Freestyle Dog Agility

The pups and I are lucky to live near Montrose Dog Beach, but it’s certainly possible to have too much of a good thing. If we only visit the beach, it loses a bit of it’s luster. I try to mix up our exercise as much as possible to keep the day interesting.

I recently discovered an off-leash park twenty minutes from home that offers a number of things the beach can’t.

The grass and the mud are a fun change of terrain

But more importantly…

There’s agility equipment!

Agility is a fun challenge and a great way to exercise. My original hope was to practice what Penny and I learned in our agility class, but the pups decided it would be more fun to run the course together.

And by that I mean they decided it would be more fun to wrestle their way through all the equipment

Eko did manage a couple clean jumps, but after that it looked like an episode of American Gladiators

In regular agility the dogs run up the frame. In Freestyle Agility, it’s more of a king-of-the-mountain type game

For a moment I thought Penny might remember her training and run down the ramp properly

But she quickly disabused me of that notion with her divebomb dismount

Eko followed suit

And the wild rumpus continued across the agility area

If style points and creativity decided the outcome of agility trials, I’d have two national champions

I submitted a formal application to the AKC requesting they add a “Tag Team Freestyle” category to future agility trials. What it lacks in the technique, it more than makes up for with fun.

I’m sure they’ll approve my request any day now…


Puppy Karma

Someone once told me Rhodesian Ridgebacks usually fall into one of two categories; “hunters” and “guardians.” I’m not sure how true the adage is overall but it certainly fits nicely with my two. No surprise Penny’s my “hunter” and Eko my “guardian.”

Penny may be half Eko’s size, but what she lacks in size she certainly makes up for with tenacity. She’s a banner model for the “size of the fight in the dog” side of the old phrase. 25.1

Penny’s always on the prowl. She’s the first to run to the door, first to explore a new sound and definitely first in line when treats are around


My crazy hunter even tries to hunt treats straight out of Eko’s mouth! Brave? Foolish? A bit of both I’d say

As a guardian, Eko is stoic, even tempered and sticks close by even when off-leash. Penny knows Eko’s got a calmer disposition so she feels free to antagonize him at-will.


Most of the time Eko shrugs off Penny when she’s being annoying. But every so often he likes to remind her she should be more considerate of her elders


Penny thought she could swat Eko on the head without any consequences. As you can see in her face, she realized her miscalculation


“Hey, hey, I’m supposed to be the annoying one!”




The only injury Penny sustained was to her pride


“Oh man, I got my butt kicked…”

Thankfully, Eko and Penny have never actually fought. Not even close. So that means when Eko puts Penny in her place I can sit back and giggle like a schoolboy. It’s little bit of funny karma coming full circle. And it’s a good reminder to Penny that sometimes the size of the dog in the fight does in fact count.

Maybe Penny’s learned her lesson and will stop buggi…. sorry, I couldn’t finish that sentence with a straight face. We all need someone to help us keep our feet/paws on the ground. It’s nice Eko the guardian also guards against Penny’s ego getting too big!

The biggest holiday decision for a pet

We’re up at Emily’s parents today. If you caught our video earlier this week than you know Eko and Penny have a huge strategic decision to make: how best to enjoy the fire?DSC03170-1

Like this?


Or like this?


Or probably like this!

In any event, the pups and I have an exhaustive day of research ahead of us. Ruff work, but someone’s got to do it.  We’re soaking up the last of the firelight this weekend and then it’s back on the road for us.

Enjoy the holidays, catch everyone from Chicago on Monday!

[VIDEO] A Holiday Guide for all Species

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house                                       Every creature was stirring because my mom’s hosting a party!

Man and beast alike have been pressed into service to prepare for our guests, but before I run I just want to share a simple holiday guide for all of us.

Warmth and love to all, and to all a good night!


Home: where everything and nothing changes

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – we’re on the road. For the third time in as many months the pups and I are cruising east on Route 80 towards New Jersey. The drive’s not much fun, but the reward is some great quality time with family and friends.

For me, visits home remind me how much has changed in all our lives. But at the same time I’m reminded nothing’s changed when we come together to celebrate life. Seems the pups would agree.23.1

This is how Penny and Eko spent their first meeting at my mom’s house. Despite numerous changes, every subsequent meeting on the foyer is just about the same


Home used to be a place where a couple of small mammals play-stalked each other


And now it’s a place where a herd of large mammals bite each other in the head. Ah, no place like home!


Some things change, but the location of the fireplace never does

Family, friends, food and fire await! Keep heart fellow holiday travelers, we’ll get there…eventually.

Travel safe everyone, catch you tomorrow from NJ.

The Calm Before the Storm

It looks like a bit of a winter storm is on it’s way to the area, just in time for the flurry of holiday activity. Everywhere we look people are gearing up for travel, for visitors and for festivities of one kind or another.

“Oh look, the neighbor bought a turkey, we should help him carry it…”


“Excuse me sir, out of the goodness of our hearts, and with no ulterior motives whatsoever, my sister and I would like to help you carry that turkey.”

My two turkeys and I have another long road trip on the docket tomorrow so they’ve got plenty of extra beach time in the past few days.


Extra beach time? Penny jumps for joy


Penny happily added a heavier accomplice to wrestle Eko, who was game for 2 on 1


The sand might be snow covered by the time we return, so the pups made the most of their last runs


Maybe their 2015 resolution will be to learn to not headbutt each other at full speed. Probably wishful thinking

I now have a few precious quiet moments before the holiday whirlwind kicks off. I’m excited for the trip, but I have to admit it’s nice to enjoy some holiday music on my own with two napping pups by my side. Hope everyone gets to savor a bit of quiet holiday calm too, however short it might be!


“Hey Frank, before we leave, you sure you don’t need help with that turkey?”

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


Recent photos that I particularly like


And photos like this one which I think are worth resharing


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


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


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.

Pet Pumpkin Carving Season is Here!

As far as seasons go, fall is a strong contender for the best one out there. I particularly love fall holidays like Thanksgiving and Halloween where the primary objective is to enjoy yourself. Now that fall and October are here, it’s time to get serious about being ridiculous. Despite my lack of artistic talent and hand-eye coordination I love pumpkin carving.
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My love of carving notwithstanding, Emily made Eko and I return these pumpkins last year 

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The rule is that each creature in the house gets to pick one, and only one, pumpkin

Some people think carving pumpkins is a joke, but around here it’s a serious operation.

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“Scalpel. Check.”

Say what you will about our methods, but we’ve never lost a patient.

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Halloweens of years past have been a two man (or one man/one dog, or one man/one crocodile) operation but this year we’ve got Pumpkin Penny on the team with us

In the end, my pumpkins never turn out quite as glorious as I imagine them, but it’s never not fun carving them. I’m officially on the look out for fun dog-themed pumpkin carving ideas so be sure to let me know if you have any good ones!

Can you train a dog to fix computers?

My computer has been in the shop the past couple days. When I finally heard back I was told an expensive part and an expensive repair were needed. I expect most people cave and pay, but I expect know most people are smarter than me. I on the other hand decided to buy the part myself and try to repair the computer by myself. Well, not by myself, of course – I had Eko.

“Will, do you know how to repair computers?” you ask. “Do you even understand what you’re supposed to repair?” you wonder. In response I would say, “Hey, you ask a lot of questions.”

I’ve trained Eko to play dead, so I figured I could train him to help repair my computer. 

First, we put on glasses and considered the problem. Studies show glasses make you 46% smarter

Next, we came up with a plan for the repair. I then got all the necessary tools

“Will, from the tools you’ve chosen, it’s clear you have no idea what you’re doing”

As much as I hated to admit it, Eko was right. I really had no idea what I was doing. I then gave Eko my phone and told him to call tech support.

“Will, this is not a phone. This is a banana. And I’m a dog. You’re losing it.”

Unfortunately, it turns out you CANNOT train your dog to fix your computer. What a bummer. However, your dog will watch you slam your head into the table for hours as you try to fix a computer, so there’s that.

It wasn’t pretty and I’ve got a bruised forehead, but I fixed the computer! I don’t have footage of the moment when I pressed the power button and the computer turned on, but it was pretty much exactly like the scene from The Sound of Music when Julie Andrews is dancing around in the mountains.

The computer is allllliiiive, with the sound of the internettttt

We’re back in business, baby! As nice as it is to be plugged in again, I solemnly swear to unplug and enjoy each and every day. If I forget, Eko is always happy to remind me.

ONE LAST THING!: As I’ve mentioned before, I will be transitioning the hosting of this blog over to If you could visit this post ( and leave comments on Petcentric is would be a huge help for me.

The comment system is livefyre, a popular cross-platform tool, so some of you may already have an account. Otherwise you can create an account or simply use your existing facebook/twitter/google to connect.

I want to make sure commenting remains easy and the blog looks good, so if you have any issues, criticism or feedback please let me know. Thank you for your help!!

[VIDEO] Eko’s Bed and Breakfast

Eko’s beach buddy Riley is spending the weekend at Chicago’s finest doggy Bed & Breakfast – our place! Riley was our first ever guest, so it’s only fitting that she is our last. Our apartment goes on the market on Monday, so after Riley leaves we’ll turn on the no vacancy light. It’s been a good run:

It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later. I’m sure once we find a new apartment Eko’s B&B will be back in business.

Happy weekend!