The Things Worth Leaving Behind

marking our territory, rhodesian ridgeback, eko

It used to be easy to pack my car. When it was just Eko and me, even when we lived on the road for a year, the trunk was never full and the cabin was always spacious. I could afford to be thoughtless about the bags I carried because I was never forced to leave anything behind.

A marriage, a child, and two dogs later – the question is no longer can we fit everything, but can we even fit everyone? With each subsequent road trip, solving the puzzle of how to squeeze the sum of my life into a single vehicle grows ever more challenging.

Looking back on our summer of travel there was a simple answer. Leave Penny and Zero behind. Place them in the safe hands of family or trusted boarder and go on the journey without them. Vacations would be so much easier and less time-consuming. All it would cost is a week away from the dogs.

And is bringing the dogs really worth leaving most of my own bags? Is it worth the discomfort of a fifteen hour drive each way? Is it worth limiting where we can go and where we’re welcome to stay?

Despite the increasing complexities of life, the answer to each question remains an unequivocal “Yes.”

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[VIDEO] A Boy Raised by Rhodesian Ridgebacks

There’s no one right way to raise a dog or a kid. But I’ve found the best way for me to raise a dog and a kid is together. It’s not always easy, but the worthwhile things rarely are.

We’re off this weekend for the first of two family road trips. Hope everyone enjoys the Fourth, we’ll catch up with you when we get back.

A Fire Tended By Dogs

One year ago I held Lincoln in my arms for the first time. An ember cast forward from the bonfire of life into the tinderbox of my arms.

He was such a precarious light. His flickering breath barely perceptible against my chest. Just past the corners of my vision I felt the encroaching fear some menace in the infinite darkness of things I could not see would  extinguish this spark.

The temptation was to turn towards the darkness. To claw at it. Build a wall against it. Stand between it and my tiny light. But thankfully my dogs have taught me such attempts are futile.

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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.

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