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Why I’ve Decided To Quit Blogging

It all began nearly four years ago with a boy, his pup and a dream.4.1

Eko and I set across the country together looking for adventure and blogging about it

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Over the years we’ve soared to great heights and done great things

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We’ve also done plenty of silly things. For the past year, puppy Penny joined the fun

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It’s been such a joy to share her leaps and bounds on the blog

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But after much soul searching I realized it’s time to go in a new direction. I’ve decided to quit blogging for one simple reason:

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APRIL FOOLS!!! “Oh man Eko, I bet we got a few people!”

Come on. Did you think you could get rid of me that easily? This merry band of fools rides on – see ya tomorrow!

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[VIDEO] Six Months with Puppy Penny

The pups and I are on the road to NJ for a visit home. It’s the first time we’ve been back since I got Penny – forever and no time at all ago. I’m not sure if time flies, but Penny certainly does! Here’s a look back at our time together so far.

Catch everyone from NJ next week!

New Jersey, Here we Come

Emily has a week of vacation coming up so we’re getting ready to head back home to NJ for our first visit since picking up puppy Penny.16.1

While we do have half of a reindeer team in our stable, unfortunately it’s not enough to fly us all back to NJ

Em’s flying home Saturday morning, but I’m leading the ground invasion with the pups. Unfortunately the distance between Chicago and NJ hasn’t shrunk since our last trip so we’re looking at a thirteen hour car ride.

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“Ha, you crack me up Will! Thirteen hours? Yeah right, tell me another joke.” 

Then I showed Penny the route on Google Maps.

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“Oh no. You weren’t joking. This isn’t funny at all.” 

The weather’s ugly here in Chicago the rest of the week, but to survive thirteen hours in the car I’m going to run the pups ragged at the beach, rain or shine.

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“Guys, don’t forget about me while I’m gone”

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She doesn’t know it yet, but on the other side of that ride there will be plenty of smiles like this for Penny

The last time we were in NJ Penny would fall asleep on walks before we reached the end of the block. This time around I’m excited to show her all of our favorite old haunts. Should be a lot of fun, we just have to get there first!

Tuesdays with Dutch

A couple months back my brother James and his pup Dutch moved to Chicago for law school. Well, James moved for law school, Dutch is just here to take all the tests for him. James has a jam packed Tuesday schedule so Dutch spends Tuesdays here with the gang. 15.1

Dutch, the elder statesdog of the family, had grown accustomed to his life as a solo pup

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But as I detailed in this video, Penny eventually won him over. Dutch went from actively avoiding Penny to letting the little squirt cozy right up

Dutch can’t quite put his paw on it, but something is different about that little squirt he let use him as a pillow.

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“Hey Will, do you ever get the feeling that Penny is bigger than she used to be?”

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“Eh, whatever. It’s cold and she’s comfy.”

Dutch may not be able to tell for sure, but I know that with Penny’s ever increasing size there is no way to squeeze more than two pups on the futon. This of course causes a bit of an issue since everyone wants to hang out in the same room together.

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Everyone looked to me for answers, but as usual, I had none

So Eko took matters into his own paws.

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A perfect fit. At least in Eko’s mind

I thought I would need to call the fire department and have them use the jaws of life to free Dutch, but he loved every minute of it.

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It was cold, so I guess two dog blankets is better than one!

Would Dutch be ok at my brother’s apartment for a long day? Sure, but I think he, me and my pups all prefer having Dutch romp with us!

Penny’s Hitting her Stride

Despite my best efforts to hide in Penny’s crate on Sunday morning, Emily dragged me to the Chicago Marathon starting line. It was a perfect fall morning and Em did everything short of give me a piggyback to get us across the finish line in a respectable 3:34. I was also urged on by the fact I left Penny out of her crate! I was quite proud to find her snoozing and well-behaved when I got home.

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My pops came in for the race and before watching us run he got to see all the pups romp together

One of my favorite things is watching puppies run. Their body parts don’t quite match up so their gait is usually hilarious and awkward. They can usually only run in a curving diagonal – never quite straight ahead.

Eko had an extensive awkward puppy phase where his gangly butt would build up a head of steam running and then crash when he tried to stop because his legs got tangled on themselves.  Penny seems to have avoided that phase and she’s really starting to develop her form.

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At the beach I captured a side by side comparison of the two pups running in stride

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As you can see, the gait is nearly identical

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Paw, head and tail placement all matched

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Even their ears pop up at the same time!

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“I shall call her… mini-me!”

13.7Eko’s got the stride-length advantage, but I don’t think he’ll be outrunning Penny for much longer

As for me, well I won’t be out running for a while!

[VIDEO] Marathon Training with Dogs

This Sunday is the 2014 Chicago Marathon and, like it or not, I’m running. Emily agreed to marry me, so I figured I should agree to run the marathon with her as an act of solidarity for similarly grueling tasks! Luckily I had two of the best personal trainers to get me in shape.

See everyone Monday…gulp… I hope!

Check out Eko and Penny on Instagram!

True to style, I’m crashing the party and doing it well later than I should have. I’ve meant to get an instagram account going with the pups, but I only just started posting this past week. I’m already kicking myself for not starting sooner. Instagram is a fun way to aggregate all my favorite photos in a single place.8.1

I post some of my favorite older photos

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Recent photos that I particularly like

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And photos like this one which I think are worth resharing

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Filters are a fun way to breathe new style into photos. Eko looks even more dashing in black and white

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Instagram is also the perfect place to post photo I like (such as this ridiculous one) which don’t necessarily fit into a blog post

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If you have an instagram account, stop on by!

I’ve already found a few of you to follow, but if you follow our account (ekoandpenny) I’ll be sure to follow back. And if you have any good account recommendations for who I should follow just let me know.

A Friend for All Seasons

When the weather’s nice and the sun’s shining, finding four-legged friends at the park or beach is easy. But come colder and grayer days, our favorite spots to romp are often empty. I can’t even count how many times this past winter I took Eko to the park, only for him to sniff around the barren ground, bored out of his mind.7.1

The once packed beached has already emptied out

But starting this year all that’s changed. No matter the day and no matter the weather, Eko will always have a four-legged friend to play with.

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“You rang?”

It’s nice to know the days of boring trips to deserted parks are behind us.

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And the days of sibling-attacks are here to stay

I’m happy the dogs have each other to look out for.

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And have each other to use as actual lookouts

Even trips to the beach with just my two dogs and no one else can be an epic adventure.

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Complete with epic battles

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Sure, Penny’s a bit of a loudmouth, but I know Eko is glad to have her around

Eko’s always been an all-weather friend for me so I’m so glad that he now has an all-weather friend of his own. No matter what this fall/winter throw at us, there’s no doubt we’re going to have a lot of fun together!

Puppy’s First Blanket

At six months old, Penny only knows the warm sun of late spring and summer. But fall is now in full swing and Penny is getting her first taste of colder temperatures. Like all Ridgebacks before her, Penny loves heat and will do just about anything to warm up.
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Yesterday I saw poor Penny squish herself on the corner of the futon to share some of Eko’s body heat

Eko is well versed in surviving the depths of winter with the help of a few blankets (we call him the Blanket Monster for good reason) but until now Penny has never needed one. Yesterday was another first as I wrapped Penny in her first puppy-burrito. Her reaction was priceless.

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At first Penny was completely confused. I could see she was about to get up and free herself. Then it clicked…

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“Oh, that’s good.”

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Penny went from cold and shivering to cozy and snoring in about three seconds

And don’t think Eko missed out.

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“Pretty sweet deal, right sis?”

Blanket Monster and Blanket Monster Jr. have now combined forces to form Super Blanket Monster!

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Warm. Full. Happy

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I have a feeling I’m going to see a lot of this scene this fall/winter

For the past few years I have been Eko’s go-to for sharing blankets/body heat but by the looks of it I think I’ve lost my job!

[VIDEO] Our Trip to Chicago’s Best Dog Park

Yeah yeah, it’s not in Chicago, but I wish it was! The point is that if you live in Chicago you’re definitely close enough for a visit to Wolf Prairie, one of the biggest and best dog preserves I’ve ever visited. Check out the pups in action: