Saturday Morning at Montrose dog Beach



We woke up early this morning planning on taking the pups to Foster Dog Beach.  However, after finding it blocked due to an event along the lake shore bike path, we headed south to Montrose beach.  We live basically in the middle of both beaches and have always chosen Foster beach over Montrose, hearing crazy stories from friends and people we’ve randomly met.  Foster is smaller and seemingly lesser known than Montrose, but Montrose has been ranked in the top 10 for dog beaches in the US by “Fido” magazine.

Montrose was actually fantastic.  The beach was huge and the beautiful early morning brought a large amount of dogs running from one side to the other.  We headed over to the less populated side to acclimate the pups to the craziness of the party.  Both Link and Eve did fantastically.  While Paul was throwing the ball to Link, Eve followed at my heels and playfully met other dogs with no signs of aggression.  Both of the pups loved the water and meeting new aquintences.  Jake, the Jack Russell/Husky mix we met yesterday walking was also at the beach today.  All in all, today was a great morning at the beach.  Tomorrow we will head there again for a Chicago dog festival.



Staying Cool

Spending the first year of their lives in Chicago, Eve and Link are going to learn many lessons about weather extremes.  Little do they know that they will soon experience a knee-high snow Chicago winter.  But they’ve already cut their teeth on some meltingly hot days in the city.  What makes it even worse is that our apartment does not have central air conditioning.  We have a window unit for the bedroom, so the four of us stay cool when we sleep.  But other than that, we cool off only with fans and splashes in the nearby Lake Michigan.

There are few things more heart-wrenching that watching a lovable pup panting desperately as they try to beat the heat.  Their kind eyes never show signs of weakness, but you know that they are struggling.

We found an interesting way to stay cool last week.  Kyle had an interview for a full-time architecture position on the west side of the city (he got the job).  We were planning on leaving the city directly after the interview; so Link, Eve, and I drove down with Kyle and waited until he finished.  It was much too warm to stay in the Tahoe, so we got out and walked to pass the time.  However, there weren’t too many grassy or shady spots in that part of the city, so were were struggling to stay relaxed during the hour down-time.

Eventually, the pups discovered the coolest solution.  In the shadow of the truck, there was a grate that took up most of the sidewalk.  The grate was directly above the Red Line subway track that runs from one side of the city to the other.  Both Eve and Link were drawn to the area, laying down on the grate until a train whizzed by underneath them.  The wind from the train was strong and refreshing…lasting about 30 seconds.  With trains coming by once ever 8 minutes or so, the three of us kept reasonably cool until the interview was finally complete.

Smart pups…


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We took a bit of a break from the blog the past week and a half.  Our computer time was limited after a long trip back to Chicago from Virginia, 5 days in Southern Illinois, and a lot of reorganizing at the apartment.

Of course that blogging break did not mean that Link and Eve stopped getting bigger and more mischievous.  In fact, they’ve gotten a bit too confident with all of their cross-country travels.

Eve in particular has gotten us a bit worried.  She’s obviously a big puppy who will grow into an even bigger adult dog.  Her size plus the fact that she is pure black (even her eyes are like midnight) makes her a scary looking beast to many creatures–including others dogs and small children.  Lately Eve has been getting a bit aggressive with those others.  While in Southern Illinois, she barked a little too much and played a little too hard for the 2 and 3 year olds who were meandering about.  And she has gotten noticeably more agitated at other dogs, particularly ones smaller than her.  During a puppy play date last night with Indy (an adorable duck-tolling retriever pup), she had to be restrained nearly the entire time.

These developments have obviously gotten us concerned.  Many  possible explanations exist, so it is way too early to make any broad assumptions about her being a naturally aggressive dog.   Link is still as easy-going as ever…willing to roll over on his belly for just about anything that moves.  So it may be simply a breed difference, with Eve coming across as particularly aggressive only when compared to Link.

She still is getting readjusted to the Chicago apartment after more than a month away.  Also, she underwent the most traumatic experience of her life earlier this week–she was spayed (more on that in a later blog post).  And in the end she is sill less than 5 months old, so she still has many different puppy cycles to go through.  We shall see how she develops these next few weeks.

Regardless, she remains the best cuddle-buddy in the entire apartment.


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In the Beemer

In Virginia, the pups were treated to real dog luxury:  the run of several grassy acres to themselves; lounging all day around a large pool, free to take a dip whenever they were hot;  their choice of soft, cool sleeping spots; all sorts of new doggie treats; and mingling with a pack of new dogs including a black lab, two chihuahuas, a chocloate lab, a westie, and several cats.

On top of all of that, we decided that we had to go on a little countryside ride with them in the BMW convertible that Kyle and his Dad fixed up while we were there.  It’s was a twenty minute trip through the Shenandoah with a stop in the middle for homemade ice cream.

I’ll say this: it was a bit nerve-wracking having the pups in the converible.  It was impossible not to think that one of them was going to just flip out at any moment.  We kept them on their leashes and held onto the leashes at all times, so the risk wasn’t too high.  But, it was hard to sit back and enjoy the feel of the rushing wind, because I kept looking back every 2 seconds to ensure they were still there.


Of course dogs love to have wind blowing back their ears, so I have no doubt they loved the full effect of riding with the top down.  But I think it’ll be a more enjoyable ride for us when they are older, more experienced, and a bit smarter.  

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Tennis Disaster

While camping the lot of us decide to leave the campsite for a nearby park to play tennis and let the dogs run.  Once we get there we realize what an idealistic imagination we have.  To start everything off, everyone wants to play with the tennis balls and rackets.  Rylee is swinging carelessly at balls rolling by, Link is collecting our balls at the far end of the court and Eve is fearful of not standing between my legs.  However, we play on.

Rylee begins to pitch a fit for attention while Link acts as a bad ball boy would, keeping the balls for himself.  Eve, like Rylee, is starved for attention and anyone who will meet eyes with her is nearly pushed over by her careening body.  Needless to say, the game goes by very slow.  We finally encourage the pups enough to sit at the net and chill out for a bit.  Looking at their faces staring at you through the net is a little distracting when serving the ball.  Peace isn’t kept long though, Eve both pees and poos in the middle or our court during the middle of our game.  After washing the court off as much as was possible, we play on.  Towards the end of the game Eve begins to attack the net.  We finally give in and head home.

Naturally both personalities came through during this game.  Link rarely stopped collecting tennis balls while Eve followed at my heels so closely I fell over her more than once.


Camping Positions, Nothing New

We spent the past week camping in Chincoteage Virginia.  Paul and I along with the two pups piled into my dads F250 pickup with both of my parents and my 2yr old nephew, Rylee.  The journey there was around 6 hrs with plenty of excitement and noise!  The pups naturally took their preferences in traveling spots.  Eve, took the soft dog bed we wedged between the two front seats while Link chose the floor below our feet.  Numerous times when Rylee had his fits, the dogs would back up and stare at him trying to figure out what exactly was making that screaming noise.

Once we arrived at the campsite, the dogs again picked their spots in the camper.  The first night Eve took the dog bed and Link sprawled out across the floor.  However, it only took one night for them to realize Paul and I were on the blow-up mattress above them.  From then on every night after we brushed our teeth we would find Eve already in position on the bed while Link would start on the floor below.  I mentioned before Link always sleeps on the floor until about 5am when he puts his front paws on the bed and licks my face to be lifted onto the bed.  This trip was no different in his nightly schedule.  The pics are cute.


Good Dogs, Goodbye

Yesterday was a very bad day for dogs around here.  It started with finding my sister’s 15 yr old Westie dead in the yard.  It looks like Corky passed away naturally of old age and didn’t seem to have been in pain.  She was a great dog and will be missed.

After discovering her outside, my Oma(grandmother) called and needed my help putting Henry, her black lab to sleep.  Henry had been having liver trouble for several weeks now and Oma had been spending her time and money in Dr. Davis’s office trying to treat Henry’s problem.  Eventually Davis concluded Henry was suffering from Liver cancer .

I drove Oma and Henry to the vets office to have one more consultation with Dr. Davis to exhaust any chance for Henry’s recovery.  After concluding the best option was to put Henry to sleep, the vet gave him the shot in front of us.  This was the first time I’ve ever been with a dog being put to sleep.  It was incredibly tough, heart-wrenching and kept myself questioning if it was right choice to have made.  The choice was hard, but it was right to put him out of his pain.  Oma spent an incredible amount of money exhausting possible recovery solutions for this 5 yr old guy.

Looking at how hard this was, often raises a question whether its worth having dogs at all, knowing you’ll eventually have to go through them leaving you.  Its a sad time, but when looking at the happiness dogs can bring to your everyday life, be it licking your hand to wake you up, following you everywhere or even stealing food off the kitchen counter, dogs never fail to put a smile on our face, make us feel loved unconditionally and give us reason for sleeping-in a little less each day to play with them.  Having a companion is worth it.

Farewell to Corky and Henry; may they meet in doggy heaven all the other dogs who have so happily shared their lives with us before.


Growing Up

The switch to the bigger collars got us all sentimental.  It’s beyond cliche to say “They grow up so fast.”  But God knows it is true.

Spending virtually every second of the past couple months with them makes it hard to notice how much they actually have changed.  Day to day, you can’t really appreciate the growth.

It is only when we look at the Then v. Now pictures can we realize how much they have slowly shed their puppy-ness.


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Farewell Puppy Collars

The sad day has finally come for Link and Eve to shed their puppy collars.  These collars were the ones we brought the pups home in.  Eve’s light pink and Link’s blue began so loose we had to poke new holes to stop them sliding over their heads.  The extra collar length on each of them hung down from their neck in the anticipation for the growth to come.  For the past couple of weeks we have been holding onto them by the very last hole.  I feel this puppy collar loss is special to larger dogs that will only fit small collars for a very short time.  So quickly they grow!

Now the addition of a new medium collar marks their exciting new journey into adolescence.  Sarcastically I welcome it;  filled with teething, awkward growth spurts and more energy at a larger size, adolescence will be an experience.


Like Children

Its probably obvious that we treat Eve and Link as if they were actual children.  I’m assuming many people out there also consider their dogs to be just like real kids…needing care, close supervision, and patient loving.

I have no idea if I will ever have children of my own, but I’m sure that raising these two devils is a great way to ease into the challenges of caring for someone other than yourself.  That obviously means sacrifcing some sleep (Link needed to get up at 3am and 4am last night to go to the bathroom), some blood (Eve has left both of us with a few gashes), and some cash (veterinary bills are not cheap).

But besides sacrifices, the dogs are like kids in that they allow us to share some our favorite memories.  Our pups are becoming a part of our new memories as well as our old ones.  For example, last week we took the pups to Kyle’s undergraduate alma mater in rural Virginia, James Madison University.  Kyle had not been back in the three years since he graduated.  The visit for the puppies was nothing more than another adventure with new sites and smells.  But it still had the feeling of sharing something special from the past with the young babies.  I’m sure it is a small fraction of what a father feels like when visiting a favorite baseball stadium for the first time with a son.


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