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Learning To Walk

With the uncertain, bow-legged steps of a drunk cowboy, Lincoln teetered across the grass towards me. I waited with open-arms under a tree, my heart wavering in rhythm with each one of his steps. I willed him to make it the final few feet into my arms, but he fell short.

Link didn’t seem to mind. He laughed and rolled the last yard to where I sat. He rose with a triumphant smile, covered in sticks. The dogs gave him a victor’s welcome, complete with a massive kiss from Zero.

Who am I to say this joyful boy fell short?

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The Rhodesian Ridgeback Tigger Gene

Mary, Zero’s breeder, calls it the “Tigger gene.” But whatever you call it, Zero has some serious bounce in him. I picked up a Sony Action cam this week to help me capture the high-flying pup in action.

If you’re interested in an action cam for your dog, I highly recommend this Sony FDR – X3000.  A proliferation of competitors to GoPro has really broken the action camera market wide open.  There are more choices than ever for consumers, which is great, but the glut of options can be overwhelming. After exhaustive research I landed on the Sony not only for it’s image quality, but also for it’s unrivaled image stabilization. If like me, your camera will be bouncing around (or on top of) your dog, the Sony gives you by far the smoothest video possible.

[VIDEO] Spring in Chicago?

Next week has to be our week, right?

A Vow to Accept Me. A Vow to Accept My Dogs.

“Our anniversary is coming up.”

“Oh, right.“ Emily replied. “April…26th?”

“It’s the 24th this year!” I chided with mock outrage, neglecting to mention I peeked at the framed wedding invitation in our kitchen for the answer.

I’m certainly in no position to comment on the finer details of matrimony. When it was time to select a wedding band for myself I opted for a $20 tungsten ring from Amazon. I added it to an order of dog treats and forgot about it until the week of our wedding. At which point I realized that in my haste to give Eko and Penny their new snacks I had thrown out my ring with the shipping box. Read more ›

[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.

[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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