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Remembering Ourselves Through Dogs

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We forget almost everything. Life is singular and precious, but it is too expansive for our minds to hold in its entirety. We relinquish rote, routine and unremarkable memories willingly, hoping to save space for the occasions we cherish most. But the pernicious flaw of recollection is that we cannot always choose the moments we keep.

So if memories are an imperfect inheritance from ourselves, how can we invest our fortunes today so that despite what we lose, our minds and hearts may be richer tomorrow?
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[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!

[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] Just A Dog

We have precious few moments on this earth. Why do so many of us choose to spend so many of those moments with “just a dog?”

I suspect we share many of the same answers, while each having our own reasons.

This is my story. What’s yours?

Our Most Ambitious Road Trip Yet

Eko and Penny are both seasoned roadtrippers. Which is good, because I think we’re all in for our most interesting ride yet.

Emily only has a few days off, so she’s flying straight to NJ from work. But my brother and Doc are going to ride with us. I would now like to express my train of thought via a series of Doc’s facial expressions.

“Great, we’ll have someone to share the ride with!”

“Wait a second…if my math’s correct…”

“…the backseat will be quite cozy.”

“I’m a little nervous.”

“But fortune favors the bold. Time to face the rising sun and set sail!”

Safe travels to all our fellow holiday adventurers. We’ll catch up with everyone tomorrow from the east coast.

Family Road Trip

Emily’s on vacation and we have a wedding this weekend in NYC, so we figured it would be the perfect time for a trip back home to New Jersey.
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Yes, it would be nice to fly. But thankfully we’ve become expert road trippers so the ride isn’t too bad

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Unlike most vacationers, we got all our flying done before we left

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I gave Eko and Penny plenty of time to fly on back-to-back beach days

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Now they’re exhausted

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And content to relax in the back of the car with a good antler

We’re spending our first few nights at Emily’s parent’s place, which the pups love because it has a fenced-in backyard where they can romp all day. But first thing first, Eko and Penny are tired out and our bags are packed…

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We’re out of here!

Catch you guys tomorrow from the east coast.

The Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Cities

Vacations are adventures and there’s no better adventure companion than a pup. That’s why an increasing number of people decide to bring their pup along for the ride on the next family vacation.

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I’ve been lucky enough to visit some of the best pet-friendly cities across the country with Eko by my side. The good news is that no matter where you live there’s likely an awesome pet-friendly vacation city not too far away.

With summer vacation season getting into swing, I wanted to share a few of my favorite dog-friendly destinations. (You can find more photos/info from our trip to each city by clicking on that city’s header)

Austin, Texas 

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Our visit to Austin gave us plenty of reasons to smile

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And there were delicious treats for all species at Decker Creek Bed and Breakfast (and Biscuit) 

Whatever your speed, Austin has a scene for you and your pup. Zilker Park features both off-leash areas and leashed walking paths. If you’re feeling bold, you can also rent a canoe with your pup at Zilker and explore the river. Or take a short ride out of the city to run on some beautiful off-leash trails.

After a day of fun, grab dinner at any one of Austin’s many pet-friendly patios on 6th Street.

San Diego, California 

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Hang twenty!

Beach bums, look no further than San Diego for the best dog-friendly vacation. We found a very reasonably priced rental house a few blocks from the dog beach. Forget walks around the block, Eko got to hit the beach three times a day.

And no, surfing with your pup is not a requirement, but it is a whole lot of fun. Wherever you visit, I also recommend looking up local event listings, that’s how Eko got to try lure coursing while in San Diego.

Charleston, South Carolina 

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Paddling for two 

Charleston is a gorgeous city to walk through. So much so that Eko and I went on walking tours both during the day and at night. In between we stayed at a beautiful pet-friendly B&B, went on a plantation tour and went for a little kayak trip up the coast.

San Francisco, California 

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Dog-park with a view

It’s tough to beat the view from San Francisco’s dog park/beach nestled in between the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. When you’re done playing, hop aboard one of the famous (and dog-friendly) trolleys for a ride.

Packed with dog-friendly destinations both within the city and amazing hikes just outside it, San Francisco offers plenty of fun for a pup.

Portland, Maine 

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The food at Inn by the Sea in Maine is so good for all species that I wasn’t sure which treat was mine

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Traveling with your dog isn’t just for the summer. Eko and I visited Maine in December and it was one of our best stops of the year

St. Louis, Missouri 

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Living like a King in St. Louis

When it comes to dog-friendly events, St. Louis can’t be beat. Both the Beggin’ Pet Parade and the St. Louis Cardinals “Pooches in the Park” are worth trips of their own. Toss in a trip to the Arch, a comfy stay at the Cheshire Inn and you have yourself a great vacation.

New Orleans, Louisiana 

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My Mardi Gras companion

Eko and I spent Mardi Gras in New Orleans, so the city was rocking. But we also stuck around afterward and really got to enjoy the quieter sides of the city too. Strutting down Bourbon Street with your pup during the day is fun, but don’t forget to check out the Garden District for some great dog-friendly dining.

Denver, Colorado 

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One day they’ll make dog-friendly tourist cut-outs for photo-ops 

Tie your shoes, adjust to the altitude and bring plenty of water. Denver is paradise for active people/dogs. Whether you prefer to stroll sprawling dog parks or want to take on a hike, Denver has it all.

Chicago, Illinois

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The Windy City will blow your hair back!

I promise I’m not playing hometown favorite on this one. Come to Chicago in the summer (definitely not the winter) to see why life is good for Second City pups. From Montrose Beach to SeaDog boat rides, Chicago has so many great destinations and activities for people and pups together.

When you visit, look for a knucklehead and two Ridgebacks at the beach and come say hi!

For the sake of keeping this post shorter than a novel, I’ll close here. But if you and your pup are making trips to Seattle, Portland, Oregon, New York City, Washington DC, Nashville or just about any other major city, there’s so much to do and see.

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 Some of the things your pup sees may confuse him

In all my travel with Eko I’ve learned two important things. One, bringing your pup along on vacation can make the trip so much more enjoyable and memorable. Two, your attitude always matters more than your destination. No matter where we went, we always found a way to have a great trip.

If you have questions about pup-friendly travel to any of the places we’ve visited, you can ask here or shoot me an email anytime at willandeko@gmail.com

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The best adventure buddy

Last summer we didn’t get to travel much since Penny was still a bit young. This summer however I’m on the lookout for a fun road trip destination. Anyone have any suggestions for us?

Penny’s First Road Trip

Today we’re on the long, straight and (fingers crossed) boring road to Chicago. This is Penny’s first big road trip so yesterday I did my best to tire her out and get her used to time in the car. Our first visit was a quick pit-stop at the vet for an exam.

Penny’s not due for vaccinations quite yet, so she just got to do the fun stuff like ride the scale and watch while Eko got his annual physical. Both older brother and little sister are in good health

Coincidentally, Emily’s hometown is about an hour from mine so for our next stop we visited Emily’s mom. Eko and Penny had a blast flying around the fenced yard.

Penny is not the least intimated by Eko. She loves instigating a good family brawl

Safe to say I am now Emily’s mom’s third favorite. But can you blame her?

While I loaded up the car last night Eko worked on his skills as a babysitter. I’m happy to report the pups are starting to bond.

Hard to believe just a few days ago that Eko wouldn’t go anywhere near Penny

Penny exhausted herself at Emily’s and slept the whole car ride home. We had another romp first thing this morning before setting off so hopefully she’ll sleep for a good portion of the trip. Penny will need all the rest she can get because Emily is dying to meet/play with her new little girl.

See you guys tomorrow from the Windy City!

Our Beggin Pet Parade Adventure

I woke up this morning, confused. Well, some would argue I wake up confused every morning, but this morning I was confused by a dull ache in my cheeks.  It wasn’t until I looked at my photos from yesterday’s Beggin Pet Parade in St. Louis that I realized the source of my discomfort. My cheeks are actually, literally, truly sore from smiling.

For about six hours yesterday a smile was plastered on my face.  In our three years of attending the parade, this year was by far the best attended and the most fun. It was so much fun to see so many people sharing the day together with their best four-legged friends.  The costumes, as always, were amazing.

We saw our usual favorites, Sky and Star

Some great classics

And some truly incredible Diva-esque dye jobs

Norv, an instagram famous pup, posed for photos and hammed it up with the crowd

For a second I thought I might have to make a call to the zoo about an escaped tiger

 

But it turned out it was just this guy with a nice paint job

Between the tiger at the parade and this bear in our hotel, there was only one thing missing…

A lion!  Eko put on his best Aslan/Mufassa impression for the parade.  He was impressive, imposing, regal….

Well, until this cute poodle realized that, unlike her, Eko was wearing a toupee

St. Louis native and Bravo star, Andy Cohen, lead the parade.  The streets were jammed packed for the march.  Eko has never felt so loved

After the parade we grabbed lunch and cheered on the Dachshunds as they competed in the annual wiener-dog races.  After an awards ceremony and some great live music, it was time to head home.  Whether by chance or by fate we happened to take a different route back to my car.  Our path brought us by a photo-op too perfect to pass up.

The King of the (Urban) Jungle.  And what does every king need?  A queen of course. 

Maybe one day Eko will get his queen, but for yesterday he was stuck with me!

I could not have hoped for a better trip or a better parade.  My cheeks will need the week to recover.  As for Eko, it looks like he’s probably going to sleep straight through til tomorrow.

While Eko snores away, I get to relive the parade and start sorting through all the video I took.  Hope my cheeks are up for the task, I should have a lot of great footage to post on Friday.

 

One More For The Road

It’s only fitting that 2013 end with a road trip, and so Eko and I are on our way home to Chicago today.  New Jersey is not exactly known for being the “great outdoors” but Eko had a nice romp in the woods to tire him out before our trip.

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On your mark…


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Get set…

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Go!

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One happy pup

Once again, Eko has somehow worked out the better end of the deal.  He’s sleeping and I’m driving.  The road awaits, catch everyone from Chicago!