the name, powerful & majestic. Just like your writing.
    You really know how write Will. Can’t wait for the book! When my eyes filled with tears reading about your loving words and memories of Eko, deep down I was thinking about how selfless it is of you to share your life so openly. So, thank you. And, then the tears streamed down again with happiness in the birth of your son, Lincoln. For a man to be so in touch with his feelings and able to share in words and loving gestures, is such an admirable trait that is missing a lot in this world. You are going to make a fantastic father and just from the insights to how supportive and caring Emily is ~ of course, she’ll be a wonderful mother. Congratulations again on the beautiful addition to your family and I look forward to reading the stories of your happy, growing family!

  109. Margaret Cinninger says:

    Congratulations on Lincoln and Zero becoming part of your family! I look forward to more shared adventures, and I know your two fur babies and precious new baby son are very fortunate to have such loving parents! Eko will always be your most incredible and wonderful dog, and he will keep his place in your heart and soul. The connection you shared is a rarity. He had the best dog life possible with you, albeit too short even in dog years. I believe he not only helped you through a rough time in life initially but also prepared you for more joy to come.

  110. Kismet says:

    Will, I hate to break this to you. Get a DNA test on the baby. It can’t be yours. The baby doesn’t have a ridge on its back.

  111. That’s an incredible story, and a true testament to the power of risking your heart despite circumstance. It’s not easy, but the worthwhile things in life rarely are. Best of luck to you, Tony, Koda and the newest addition!

  112. Thank you! The tide certainly ebbs and flows, with so many things we can’t control. But we can always choose to give ourselves to the present moment – that’s where we find that balance.

  113. Lincoln probably thought it was a thunderstorm with how I was sobbing after wrapping him in that blanket! Zero and Penny are definitely up to the task and can’t wait to chase their new pal around.

  114. I’ve done the research, in humans it can take some time for the ridge/mohawk to appear. It often happens when the mother has turned her back and left the father/baby alone with clippers nearby.

  115. Completely agree. And there’s no better way to honor Eko’s legacy than to continue to live joyfully and accept the risks of an open heart.

  116. Thanks so much for all the kind words! If I can live up to half of them I think Lincoln is in good hands.

  117. Thanks! Always great to share a joyful surprise when least expected.

  118. Well said. Our impulse is to hoard and protect, but eventually we realize there is no better expression of love than to be given freely.

  119. Jo Rhodes says:

    It’s funny every time I am missing Eko something fierce and I decide I’m going to write you about it you drop a bomb. I have to forgive you for being away so long because you really were busy. Give thanks for Emily everyday she is the best dog! I can’t think of a higher compliment. Phenomenal, fantastic, perfect all seem to fall short in describing her. We are so grateful you have each other.
    And , Umm, that new puppy has no hair! What’s with his ears? Congratulations! The hair,ridge and ears will grow in right?
    Oh. My. Don’t look now I think you just became the alpha.
    Restful snoozes, Jo, Sam and Dean

  120. Fran says:

    Will and Emily, i keep reading Wills beautifly written blog and i say you have the most perfect family. Eko is watching all of you from Heaven and Lincokn is perfect. So beautiful and thank you for letting Lincoln grow up with pups. Someone o know gave their pup away after Eli was born. I dont understand that, a boy needs a pup. You have a beautiful wife,child,pups Will and kids grow so fast just like the pups, embrace it. I love you all. Oh by the way, Eko would be proud of you and Eko loves Lincoln too. Congrats again. Much love to a family far away.

  121. Ellen Quilty says:

    Wow!That is such wonderful news!What a beautiful baby Lincoln is and lucky too to have you and Emily as parents and Zero and Penny as doting godparents.I must admit I was worried last week when we didn’t hear from you but I see now that you were otherwise engaged!Congratulations to all of you.

  122. Joanne says:

    Congratulations and best wishes on the birth of Lincoln!
    Look forward to reading the blog even more now

  123. “Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.” What a wonderful example of this aphorism. Thank you.

  124. Saba Imru says:

    Your writing is so beautiful and touching, as are your photos. As a person who loves dogs I am in awe at how you convey the love we have for our furry best friends. Congratulations to you and your wife for your wonderful little boy. He is lucky to have such parents!

  125. Connie Taylor says:

    Will, you are always telling new puppy owners to take lots of photos of their new “kids” because they grow and change so fast. My sister came up with the idea to have someone take a photo of her grandson everyday and when he turned one she had a chronological book made of Liam’s first year that will be given to him on his 18th birthday. Just think of all the great photos you can have including Penny and Zero for Lincoln’s book. Again, congrats to all of you and I’m also wondering how Doc and Auggie will react to the latest addition to their family.

  126. wow! This post had me sobbing! My other half and I met walking our puppies over a decade ago. They both passed away in the last 2 years and such a hard experience. It was the passing of an era. My heart has never hurt so bad. We ended up getting 2 goats and a puppy to fill the void I was feeling. And we are still looking for one more puppy.
    Congrats on your baby! We have 3 kiddos and we had different reactions with finding out about each one of them, life is always changing, we always seemed to find out I was pregnant during tough times but they are all blessings and I love them all so very much!

  127. Laurie says:

    So my story is the reverse. I first had all of my children and then we added pups to the mix of a busy family with young children but the story of the children growing up was as interwoven with those pups as the threads of a blanket so that when the pups passed of old age it tugged at my heart as if losing the pups was like losing a part of my kids childhood. I remembered my daughter teaching each new trick after watching Good Dog University on Saturday mornings. My youngest announcing the German Shepherd’s name as Brissa as if he had met her already in another life and that was the only name she could carry and allowing the dogs to use their good scents to follow the kids trail in the woods to help me locate my wild things as they play. I cried the most after their passing because I felt the beginning of the emptying of my nest. But like you, I have filled it back up with the unconditional love of new pups and the memories my older kids will build with these hounds. And interestingly enough. ..a stranger on the internet with his own set of Hounds help me see the joy of pups while mine I was so desperately missing mine. Enjoy the memories you build with your family of babes and pups…it’s a beautiful future for sure!!!

  128. Thank you! Lincoln’s keeping us all, human and pup alike, quite busy – but we’re having a blast.

  129. Turns out being new parents keeps you just a tad busy! Luckily we’re starting to settle into the new routine and should have plenty more adventures to share.

  130. Thanks so much for the high compliment!

  131. I’m snapping away furiously, knowing Lincoln too will grow faster than I can click. But we’ll definitely have plenty of photos for a timelapse collage.

  132. Few things can endure life’s hardships, but we’re fortunate love is one of those things.

  133. Thanks so much for sharing your story and your kind words. Another reminder of how our dogs help us know ourselves and our families.

  134. Heartbreaking and beautiful.

  135. Beautiful as always Will and CONGRATULATIONS to you and Emily!!!!!! Oh the joy and wonders that are coming your way. So thrilled for you all!
    Luvs to you all!!!
    Marty’s Mom

  136. Yvette Mattison Bray says:

    Beautiful story ! Congradulations to “ALL”
    Of you! May God Bless & keep His loving, protective arms around you & yours. ❤️ ☺️

  137. Nicole Chapman says:

    Hi Will, I’m so happy for you! I have two Ridgebacks (mother, age 10, and son, 6) and two college aged kids. Your blog and videos always make me laugh, smile or cry. You have become my go-to online resource to escape political news. Thank you and congratulations!

  138. Thanks so much for the kind words and encouragement – both are always appreciated!

  139. Your son is so cute! Congratulations to you and Emily! (and to Zero and Penny too).

  140. fivesc says:

    I’m not a dog-lover. But let me explain that. I like dogs well enough. At a distance. No touching, no licking, no frolicking. With me. But. I am the wife of a man and mother of 3 children who love dogs. So what do we have? A bull mastiff mixed with rottweiler mixed with something else who goes by the children-named ‘Buddy’ (when their parents thought ‘Klingon’ would have been more suitable), an adorable little lady Jack Russell named Ms. Zena (daughter’s purposeful misspelling of the Warrior Princess Xena) and Caramel, another pup who has long outgrown Zena and whose antecedents we cannot determine.
    I say all of this to say that your story touched me and I think it’s great that your family (babies and all) will grow and play together. Enjoy them with a FULL heart and tear filled eyes. Time passes quickly

  141. Thanks so much for the encouragement and kindness – we all need plenty of both on our journeys.

  142. youtopia says:

    heart touching post!!

  143. You have such a deep and feeling soul, and your words convey so much of the roller coaster of grief and joy intermixed,

    Your son is adorable and will grow up to be as compassionate and caring as you and Emily. He has two wonderful parents and the most amazing “nannies” in the world: Penny and Zero!

  144. T&S says:

    What a story. Emily is a really great wife

  145. Thank you! We’re hoping he gets Emily’s intelligence, Zero’s friendliness, Penny’s will and my…hair I guess?

  146. I think so, but I might be a tad biased.

  147. Sam says:

    Congratulations, Will and Emily!
    We are so happy for you! You will be both terrific parents and Penny and Zero will be great protectors, companions, and friends to your son.

    Sam, Breanne, and Senna

  148. **Emily for person of the year!**

    Congratulations to you both on the birth of your son. You have everything you need to be amazing parents. It will be the hardest and the most amazing thing you’ll ever do. xo

  149. ….June 4th? That’s my son’s birthday too.

  150. Thank you! Things are shaping up nicely on that front, and I imagine the bond will only strengthen once crumbs start falling off the high chair.

  151. She has my vote for sure! Thanks so much.

  152. Elyse says:

    What a wonderful story of heartbreak and love. Emily really is the best.

  153. Beautifully written! The loss of a dog is such a relentless grief!

  154. I felt this with every fibre of my being! I lost my boy recently and I have his things in a box and I never want to let them go. My foster puppy dug out one of his toys and it was hard not to snatch it away and put it somewhere safe. Sorry for your loss but I hope a puppy and baby will bring you joy.

  155. smololive says:

    Very heart touching…….

  156. Enigmatic says:

    What a lovely post and very heart touching indeed!! Loved it aloootttttt❤

  157. This is so touching. . . you found hope through the pain. Thank you for sharing. . . tears of joy x

  158. Kait McGuire says:

    Pups are the best medicine. After my Taz passed away, my other dog was waiting at the front door everyday and she refused to eat. We just had to get another dog even though we felt we were moving too fast. But after we did he was a good distraction for her and she looked a little more propped up everyday.

  159. Kait McGuire says:

    Also this post was very touching to me. Congratulations on everything!!

  160. […] Next to me, a round-headed puppy with an orange collar nestled himself in Emily’s lap, cozying up against our unborn son. A puppy and a baby? That’s a journey requiring a brand of bravery many would call madness. But as we drove through the snow back to Chicago I couldn’t have been more certain I needed to start a new story. For myself, and for my son. […]

  161. https://www.facebook.com/HousewithaHeart/photos/a.10152015745617147.1073741828.107384687146/10156039353492147/?type=3&theater
    House with a Heart is a senior dog sanctuary in Gaithersburg, MD Their post “a dog’s last will and testament” touches my heart every time I read it. I know my rescue dogs all felt the same way

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