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The Unreasonable Dog

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Lion, Marking Our Territory

How far can light travel in four years? The answer could be represented as a very long number. Simplified, the answer is four light-years. Most simply, I like to think of the answer as “Penny.”

Today Miss Penny Mayhem turns four (Earth) years old. The tendency with birthdays is to remark how fast time flies, but it seems Penny flies at relativistic speeds because no one in my family believes she’s only been with us for four trips around the sun.

Emily thought Penny must be six. My brother was certain the little wild thing (Penny, not Emily) was even older. I started to question my own sanity so we had to go back and double check the math. Despite the evidence I’m still not sure my brother is convinced. I’m only marginally more confident.

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Why I Purchased My Rhodesian Ridgebacks From A Responsible Breeder

On the day I picked up each one of my dogs I handed over a check for nearly two thousand dollars. That is a lot of money.

My decision to pay a large sum for a puppy is a contentious one amongst dog lovers. For many, a line has been drawn and anyone who does not acquire their dog from a shelter or rescue is the on the wrong side.

But I don’t see my decision to purchase my dogs from an ethical breeder as oppositional to rescue efforts, I see it as complementary to them. I think it’s worth explaining why.
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Getting Our Dogs Ready for a Baby

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, baby, chicago, marking our territory

“What if our kid is allergic to dogs!?”

Emily’s sudden question pierced the sunny serenity of a quiet Saturday morning. We sat in our front room, basking in the bright spring light, each of us with a dog in our lap. Between a growing pup and a growing belly the fit was snug for Emily and Zero, but both were quite content. Read more ›

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 ›

Testing The Waters

Rhodesian Ridgeback, montrose dog beach, chicago, marking our territory, puppy

Many Ridgebacks are water averse, but I suspect Penny Mayhem has some dolphin/Lochness Monster/kraken somewhere in her pedigree. Long before any sane dog tests the frigid water of Lake Michigan after the winter ice clears, Penny is diving in head first. In my quest to teach Zero to swim, Penny’s reckless enthusiasm for the lake has been a huge help.  At first, Zero would hastily brake anytime the water got near his toes. But he always kept on eye on his sister’s splashing. Read more ›

Puppy Physics

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, Marking Our Territory

The laws of physics govern existence with remarkable uniformity. No matter where you go in the universe you are compelled to obey those laws. Well, unless you’re a puppy. In that case, it’s significantly more enjoyable to bend the laws of nature to your whim. Zero, for instance, seems quite certain he can fly. To his credit, he’s had some success lifting off from the sandy beach runway and clearing the fence. Read more ›

Littermate Syndrome

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, chicago, marking our territory

Littermate syndrome is most commonly known as a behavioral issue that can develop if you bring home two puppies from the same litter. However, we are currently dealing with a rarer form of problem wherein people believe your three-year-old dog and your six-month-old dog must be littermates. It’s quite the understandable misunderstanding. For one thing, Penny and Zero are pretty much the exact same size now. Read more ›

The Delusions of a Man Unwilling to Admit The Size of His Puppy

Zero is only six months old. Aw, such a puppy! He’s lived with us for only four months. Aw, such a short amount of time! Not even enough time for Chicago to change seasons, so it’s nice to know I still have plenty of time to enjoy my little baby puppy. I took a few photos yesterday to capture these precious moments while he’s still not much bigger than the day we brought him home. Look, you can barely tell which of these photos was taken which day.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Puppy, Marking Our Territory, Zero

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Guides Show Us How to Visit. Dogs Show Us How to Live It.

We tend to think of cities as skylines. Grand monoliths and monuments which stretch to the heavens but still conveniently fit on a postcard. Or in a selfie, as it were. We cannot possibly know an entire metropolis, so we use landmarks  to summarize  the experience. That’s why you should follow a guidebook if you want to visit a city.

But what if you want to know what it’s like to live in a city? In that case – follow a dog. Dogs are not welcome in many of the places you might visit as a tourist, but you’ll always find them at the locals’ favorite spots.  Read more ›

The Fear Period

Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chicago, Puppy, Montrose Dog Beach, Marking Our Territory

I spent my last day with Eko racing across the beach while the wind and water raced around us.

It was a Thursday, just after a storm, and I had to catch a flight to a friend’s wedding a few hours later. Eko, Penny and I had the entire beach to ourselves. Most run from storms, but the beach, my dogs and my soul are most alive when we face them.

Eko’s death was a storm I could not run from and did not have the strength to face. Since that day I’ve worked to rebuild the confidence Eko gave me. The confidence to not only stand against any wind, but to run joyfully into it. Adding Zero to our family was one of the most important parts of that process, and with each trip we take to the dog beach I recover a little more of the resolve I once had.  The bond we build with Zero is forged with the strength of Eko’s love. Read more ›