A Birthday Celebration

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, Marking Our TerritoryLast Friday the sun bathed Chicago in a warmth that day hadn’t felt in over a hundred years. Deep in the heart of winter, a day that should have been gray and dark was blue and bright. I stepped into the morning light with Zero and Penny. In unison we embraced ancient instinct and lifted our faces to the sky.

My neighbor waved and gave a mischievous grin as he jogged past us in shorts, headed towards the beachfront path. Days like this are shared amongst Chicagoans like a joyful secret. In word and in deed we whisper, “Can you believe this?”

The answer, of course, is a resounding“No!” But that does not stop us from reveling in the unexpected gift. I set a course with the dogs for the shore of Lake Michigan. It is there, more than anywhere else in the city, where the power of days like these is felt most profoundly. Where people gather to venerate this first promise of better days ahead. We joined the eastward pilgrimage, seeking our part of that shared serenity. Read more ›

[VIDEO] Rhodesian Ridgeback Puppy School

When he’s whining, acting silly, or I just need his attention, I playfully admonish my pup by saying, “Hey Zero, you’re big for a little dog, but you’re still little for a big dog!” He’s more of a big dog and less of a small dog by the moment, but there’s still a lot for Zero to learn about this big world. And with Penny as his teacher, what could possibly go wrong?

The Most Important Lesson for a Rhodesian Ridgeback Puppy

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, chicago, lion, zero, marking our territory

There are so many things for a puppy to learn in this great big world, but where to start? For Rhodesian Ridgebacks at least, the answer is easy. Which is why I didn’t waste time telling Zero the hard truth of his existence and the dire necessity of his work. Below is the transcript of Zero’s first day on the job. Read more ›

What Does Love Look Like?

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, Sun rise

If the Valentine’s Day commercials were correct, love looks like  expensive jewelry, fancy dinners and as many roses as you can afford to buy. If the romantics are correct, love looks like a poem, a song or a thoughtful note.

I enjoy a nice dinner and a sentimental card as much as the next person, but one of the things I appreciate most about dogs is that their love is not available for purchase or persuasion. Treats and kind words are important (obviously!) but dogs remind me love is best seen in the smaller and quieter moments of each day. Love looks like the sunrise over Lake Michigan after sneaking out for a run with Penny to make sure she still gets the attention she deserves. Read more ›

[VIDEO] Penny, Meet Zero. Zero, Meet Mayhem Incarnate

Some introductions use handshakes and polite conversation, but where’s the fun in that? Penny and Zero found it much more entertaining to meet each other in paw-to-paw combat. It’s still early, but it appears Penny thinks her little bro has the mettle needed to join our crew!

Love is War

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chicago, puppy, marking our territory, penny, zeo

Valentine’s Day has many wondering the best way to a girl’s heart. Flowers? Chocolate? Well, for one particular lady, the answer is a knock-down-drag-out full on brawl. I don’t expect Penny and Zero to have the same relationship Penny and Eko had, but my hope is to help them cultivate their own brand of companionship and camaraderie. And I know the best way to do that is by encouraging my little David to battle against Goliath. Read more ›

Who is This Puppy?

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Puppy, chicago, marking our territory, zero, adventure

Who is this handsome pup? The truth is that you guys know nearly as much about Zero as I do. Our first week together was a whirlwind of late night whining, early morning wakeups and lots of pee breaks in between. (Most such breaks, I’m happy to report, occurred outside.)

Now that we’re settling into our new routine, it’s fun to learn more about his personality and disposition each day. Because while I once thought of puppies as blank slates, I know now that these guys each come prepackaged with their own unique character. Read more ›

[VIDEO] The Story of Zero

It is often difficult in life to know you’re doing the right thing. Other times, thankfully, it’s quite easy. It’s been less than a week with Zero but there’s no doubt he’s the right one for us.

Meet Zero!

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, chicago, zero, marking our territorySo remember when I said I’d be returning from my roadtrip with “a tail or two?” Well, turns out it was two! Ladies and gentlemen, this chunky puppy is no house guest or visitor. Zero, a nine-week old male Rhodesian Ridgeback, is the newest member of our family!

There are many stories and many emotions which led to this decision – all of which will be shared in good time. But on this day, and for this moment, we’ll simply savor the unmitigated joy of our big-headed wrinkle monster. Read more ›

What is Zero?

1500+ miles on the road alone with Penny over the past few days gave me plenty of time to think about nothing. I don’t mean “not thinking,” I mean “thinking about Nothing.” Nothing is Zero. It’s broke. It’s empty. It’s everything I feared.

We painstakingly build our lives, fighting against the tide to construct something meaningful. Yet in the back of our minds we know one day it will all be washed away. Our efforts are rarely engulfed by a tidal wave. They are usually victim to an encroaching surf, relentlessly lapping at the walls of our sand castles. Read more ›