[VIDEO] You Can’t Stop Penny. You Can Only Hope To Contain Her.

So here’s my question. Do you still call it “zoomies” if she’s been operating at this speed for three straight years?

Penny’s Lion King Audition

Rhodesian Ridgeback, lion king, marking our territory

While I was cleaning out my closest, Penny decided to pull her lion mane costume from its bag. It was clearly a sign she wanted to don her ancestral garb in order to show off her acting chops. Read more ›

Just What The Doc Ordered

Reunions between dogs and people get a lot of attention on YouTube, and rightly so. But I’m an equally big fan of when dogs reunite with other dogs. The immediate and unbridled excitement never fails to make me smile. Whenever she spots a friend, Penny always turns back to me like, “Do you see who I see!?!” That joyful look on Penny’s face is extra precious to me now that Eko’s gone. Being close with another dog is a critical component of Penny’s identity and health, so we’re fortunate my brother and Doc live close by. Penny is always ecstatic to see Doc, and Doc, well, Doc has learned to weather Penny’s overbearing love in much  the same way a grandchild abides a doting grandparent. Read more ›

[VIDEO] The Magic Question

Each evening, there’s only one question which can wake my blanket monster from her slumber…



An Open Invitation

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Marking Our Territory, Chicago, Montrose Dog Beach, Adventure, Instagram

The internet, and social media in particular, is taking it on the chin in the news these days. We’re told it’s responsible for intellectual-bubbles, divisiveness, and all sorts of digital tribalism.  With lines in the sand, guns drawn, and enemies on all sides, who can you trust? In my experience? Pretty much everyone with a dog.

My favorite part of this blog and my instagram account has been connecting with people from around the world. Sharing moments of joy and grief, building friendships and community, and growing together along the way. I love whenever we have the opportunity to meet the faces (both human and dog) behind the screen names and accounts we know so well. Last summer we got to meet Atlas (the handsome puppy above), Jess and Scott. Not surprisingly, Penny immediately crashed into Atlas to welcome the gangly pup to the neighborhood. The crew was back in town last weekend so we were fortunate enough to meet again on a chilly Sunday afternoon. Read more ›

Thanksgiving in Motion

Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, Marking Our Territory

On Thanksgiving morning, my mom hugged me and we both began to cry. It was the first time we’d seen each other since Eko’s death.  A hug is safety. It’s protection. It’s love. The promise of a hug is, “Stay right here and everything will be okay.”

I could have spent the rest of the day crying in that hug,  and not too long ago I might have done exactly that.  But when everything is not okay, I’ve learned you have to keep moving. So we wasted no time sharing stagnant and lifeless words of mourning for my pup. I doubt they would have been intelligible through the tears anyway. Instead, we raced Penny down the stairs to reunite with her first friend – my mom’s dog, Auggie – and headed to the beach to meet with my brother and Doc. Read more ›

Thankful For Loss

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Eko, Marking Our Territory

“Be thankful for what you have.” It’s a reminder we share this holiday, and it’s a mantra of gratitude we hope to carry with us each day. I am thankful I have all the riches money can’t buy. I’m sound of body (if not quite of mind), I’m in love, I have a wildly fun dog, and my life is filled with wonderful people and experiences.

Implicit in the call to be thankful for what we have is the idea we should not dwell on what we lack. The advice is generally sound. It’s easy to imperil today’s happiness by dreaming of some nebulous tomorrow where money or possessions or other people fill the holes in your life.

But this Thanksgiving I find myself staring at those empty expanses within myself. The temptation is to only grieve for what I lost when I lost Eko. To look at the many hollowed parts of my heart and lament I can never be whole without my puppy. Instead, I’m trying to look at these scarred spaces with the deep appreciation they deserve. Read more ›

The Mistake No Dog Makes Twice

Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Yellow Lab

Dogs, like people, are accident prone. And like us, their accidents tend to happen a number of times before they’re corrected. There’s the innocent accidents of puppy going through house-training,  and the not-so-innocent accidents of a dog who thought when you told them not to eat your shoes you were only referring to that one specific pair.

But there is one accident no dog makes twice. That mistake? Messing with Penny. Penny is a one girl wrecking crew, so normally my job at the dog beach is to make sure she minds her manners. However, every once in a while a larger dog will target Penny for some roughhousing. My guess is that they think her relatively diminutive, lean frame makes her easy pickings.  Penny quickly disabuses them of that notion. I love to photograph the moment the big dog realizes they’re in way over their head. Read more ›

[VIDEO] This Is Where We Start

I’ve asked myself countless times how to rebuild  after Eko’s death left me in ruins. The first answer was – “I can’t.”  My pillars of joy and laughter crumbled and my foundation of love cracked. The immense rubble of all I’d built with Eko overwhelmed me. The task of salvaging myself seemed impossible.

But Penny needed me, so I cleared a few broken pieces to reveal the sand underneath. Each day we visit that beachhead and the joy we share there gives me the strength to clear more space in my heart. I could move mountains when I was with Eko, but now I must move mountains for him so that I may build a living legacy. Mountains are moved one stone at a time. Or even one grain of sand at a time. Luckily I have Penny to help, and my girl certainly knows how to keep sand moving.

This is where we start.

When Man’s Best Friend Loses Her Best Friend

Rhodesian Ridgeback, chicago, marking our territory

For the past month and half I’ve written about my loss, my grief and my struggle to live without Eko. But I am not alone. I have Emily, I have family, I have friends and I have so many people I connect with through the blog. I am also not alone in having difficulty adjusting to the emptiness. Penny never knew life without Eko. She tried to breastfeed from him on her first day home, and despite that mishap, they only grew closer from there.  Looking back, I’m pretty sure the longest Penny was ever apart from Eko was the day she was spayed. Even then she was sedated/anesthetized for most of that time.

I was the Sun, Eko was the Earth and Penny was the Moon. They both orbited around me, but with Penny always in a tight orbit around her big brother. Read more ›