Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Things to do in Chicago with Dogs: Dog Trick-or-Treating with Be Fido's Friend

Mr. B is alarmed actually seeing Miss M smile.
As a city that takes its celebrations very seriously, this past weekend was already filled with Halloween revelers out in full-costume.
Miss M and Mr B (okay...and us!) always look forward to dog trick-or-treating with local rescue Be Fido's Friend.
We think this is the perfect event where groups of pups walk through the West Town neighborhood, stopping at local businesses to collect treats.
Miss M and Mr. B dressed in character as Thing 1 and Thing 2 as they made their way around the stores collecting treats.
Miss M had the uncanny sense of knowing which of the stores were participating and beelined her way right to them.
While weeks after we attend this walk, Mr. B still assumes that every store is still giving out treats and tries to go into every door that we see.
In a rare turn of events, E took 'camera-duty' for this walk and captured some photos of me walking with Miss M. While we weren't sure if people would notice, our Instagram/Facebook followers were quick to pick up that Miss M and Mr. B will be expecting their own baby human (this February!). Thanks so much for all of the kind words!

Deja vu!
Costumes for large dogs.
Costumes for dogs who hate costumes
How we keep our pups safe and comfortable in costumes

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Things to Do with Dogs in Chicago: "Must-Eat" Dog-Friendly Restaurants

Lately we've been noticing how many more tourists are branching out from downtown and coming to visit our neighborhood.
And we always joke that as everyone is so excited to see everything, Miss M walks by and in her blasé voice saying how she's shopped there or eaten there "so many times".

We think that one of the best parts of our neighborhood is that we do have great food, and so many places are so welcoming to all types of dogs.
As we're having this final wave of amazing weather this fall (we're trying to make the most of these October 70 degree temps!) here are some of the restaurants that seem to make the must-see list and are extra accommodating for dogs, and just happen to be steps from our favorite Bloomingdale Trail.

Small Cheval
We were so excited to see this casual burger-and-shake spot open based on Au Cheval's "best burger in America". They make it simple only offering burgers, fries, shakes, and beers. They also make their own sauce. It's a really small space, where you order inside (E usually waits outside with the pups) and you can eat in the outdoor space. We usually come in the morning when they first open, as part of our daily walk, and we are able to get our food right away. Though we have made the mistake of coming mid-day where there are hour-long waits. The patio is nice because it's tucked away from the sidewalk traffic of dogs walking back-and-forth and there is a lot of space for the dogs; we only saw one other set of dogs when we were there. The staff is so nice, and without us asking they were outside with a water dish keeping it filled to Miss M's expectations (notice her actually smiling!).

Parson's Chicken & Fish
This has become a must-visit destination for so many people heading out to Logan Square. Because their food really is that good, they have a huge outdoor dining space, and really good Negroni slushes. It gets really crowded with waits during peak times, so we usually come early. It is a neighborhood dog destination with so many pups dining with their families and a staff that loves
dogs and is really accommodating. We usually bring a mat for the pups to lay on since they have a gravel ground and the pups usually get dusty.

Bang Bang Pie Shop
When we moved we were really excited to be so close to another amazing pie shop. This one does have huge lines on the weekends, so we usually go on the off hours. They have a large outdoor space with communal seating, and we've seen so many other pups here accompanying their people for the biscuits and pie.

Anyone else have favorite city dining with dogs? 

How we set our dogs for success at outdoor patios 
Or dining with dogs who are uncomfortable around other dogs
Being a tourist in Chicago with dogs!
Going European!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Things to do With Dogs in Chicago: Watching the Chicago Marathon

One of the best parts about living with pups in the city is that we can combine our dog walks with events that are fun for both us and the pups.
I spent 6 years running the Chicago Marathon, and since I've stopped running I always thought it was important to still go and support the runners.
And this will also be the 6th year that the pups have gotten up in the wee hours of Sunday morning to go out and watch the marathon:
We love that the marathon is an event for the whole city. An estimated 1 million spectators (plus Miss M and Mr. B!) line the 26.2 miles across the city with mariachi bands, dancing dragons, singing Elvi and plenty of costumes and crazy signs.
The pups have come prepared in full gear (even that time we let them pick their outfits themselves!) to bring cheer to the marathon runners.
We usually stand at Mile 14, which can be a tough one, so it's fun to see the runners smile when they see the pups. We had a lot of people who recognized them (thanks for saying hi!), jumped out of the race to meet the pups, and we even met a woman who met them during the race last year, so she decided to run the race for pitbulls this year (!!). She had it written on the back of her shirt.
The pups gave out smooches, and normally grumpy Miss M was flashing her smile.
We know how much harder it is for the last runners to be out there so long, especially when all of the spectators are packing up or have left already.
So we always make sure the stay to the very end to support the runners that might be just ahead of the Sanitation Truck.
After all of their cheering, Mr. B felt like he had run his very own marathon.

Dapper Mr. B and "Grumpy Butterfly"
The time they gave us these.
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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Miss M vs Stairs

Unlike Mr. B, Miss M has nice lanky legs that enables her to go up and down the stairs with ease. Her issue with the stairs is the troll that lives on the stairs leading to the basement. It is purely coincidental that the troll appears whenever A or I are on the stairs to the basement.
According to Miss M, this troll strokes the luscious fur on her rear whenever she is laying in the bed by the stairs. A and I have yet to see this troll that she speaks of. Though we know when the troll strikes, because Miss M will quickly jump out of the bed, shake and lick her lips.
Unlike Miss M, whenever the troll strokes Mr. B, he just smiles and enjoys the pets from the troll. The only troll he fears is the one named Miss M.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Bloomingdale Trail

We were so excited when the Bloomingdale Trail AKA The 606 opened earlier this summer. We knew that it would be a nice addition to our weekend walks, little did we know that it would be an essential part of our walks.
Initially it was a novelty to walk above the streets of Chicago, but now we use it whenever we go on our family walks to explore neighborhoods to the west of us or east to get something to eat at our familiar spots with the pooches.
We love that our walks are no longer interrupted by stop signs, stop lights, turning cars or any sort of motor vehicle. Rather than taking a whole day taking the pooches on our weekend walks, our weekend walks only take a few hours as we walk uninterrupted.
When A's family was in town, we, including the pooches, went on a nice family walk on the Bloomingdale Trail. A's mom commented that it must be the happiest place on Earth because everyone was smiling as they ran, biked or walked the trail.
It is one of our favorite places in Chicago, and all of us, including Miss M can be seen smiling as we traverse the Bloomingdale Trail.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mr. B vs Stairs Part II

We apologize that the blog has taken a backseat to everything that has been going on in our lives. The pooches are doing well, but getting older. A has noticed that Mr. B started to sit funny, so she decided to get his hips checked when he was in for his routine senior blood panel and shots. Everything looks great, but poor Mr. B has some pain in his hips from old age. We were told to minimize Mr. B's use of the stairs.
However, Mr. B has his own agenda, to live to the fullest and follow us everywhere. A and I have been working on getting Mr. B to stay on one floor, the main floor during the day and the top floor in the evening. We tend to forget things or need to do things on different floors and while heading up or down the stairs, we make sure to yell "stay" to Mr. B before we go up or down the stairs.
As we yell "stay" we can see the little wheel in his head turning, deciding whether to stay or follow us when we aren't looking. Next thing we know Mr. B is sitting right next to us, when he should have been staying. Now we run whenever we have to make a quick stop on a different floor and try to catch Mr. B before he has made it halfway on the stairs.
Due to all this running, A and I are keeping in shape going up and down the stairs. Through all this Miss M could care less about us. She chooses to stay wherever she wants, including laying in her own pee pads, a post for another day.

Is there anything you do to keep your dog's hips healthy?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Win a Date with Your Dog: Mercury Canine Cruise GIVEAWAY

Read to the bottom to find out how to win an architectural cruise with your pup!
Besides being able to step outside sans winter snoods, there are a couple of summer mainstays that we always look forward to: Chicago's Pride ParadeShakespeare in the Park (last weekend!), and the  Mercury Canine Cruise.
This summer has been especially busy for us, working most weekends since we've started The Laboratory (though I guess we can't really complain about being at Hogwarts, training dragons, and dodging zombies all day!) so we were especially excited to find out that the Canine Cruise has expanded from just one day to offering cruises on both Saturday and Sunday mornings!
Living here, we tend to take Chicago's amazing architecture for granted, but this 90-minute cruise takes you down the Chicago River, through Lake Michigan and past Navy Pier telling tales of Chicago history and lore. I always recommend the architectural tours as the #1 thing to do for anyone visiting Chicago. We love this tour because it's something we can do along with the pups and still appreciate the amazing city we live in.
The boat has enough room for each family and dog to have their own bench (this shows it a bit more)so you won't be sitting next to a strange dog. Though waiting while you're standing and waiting to board the boat dogs will be closer together as you make your way through the winding-line thing and some people don't give a lot of space.
 It's also good to get there earlier, or make reservations, as we know some dates have sold out (though this may not be as much of a problem since they added a day.)
We were looking forward to our annual visit, and we were so excited when the Mercury Canine Cruise invited us to come as their guests AND they are generously giving away Canine Cruise tickets to 2 lucky dog families.
Each of the winners will receive tickets for 2 humans and 2 pups. Winners will be able to choose the date of your cruise (and we would love to coordinate and meet up if it works out!)

There are two ways to enter, and you can enter twice.
Let us know:
Why would you be interested in going on the Mercury Canine Cruise in Chicago with your pup?

1) Enter by commenting on our blog post here

2) And/or posting a photo on our Facebook page letting us know why you would be interested in bringing your pup on the Canine Cruise.

3) Winners will be chosen at random using a random number generator.

-You have two chances to win by commenting once on the blog and posting a photo once on our Facebook page.
-We will use a random number generator to randomly choose 1 winner from blog comments and 1 winner from the Facebook page.
-You have until Wednesday at Midnight (EST) to post your comment or photo
-Check our 
Facebook page and blog this Tuesday for the announcement of winners. If you are a winner, please contact us, so we can get your information. It is up to the winners to contact us to claim your prize. If winners do not contact us in an appropriate amount of time, we will choose a new winner.
-Winners must come to Chicago to attend the cruise

Good luck everyone!

Deja Vu.
Where we're also tourists.
And in 36 hours!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pooches: Mr B and His Baboon

While Mr. B is generally laid back, his one downfall is racing his 12 year-old self through our house, stuffies in mouth:
We thought maybe if we bought him a more cumbersome stuffy, it would slow him down a bit.
Enter...creepy 4-foot long Baboon:
Mr. B wasn't so sure what to make of this stuffy. And even tried to nibble off some hair.
But he soon found it to be a comfortable pillow:
And a 4-foot long toy he could race around with:
We find his new toy a bit creepy, constantly popping up from nowhere:
But Mr. B considers it his new best friend:
Check our Facebook page for more photos, comments, and storylines beyond the blog.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Things to Do in Chicago with Dogs: Miss M and Mr. B Explore the Bloomingdale Trail

It was nearly 10 years ago that I first heard the rumor about the Bloomingdale Trail.
While buying a bench on Craigslist (from a loft at the old Schwinn Bicycle Factory!) the owner told me he bought his place because they would be building an amazing park on the old Bloomingdale rail line...in the next "few" years.

Flash forward to over a decade of several starts, stops, and a false-alarm opening last year, and the trail finally opened this past weekend. The Bloomingdale trail stretches 2.7 miles above the city creating a continuous walking path between Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Wicker Park, and Bucktown.
Since it's mere blocks from our home, we were excited to check it out this past weekend with the pooches:
They had several huge events for the opening weekend, and this is likely the most crowded the trail will ever be. Somehow it was able to accommodate the mix of walkers, bikers, dogs and strollers.
There are a lot of homes built right next to the trail, but it was interesting seeing all the rooftop decks, and a lot of the homes were having parties and waving to the people walking along the trail.
We ran into a lot of friends, neighbors, and a neighbor out on his rooftop deck.
Our favorite part was being able to walk continuously without needing to stop for traffic.
Of course, Mr. B brought his camera and he made this video showing the trail from the dog's view.

The trail makes it even easier to do things like this to and this!
One of my favorite videos by Mr. B.
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Monday, May 18, 2015

CIty Dog: Reasons to Walk

We know some people are hesitant to get dogs in the city because without backyards, there is always so much walking involved. While we really enjoy heading out for a family walk,  I've also realized so many other times it has been helpful to have a dog at your side.

Finding a Mailbox
While so many things are better in the city, one thing that is more difficult is mail.
Without going into stolen packages or lack of delivery, it is just really difficult to mail stuff.
You can't just put the outgoing mail in your mailbox for the mail person to take, but you have to put it in a common blue mailbox. Which usually will be several blocks out of your way, and across at least 2 large streets. Or just hard to find. I would go days carrying my Netflix around hoping to stumble upon a mailbox that I never found.
The mailbox closest to our house is about 4 blocks away, which means I'm walking 8 blocks just to mail a letter. Which seems like a chore if I'm doing it on my own, but it becomes worthwhile with the pups. And if Mr. B can bring his stuffy.

Justifying Walk-by Donuts
Mr. B jauntily waits for donuts.
Chicago is really good at having walk-by food windows. Including several dessert options.
And since we're out walking around with the pups so much, we've made it a family tradition to stop by the Glazed & Infused window on our family walks.

Having a Late-Night Escort
While we walk most places in the city, I still know to take extra precautions after dark.
It seems like the people I'm most wary of, are most wary of the pups. E and I always refer back to the time when we were walking and a guy leaped out of our way, turns to Mr. B and told him "Much respect, Sir".
We're lucky that so many places in the city allow dogs in their outdoor seating areas so if I'm going out to meet friends I can bring one of the pups to escort me home.

Teaching your pup to behave at an outdoor patio
Some favorites.
Check our Facebook page for more photos, comments, and story lines beyond the blog.
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