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Life Without A Promise

Eko and Penny, like all dogs, live in the moment. Though the circumstances of each moment change, those moments remain familiar. The moments are filled with love, adventure and a promise the pups will never lack for either. After a run along the beach, the pups follow me home tired and content, comforted by my promise.

Doc, my brother’s senior rescue, does not know that certainty in his life. He’s lived in different places with different people and he lacks the comforting reassurance of a kept promise. Doc loves my brother, but when we let Doc off-leash all bets are off.

Doc has no inclination to run away, but he certainly has the inclination to run towards everything. Not even Montrose Dog Beach is big enough to contain the eager pup, so recently we traveled to Wolf Prairie Dog Preserve to let Doc really run free.  

At the gates, Doc hesitated for a heartbeat. Then he took a deep breath

And exploded with joy!

To see Doc dash across the prairie you’d think his romp was purposeless. He randomly dove into bushes, smelled trees, rolled in long grass and zig-zagged in looping circles. But if you knew Doc’s story you’d understand that the romp was the purpose. It wasn’t the direction or the location that mattered, it was the act.

The only certainty for Doc is the present moment. And he lives in the moment in a way even more profound than my own pups.

Doc jumps exuberantly

Paddles furiously

And even when this little punk made off with his toy…

Doc couldn’t care less. He lives in serene appreciation of a moment he might never have again

I love watching Eko and Penny romp, but there is truly something special about watching Doc run free

So free that dozens of acres wasn’t enough for him! Doc somehow managed to get on the other side of the park’s fence

As they always do, Eko and Penny followed me back to the car. They enjoyed the adventure and trusted we would romp again soon. Doc, panting and muddy, trotted by my brother’s side with a big smile.

There will be plenty more romps in Doc’s future, but his posture said that if our trip to the park was his last one, he had no regrets

My brother makes the same promise of love to Doc that I make to Eko and Penny. Together they’re building a bond and Doc is learning to trust each moment will be filled with that love.

None of us is sure how many moments we have left. While Doc learns to trust there will be more, he provides a powerful reminder each passing day leaves us with fewer moments to fill and enjoy.

I’m thankful to Doc for demonstrating that the most important promise is the one we keep to the present moment.

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Having a Ball in our New Apartment

Most days I just act like a knucklehead, but yesterday I think my acting was Oscar worthy. Moving is no fun, so I plastered a fake smile on my face and used my best “happy voice” as I loaded Eko into the car for his first visit to our new digs. Dogs are master mood readers and I wanted Eko to have a positive association with the new place.

Ever the eager explorer Eko bounded up the stairs right to our door. I had already made a trip over earlier in the day so I think he followed the familiar scent. Not surprisingly, Eko’s first order of business was to visit what I suspect will become his new favorite spot.

Lots of windows means lots of sunbathing and people watching

Eko then took a trotting tour of the place and gave it a good sniff. While I unpacked, I gave Eko an old soccer ball to entertain himself with.

Eko bowed at his opponent and then the game was on

Eko pounced and romped and had a blast kicking the ball around

In no time at all the little troublemaker seemed right at homeAs I unloaded the car, Eko got his first few practice runs at being “alone” in the new place. Hopefully these smaller trips will help build up his comfort 

Eko also enjoyed exploring the fenced in back patio. It’s no backyard, but I think it will be a nice place to hang out on nicer days. It will also be a perfect place to work on training exercises with Eko’s little sister

I started the day with a fake smile, but Eko’s exuberance and excitement helped make that smile real. Scrubbing floors and lugging boxes is never fun, but I couldn’t help but smile when each trip to the top of the stairs was greeted with a wagging tail and a big dog-kiss.

I brought Eko to the new apartment to make him comfortable, but the more I think about it I think I brought him to make me comfortable too!

Sometimes You Need A Vacation From Vacation

After a beautiful weekend at a friend’s wedding, I spent all day Sunday traveling back to Chicago.  I’m always exhausted after a vacation and feel like I need at least a day of vacation from vacation in order to charge my batteries.  Turns out that feeling is not unique to humans because when I picked Eko up on Sunday night I could tell that he was absolutely whipped from his weekend with Riley.

We both trudged up the stairs to the apartment and Eko flopped immediately on to the floor while I sank into the couch.  Eventually we both managed to drag ourselves upstairs for bed.  Normally I have a strict “No dogs allowed” policy on my bed because Eko usually sleeps like a sprawled monster.  However, sometimes you just have to bend the rules.

 

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Happy to be home, Eko quietly curled up and was fast asleep before I even turned the lights out

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On most mornings Eko springs to life, ready to attack the day

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This morning, the usual enthusiasm was just a bit lacking.  From us both!

 
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Eko is currently crumpled into a ball on the couch, snoring with reckless abandon

Having fun can be hard work, and I imagine Eko will spend the rest of the day in the glorious act of doing nothing.  He will need all the rest he can get because tomorrow we leave for New Jersey.  We haven’t been home since December and Eko will need to save his energy for playtime with Scout and Dutch.

Off to unpack and then pack all over again!

 

A New Adventure With An Old Friend

Wedding season ends for me with a coast to coast itinerary over the next two weekends. Next week I will drive to New Jersey for my cousin’s wedding and Eko will of course be my faithful copilot for that trip.  But this weekend I take to the skies and travel to California for my good friend’s wedding.  Since Eko’s tux won’t be ready in time for California, he opted to stay in Chicago.

The good news is that Eko will stay with my friend Rachel and her pup, Riley – who was one of Eko’s very first friends.

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At one point Eko and Riley were the same size!

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But I think that “one point” probably lasted all of ten minutes

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Eko’s sleepover meant that I spent this morning packing each of us a bag

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And of course Eko came in with his “Hey, what’s going on here?” face

Rhodesian Ridgeback, rhodesian ridgeback photos, dog adventure, marking our territory, dog blog, dog photosWhich was quickly followed by his sad “Hey, I know what’s going on here and I don’t like it one bit!” face

This is one of those times I could really use an English-To-Dog translation device.  Even though Eko is going to have a great weekend with a great friend, he doesn’t know that so he is resigned to pouting.  With a good romp and a few treats before I go, I’m sure he won’t miss me a bit.

Well, maybe I would be ok with him missing me just a little bit!

 

Fashion Has Gone To The Dogs. And Eko Wants A Piece!

As I have mentioned before, someone at GQ Magazine definitely reads this blog and has borrowed a few fashion tips from Eko.  But really, that’s just the beginning.  The more I look around, the more I realize that dogs are taking over the world of fashion and advertising.  More brands and commercials seem to use dogs and I just read that Abercrombie and Fitch now has seven new dog models.

Then I got to wondering, what’s stopping Eko from getting in on the dog model craze? As is usually the case, the problem was me!  Eko’s got the looks and the style, he just needed a quick photo shoot to show his stuff to the world.


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Need a young professional look? Eko has you covered, he is only two and he has his own blog

 

CEO EKO

Looking for a guy who can pull off a “contemplative CEO” then Mr. Eko is the dog for you

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If you want your Spring Collection to look its best, give Eko a call

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Do you have a new line of workout clothes?  Well look no further for your next dog model

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And for tasteful/artistic shots, Eko is happy to pose in his birthday suit

Alright, I think we’re ready to rock and roll.  Next time we see a casting call for a dog model, we’ll be ready!  Now just have to figure out if there is such a thing as a casting call for dog models.  In any event, we at least learned one thing from our shoot – Eko looks better in my clothes than I do!

A Transformation Under The Full Moon

Our evening walk last week was spent under a full moon.


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The streets were quiet and Eko stared at the moon with a mischievous twinkle in his eye

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Back at home everything seemed normal…

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But then I started hearing low werewolf-like growls from Eko’s contorted body

Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog adventure, marking our territory, petcentric, rhodesian ridgeback photosHe rolled over, writing as if he was about to transform into a monster


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And then the fanged beast appeared!  Or at least it looked that way to me.

Turns out that Eko was just having one of his “sleepwalking” episodes that never fail to crack me up.  I particularly enjoy his “monster face” where on the frequent occasions Eko falls asleep upside down (no clue how that’s comfortable) his mouth droops and his “fangs” show.

Anyone else have a pup who sleeps upside down like that?

 

[VIDEO] – Dog Friendly Hiking At Starved Rock

Our trip to Starved Rock State Park provided a nice change of scenery and the views were a welcome break from the cityscape.  You can check out some of the fun from the day in this quick video I put together.

The weekend is always a welcome change of scenery from the week – hope everyone has a good one!

What Does Your Pet’s Tail Tell You?

You have to admit that at first glance tails are not exactly awe inspiring.  Anatomically, tails are just about the simplest body part around, which is why it is even more impressive just how much information our pets can convey with nothing but their tails.  I swear, Eko is more articulate with his tail than I am with my words.  Here are my top ten favorite types of tail-wag-messages that Eko sends.

1. “Where have you been all my life!?” – If I leave Eko for over a half hour, it might as well be a lifetime.  This tail wag is definitely my favorite.  He wags his tail so hard and fast that it seems to hit him on both sides of his body at the same time.  You can see him swinging his tail with reckless abandon at the beginning of the above video

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2. “Please don’t get mad!” – When Eko knows I’m upset he will run to the couch and look away from me.  He wags the bottom third of his tail very rapidly against the couch begging for forgiveness.  It’s hard to stay mad for long!

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3. “Glad you’re home, but I’m pretty tired right now” – Normally I get the royal treatment when I walk in the door, but sometimes Eko just can’t be bothered to get up.  He will lazily wag his tail in appreciation of my return but that’s all he can manage

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4. “Is what I think is about to happen about to happen!?” – If Eko gets the inkling that something good is about to happen – a walk, a trip to the park, or an incoming treat (the above photo) – he immediately sits down and remains still. Except for the very tip of his tail, he just can’t help himself and those last few inches of tail wag with anticipation

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5. “I’ll never eat the trash again, I promise!” – Once Eko knows I have forgiven him for his latest transgression he always comes over to apologize with lots of kisses.  You can also see the relief in the way he wags his tail to disperse the built up tension

6. “Am I good, or what!?” – At the very end of the above video you can see Eko’s triumphant tail wag.  He holds his tail high and shows off big time!

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7. “Shh, be wewy wewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits.” – When he spots a rabbit Eko will initially freeze.  Then his tail begins to slowly waver in excitement for the hunt.  It is at that point I know to redouble my hold on the leash

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8. “What’s that???” – Also known as “radar tail,” Eko’s tail will swing in low sweeping arcs when he is scoping out something new or trying to decide what to do next

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9. “I have no idea what’s going on.” – When Eko’s brain gets scrambled, so do the signals that go to his tail.  Meeting Emily’s niece was such mental overload for Eko that it broke his tail-control system.  His tail would erratically swing all over the place and then just stop completely

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10. “You said the magic word!!!” – If we’re home, “walk” and “hungry” are the magic words and if we’re out the magic words are “go play!”  Eko’s tail goes from 0-60 in about one second flat and then is not much more than a wagging blur

There is a way to say just about anything with a tail.  What your favorite tail-message you get from your pet?

Eko’s Unexpected Audition For The Role Of Snow White

As I mentioned in last Friday’s video, Eko gets a kick out of bobbing for tennis balls at the beach.

 

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He isn’t big on fetch but Eko gets a kick out of dropping tennis balls into the water and then snatching them back up

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rhodesian Ridgeback photos, dog adventure, marking our territory, dog blog, petcentric During the summer the dog beach is littered with tennis balls of all colors and sizes so I didn’t think much when Eko went after this red “ball.”

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rhodesian Ridgeback photos, dog adventure, marking our territory, dog blog, petcentricBut then I saw him lick his lips. “That can’t be what I think it is…” I thought

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As the gears in my brain were still turning Eko went down to retrieve his bounty

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It was an apple!  Eko literally went bobbing for apples!  I didn’t have that activity on our bucket list but I guess I will have to add it and cross it off

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Of course, Eko immediately dashed off with his prize, and the good citizens of Chicago enjoyed watching me sprint after him

Luckily Eko didn’t take a bite out of the mystery apple, but as always, his post-beach slumber was as deep as Snow White’s sleep was.  Today Eko is back to his regular role of playing Happy and I remain rightfully cast as Dopey!

How Eko Does His Part To Keep Chicago Healthy

If you’re feeling sad or down or bored, Dr. Eko is the dog to see.  He can get rid of the blues or rescue you from the doldrums in no time at all.  If however you have any other ailments, Dr. Eko recommends you head to the hospital, where you might see another recognizable face, Dr. Emily!

 

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The two doctors having one of their typical consults

However, in order to see Doctor Emily at the hospital she has to get there first, which is sometimes easier said than done.  Emily is working nights right now and it can be tough for her to adjust.  Luckily Eko is more than happy to help.  We had dinner here the other night and afterwards Emily wanted to lay on the couch for “just a minute” before work.

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As expected, one minute turned into five minutes

Five minutes nearly turned into ten minutes, so I gave Eko the signal to give Emily his patented triple-kiss-guaranteed-to-get-your-butt-up-wake-up-call.

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Emily was up, wide awake and off to work in record time.  Chicago needs its doctor and its doctor needs Eko to get her to work. Eko is more than happy to oblige!