The Dog Who Means Nothing to Me

Last Thanksgiving my family gathered in Chicago and we lifted our glasses to the memory of Eko – the dog who meant everything to me. That same evening, at the top of a winding dirt driveway in Michigan, a dog who meant nothing to me was born.

For five transformative years I spent nearly every moment with Eko. He shepherded me through one of the most uncertain and tumultuous times of my life. I hammered and tempered and reforged my soul under the guidance of my puppy.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without Eko. More importantly, I wouldn’t be who I am. So without Eko, I wasn’t sure who I was anymore. I lost my compass when I lost Eko, but this aching emptiness will be my guide, I wrote.

After years of speaking with a full heart I had to learn to listen with an empty one. I spent each day trying to replace what I lost, but when I lay my head down to sleep and tapped my heart it still rang hollow.

Those empty reverberations led me up a dirt driveway in Michigan one wintry January afternoon. I didn’t want to be there but I had nowhere else left to go. I needed help to find my way again.

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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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[VIDEO] The Measure of A Puppy and A Baby

Sure, measuring growth and change in height and weight is nice. But I find a study in contrasts to be a lot more fun! Lincoln still has plenty of growing left to do and *gulp* so does Zero!

[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!

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 ›

[VIDEO] Meet The New Pup!

Thanks for all the well wishes and kind words shared with our family over the past few weeks. They’ve been a fun – if a bit sleep deprived – adventure. Can’t wait to share many more.

A Puppy’s Guide to Pregnancy

Puppy, Pregnant, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chicago, Marking Our Territory

I have been on roller coasters that lasted longer than Emily’s first maternity appointment. I guess when you’re a pregnant OBGYN visiting a colleague in your own office there’s not much to chat about.

Which was good, because time is a precious resource when racing against the clock to prepare for your first child. And there are plenty of people eager to tell you how you need to spend that time. On one side there are articles titled things like The 10 Things You MUST Do Before Your Child Is Ten Minutes Old to Get Them Into A Top Ten College. While other sites feature posts like If You Do Not Deliver Your Child By Yourself, In The Woods, You Are A Terrible Person.

One of the few nearly unanimous sentiments among the disparate voices was, “DO NOT GET A PUPPY!” Even friends and family would ask, “Are you sure this is a good idea?” (As if I have ever based my actions upon the objective quality of the precipitating idea.)
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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 ›