The Delusions of a Man Unwilling to Admit The Size of His Puppy

Zero is only six months old. Aw, such a puppy! He’s lived with us for only four months. Aw, such a short amount of time! Not even enough time for Chicago to change seasons, so it’s nice to know I still have plenty of time to enjoy my little baby puppy. I took a few photos yesterday to capture these precious moments while he’s still not much bigger than the day we brought him home. Look, you can barely tell which of these photos was taken which day.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Puppy, Marking Our Territory, Zero

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[VIDEO] Surviving Puppy Teething

Penny’s teething was an especially tumultuous time for an especially tumultuous pup.  We survived, not unscathed, minus a few pieces of future, and are wiser from the experience. This time around with Zero we’ve used our experience, Penny’s relentlessness, and a bit of creativity to help get us all through with a few less (emotional/financial/literal) scars!

Guides Show Us How to Visit. Dogs Show Us How to Live It.

We tend to think of cities as skylines. Grand monoliths and monuments which stretch to the heavens but still conveniently fit on a postcard. Or in a selfie, as it were. We cannot possibly know an entire metropolis, so we use landmarks  to summarize  the experience. That’s why you should follow a guidebook if you want to visit a city.

But what if you want to know what it’s like to live in a city? In that case – follow a dog. Dogs are not welcome in many of the places you might visit as a tourist, but you’ll always find them at the locals’ favorite spots.  Read more ›

The Fear Period

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chicago, Puppy, Montrose Dog Beach, Marking Our Territory

I spent my last day with Eko racing across the beach while the wind and water raced around us.

It was a Thursday, just after a storm, and I had to catch a flight to a friend’s wedding a few hours later. Eko, Penny and I had the entire beach to ourselves. Most run from storms, but the beach, my dogs and my soul are most alive when we face them.

Eko’s death was a storm I could not run from and did not have the strength to face. Since that day I’ve worked to rebuild the confidence Eko gave me. The confidence to not only stand against any wind, but to run joyfully into it. Adding Zero to our family was one of the most important parts of that process, and with each trip we take to the dog beach I recover a little more of the resolve I once had.  The bond we build with Zero is forged with the strength of Eko’s love. Read more ›

An Anthropologist Studies Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Rhodesian Ridgeback, German Shorthaired Pointer, Marking Our Territory, ChicagoIn Anthropology, an ethnography is the study of a particular culture from the perspective of that group. An intrepid anthropologist embeds herself in the group in order to fully live their daily experience. Generally, the study is the anthropologist’s idea. Other times, the guy the anthropologist lives with decides to go to China for 2.5 weeks and the anthropologist needs a place to crash.  Such was the case with our visit from Dr. Doc, the involuntary ethnographer. Read more ›

Happy Birthday Miss Penny Mayhem!

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Marking Our Territory, Penny Mayhem“I want you to chase that lion.”

“No way,” says the dog.

“Count me in!” says the Ridgeback.

“Just the one?” says Penny Mayhem.

That, in essence, is the spirit of my spitfire. What qualifies as insanity for most is banality for Penny. Utter the phrase, “No dog is crazy enough to…” and Penny will do it twice, just to make sure you know the first time wasn’t a mistake. Read more ›

[VIDEO] The Mayhem Game

The world is full of rules and comprehensible chains of cause and effect. Penny somehow manages to avoid all those things. I know that, you know that, but Zero is still figuring out how to play The Mayhem Game. Makes for endless entertainment on my end!

[VIDEO] Zero’s First Week at Montrose Dog Beach

Montrose Dog Beach is undoubtedly my favorite place in Chicago to visit with the pups. When you step over the dune the city fades away behind you. It’s just you, your dog, the sand and the lake. It’s only been a week since Zero was old enough to join us, but safe to say it’s now officially his favorite place too!

Finding Ourselves at Montrose Dog Beach


Rhodesian RIdgeback, Puppy, montrose dog beach, chicago, marking our territory, zeroOver the past few years I’ve learned my dogs are the compass by which I navigate the uncertain territory of my own identity. The needle of this compass does not point outward to true north, but inward to true self. That needle led me across the continent, pointed me down the wedding aisle, lifted me to blissful heights, dragged me through hell, and showed me the way out.  That needle is love. Not the love shared between people, or even the love shared between people and dogs. That needle is my dog’s unmitigated love for the present moment.  And when I let that love guide me, there I find myself. Again. Read more ›

#ChicagoCIVDay – Why I Vaccinate My Dogs

This snowy morning I want to share a quick PSA for any Windy City locals about the recent outbreak of dog flu in the Chicago area.

Statistically speaking, it’s unlikely your dog will ever suffer from canine influenza. Statistically speaking, even if your pup does catch the flu, it’s unlikely they’ll develop serious symptoms. That’s why if you have a social dog (who goes to dog parks, classes, boarding, etc) it’s important to consider vaccinating your pup against the flu viruses. Yup, you read that right. I’m advocating vaccinating against something that will likely never affect you. Read more ›