The Dog I Loved Least

I never saw Eko die. I never saw him grow old and gray. I saw him bounding joyfully towards me across the beach one day and then I never saw him again.

So even though tomorrow marks a year since he’s been gone, a part of me still looks for Eko. My dogs and my newborn son have unknowingly been recruited to the search party. Lincoln’s fussing wakes us in the early morning darkness and I load the rescue team into the car.

Penny and Zero race into the pre-dawn haze blanketing the beach. If he’s out there, they’ll find him. Lincoln rests snugly on my chest and we walk quietly along the water. I watch my dogs who are here and wait for the one who is not.

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[VIDEO] From Wild to Mild

I love watching Penny and Zero cut loose at the beach or wrestle across our carpet, but with a new baby in town I’ve needed my guys to learn how to slow down around Lincoln. Luckily they’ve proven themselves to be excellent and doting big siblings.

[VIDEO] Vermont Vacation

Sure, it might have been easier to go on vacation without my dogs, but it would have been a whole lot less fun!

Running with Ghosts

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. Just as I remember them.

I spent yesterday driving and I owe tomorrow to the road. But before I pay that debt I have these precious moments alone.

Penny and Zero are with me, but I have always considered my dogs a part of myself. The nameless part I can never share with another person. Not because I lack the will, but because in any attempt to translate it – through word or deed – its truth is lost.

So I silently share this truth with my dogs as we stand in the rain and look down the path leading into the trees. I am here in search of ghosts, but not the Revolutionary War specters many say walk these woods. I am here to commune with a boy and his puppy.

I gather myself, dogs and all, and run into the darkness.

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[UPDATE] Summer Vacation

Our bags are packed, and we’re off! Well, some of us are. By the time you read this, Penny, Zero and I will have snuck out in the morning darkness to hit the road east. (And not because we’re deadbeats.) In the infinite naivete of first-time parents, Emily and I decided to take a vacation to Vermont with our six-week-old. The dogs and I are the pack-mules, traveling over land, while Emily and Lincoln serve as our air(line) reinforcements. Eighteen hours of driving vs two hours of flying with a newborn. Pretty much a toss up.

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[VIDEO] The Greatest Miscarriage of Justice in the History of Dog Shows

I hope the AKC has a good lawyer. We’re ready to take our case all the way to the Supreme Court if need be.

A Boy and a Dog. A Dog and a Boy

The morning after Eko died, Emily told me she was pregnant.

I can only imagine what my reaction to the news might have been the day before, but at that moment I felt nothing.

I wanted to cheer, but I could find no joy within me. I wanted to cry, but I had shed all my tears for Eko. I loosed every valve in my heart, hoping to give the moment the love it deserved, but there was simply no lifeblood left to pump through it.

I was an empty man.

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[VIDEO] Zero’s First Dog Show

We had a week packed with Ridgeback reunions which culminated with Zero entered in his first ever dog show. I think he may have misheard it as “dog showoff” but either way we had a great time catching up with his littermates and learning the ropes.

Running Wild

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Lure Coursing, Marking Our Territory

Dogs are wonderfully domesticated pets. My two easily adapt to life in a modern metropolitan city.  But inside every dog is a primal switch.  If you’ve ever seen it flipped – in a bloodhound following a scent, a bird dog pointing like an arrow, or a cattle dog herding – you know how incredible it is to watch that instinct at work.

Largely due to Penny’s reputation, we haven’t had any lions in the Chicago area recently. Thankfully there is another way for my guys to embrace their inner hunter. Lure coursing is a dog sport where sighthounds chase a mechanically operated “bunny” around a set course. We attended a coursing trial in Indiana over the weekend, and as expected, Penny ran wild. (I have some video of her run I’ll share in a future post.) Since he’s only six-months old (allegedly) Zero only ran a short-course. He chased the lure, but he also chased a butterfly and pretty much anything else that moved. He had quite the time galavanting across the field. Read more ›

[VIDEO] Zero’s First Swim Lesson

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for being allergic to water, but that’s nothing a bit of fun and encouragement can’t cure!