Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Pooches do Humboldt Park in 10 Pictures

One thing we realized from our travels this summer was that there are so many parks and amazing places in Chicago that we still haven't explored. Inspired by Neptune & Levi's park in St. Louis, we decided to explore our own nearby turn-of-the-century park: Humboldt Park.
 The park is over 200 acres, with a beautiful boat house, lagoon, butterfly and bird gardens, a small beach, tennis courts, several baseball diamonds and whole host of other things including wide open spaces with walking paths. We've been to Humboldt Park a number of times to play tennis or grab something to eat at the Frittura trucks, but we got a whole different perspective when we took the full walking path with the pooches. 
We sat and the pooches posed for pictures in the beautiful Formal Gardens and in front of the lagoons. While Ms. M and Levi are naturals in front of the camera, Mr. B still needs to work on not blinking at the wrong time.
Beautiful Humboldt Park is going to be the location for this weekend's dog walk and we hope to visit it in future dog walks. There are so many places to walk, that one walk would not do it justice.
And if you are interested in joining this week's dog-walking club, please be sure to RSVP by Thursday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Miss M & Mr B Become Activists: The Puppy Mill Project

While we mainly talk about our pooches out on the social scene, like any good 'socialite' knows, they need to  balance their partying ways with a good social cause. This past weekend Miss M and Mr B became activists joining The Puppy Mill Project to protest against unethical sales of dogs at pet stores. And this specific store is now breeding and selling pit bull puppies.
This was so disheartening to hear because there are so many pitbulls, and pitbull puppies, that need homes. Not to mention that reputable breeders want to know where their dogs go, and would never sell their dogs to a pet store, so we can only imagine the horrible things that are happening to breed the dogs sold here. The storefront also boasted some of the puppies on "sale". Though I wonder what happens when the "sale" is over. Ironically, they also boasted having "German Shepherd mixes" which seemed quite plentiful last time I was at the city shelter.
Both pooches, but especially Mr. B, were very distraught over the barking that was coming from Puppies R Us. Mr. B had the barking hiccups and he could not control himself. Oftentimes he would charge for the door of the store, while Ms. M would whine and complain.
Miss M was very interested in the signs, and wanted to make sure it was something she believed in. It was great to see people of all ages, and another rescue pooch supporting the cause.
Even Ferris, one of the adorable available dogs for adoption through New Leash on Life, came out to lend his support.  
The Puppy Mill Project is continuing to work against pet stores holding irresponsible breeding practices, and they can use continued human and canine support. To hear about ways to help, you can follow their Facebook page here. And if any Chicago-area pooches want to meet up for one of the protests, just let us know.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chicago Dog-Walking Club at the Sculpture Gardens

As we've been learning even more about what Chicago has to offer, this week we decided to combine culture and dog-walking as we moved our dog-walking club up to a sculpture garden. This is a 2-mile grassy trail lined with several large-scale sculptures. Perfect for soaking up culture and grassy rolls.
When we originally started our group, it was kind of like our experiment: we weren't sure anyone was going to join. But as someone mentioned on our walk, we really have grown. And there is nothing better than taking our morning walk with such a great group. With distinguished Torre who has made every walk, sweet Maple who had such a great time on her first walk, and adorably matching brother-sister duo Willie and Nabi.
We love how this is a controlled way to socialize our dogs, and as they walk they fall into a pack through the rhythm of walking. Newly-adopted Nala enjoyed the water break getting in a grassy roll.
Handsome Jack, demure Izzy, and regal Monkey waiting patiently.
Brindle-beauty Lily had a huge smile on her face the whole time, and sweet Maize seemed so proud and confident to be leading the group.
And little Levi had a blast brushing up his skills as he searches for his new family. 
Despite the holiday next weekend, we will still be having dog-walking club on Sunday.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog Series: New York City, New York

We always talk about how we have big dogs in a small space, but then there's our friends Two Grad Students & a Pittie who manage to all live together in 500 square feet. But what could be more amazing than having New York City as your backyard?
 We started our blog to keep in touch with our friends and family, and get advice about raising our rescued pitbull, Havi.  As we look back, it seems to have evolved into a tribute to raising a pup in New York City.  Our friends frequently tell us they can’t have a pup because their space is too small, they don’t have time, and its too expensive.  Well, we blog about living with out 65-lb. pitbull in 500square feet, while attending Dental and Law school, on government loans! New York City gets HOT in the summer.  All that concrete!  So most people hit the Shore, Fire Island or the Hamptons.  The Two Grad Students and their pittie love NYC in the summer because it has SO MUCH to offer! Dental Student’s favorite thing about NYC in the summer are the street fairs.  There are usually 10 on any given day.  We usually check out Time Out NY online before heading out (–17).  Havi loves the long walk, adoring fans, and food that may drop on the floor.  The Grad Students love the fun crafts and new vendors at each fair.  We especially love the Hester Street Fair ( , known for its gourmet foods and grassy area to enjoy.
The best thing about a long walk in NYC is you never know what you may run into!  A parade of music from around the world, Gay Pride Parade, the NYC Tenement Museum, or a free Fashion Show!
Havi is always ready for her long walks with a water bottle, backpack, and a snack!  And whenever she needs to cool off, the ground in New York’s beautiful Grand Central Station is perfect for a pit stop and picture.
Law Student’s favorite spot is the Farmer’s Market in Union Square (  Havi helps pick out the perfect flowers, bread, and fruit from local, sustainable farmers.  Or maybe she just loves seeing all the other pups!
Outdoor restaurants are extremely friendly in New York, and usually even invite Havi with a bowl of water.   Although, her favorite has always been the Barking Dog (
If you are in a bind, or moving fast, NYC has taken over the Food Cart and Food Truck craze!  Grabbing something to eat and sitting outside is perfect with a pup!  You can even attend the Vendy Awards ( on Governor’s Island!

If you ever need a break from the city, NJ and Long Island are a nice hour away for a quick jump in the pool!
If you want to leave your pup home for the day…there are baseball games (we have two teams, you know!), nightlife, and movie theaters!   We didn’t get to go this year, but other pups seem to love watching a movie outdoors under the Brooklyn Bridge!
So when our friends tell us the don’t have enough time, space or money we kind of just roll our eyes, strap on Havi’s backpack and go on and explore NYC at its finest!

You can read more about Havi and the gang on their blog: Two Grad Students & a Pittie. In case you missed them, you can also read about things to do with dogs in Austin, Florida, Portland, Richmond, Seattle,  Kansas City, Nashville, Alaska, and Chicago. And you can read about roadtripping with 4 large dogs, boating to the Bahamas with a pit bull, and specific tips for roadtripping with a large dog (NYC to rural Tennessee), and Chicago Dogs Sidetrip to Harbor Country. We are still accepting posts, but we would like to receive everything in the next week.If you would like to share your hometown, please click here for more information or contact us through our Facebook page. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Night with Levi

Ms. M and Mr. B enjoy a nice quiet evening with Levi.

On the Value of Elderbulls & 'It Takes a Village'

It's usually having a younger foster dog that makes us realize our own dogs are aging.
And while it used to make us a bit sad, we have noticed lately a type of nobility in becoming an Elderbull. Maybe the fur on Mr B's elbows is becoming worn, his ears are a bit tattered and frayed, and the fur on his nose has rubbed away from being petted so much. But we think that just makes him the Velveteen Pitbull
And just like the Skin Horse so wisely explains in the book: this is what happens when you are loved for a long, long time...
And lately we have been noticing so many stories of these well-loved dogs.From everyone's hero Sarge the Elderbull to our friend Chilly who waited and waited for his forever home and now actively enjoys swimming and hiking, to the inspirational stories of Elderbulls using their sweet demeanor to do therapy work , and all the incredible features during Stubbydog's Eldberbull month. Suddenly 14 is the new 7!
It was during all this positivity that a few weeks ago Aleksandra from Love and a Leash sent us this photo.She had met this gal, Lady Zamora, at her local shelter, and she was hoping to help spread the word to see if anyone wanted to adopt their own "Mrs. B":
The same age as our own Mr. B, at 8 years old we both knew this sweet girl didn't stand a chance in the shelter system. I posted to our Facebook page, right before I went to class and I kept taking little peeks to see if by some miracle someone had come forward to rescue her.
But I couldn't stop thinking about her. She was the same age as Mr. B who still enjoys skateboarding, going out on the town, and going for long walks.
What would it take for someone to look beyond her age and give her a chance?
After a flurry of emails, we thought of an idea: what if we created a type of "trust fund"? The balance would go to her adopter's vet as a credit against future routine medical care?
And wouldn't this also be a powerful way to show how amazing Elderbulls's are?
So now we are looking for donations for Lady Zabora's 'trust fund' to cover her spay, vetting, and a little extra to get her pulled from the shelter and hopefully into the arms of a rescue group. Check Aleksandra's blog for more information about Lady Z, and how to help.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Meet Our New Foster: Levi

 We were hoping to try fostering again before the summer ended, but between our Goofus and Gallant it's sometimes hard to find the right fit. Then we met Levi. Levi lived as a stray on the mean streets of Chicago, which for many dogs would have made them tough and hardened. Though for Levi, it seems to have had the opposite effect; Despite a guesstimate of 3-4 years, he still seems adorablely puppy.
Sure he may have picked up some strange sleeping habits from his past life:
But he is adorably gangly and smooshy, seeming to have no understanding of his own body. Or maybe he just dreams of being a flying superhero?
 In his short stay here, he has become quite a Mr. B mini-me:
 But is a much more manageable size for walking:
But Mr. B isn't so sure he's ready to step away from his pink toys yet:
As we learn more, we'll have more updates about Levi on our Facebook page, and he is available through Miss M's rescue group New Leash on Life.  If you would like to meet this super-hero in real life, he will be making an appearance at Saturday's adoption event at Whole Foods, and he will also be participating in this Sunday's dog-walking club. He already has quite the packed social calendar!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ms. M and Mr. B Hit the Open Road

While we'd been hoping to take a summer roadtrip with the pooches, we finally found our chance. We had a newly born nephew, so we packed up the pooches to drive down to St. Louis for the weekend.
Ms. M needed to enjoy her last few moments of Chicago air, before we set off on I-55 for the next several hours. Because of Reggie's great road tripping post and all the informative comments, we felt fairly prepared for this road trip. All the rest stops had this dog friendly area for the pooches to stretch, have dinner and take a restroom break.
This was our first time staying in a hotel with the pooches, and we were a bit nervous there might be breed restrictions. Luckily, Go Pet had this great post write up about the pet friendly Drury Hotels. We gave the Drury Plaza Hotel in Chesterfield a call and asked if there were any breed restrictions and to our surprise, they were excited to have our two pit bulls stay at their hotel. The hotel was great and very accommodating. They had free wifi, free hot breakfast, free drinks and food in the evening and even poop bags out in their large outdoor area. All of the staff was very friendly and most of the other patrons were excited to meet the pooches, probably because Mr. B decided to carry his big red stuffed bone on all his potty breaks.
We were also very excited to meet our longtime blog friend Mary. Mary was one of our first blog friends (back when Two Pitties was 'writing to the crickets') so we were super-excited to meet everyone in person. The infamous Levi with his gorgeous eyes:
And newly-adopted Neptune (Tuna!) who is completely goofy and laid back:
It was funny meeting a blog friend in person, because I felt like I already knew so much about their family and the pooches. And as they're expecting a baby in October, I'm looking forward to reading more about balancing dogs and kids in the city. She is very inspirational! The pooches too hit it off right away, even sharing a drink at one of the many doggie water fountains:
Levi and Neptune continued the tour of their amazing park: a Victorian gem commissioned in the 1800's complete with fountains, pavilions, wading pools, and even a Clydesdale.

The pooches walked very nicely together as a pack as if they were long-lost friends.

Luckily for us, Miss M and Mr. B were exhausted for the ride home, here they are sharing either side of the pillow.

P.S. We're very excited to have dog walking club back this week, with a new process to help out my inbox.
1) Please RSVP by Thursday whether you will be coming to dog club. Even if you did tell me before, I might not remember. When you email put "Dog Walking Club" in the header.
2) We've been thinking of switching up the locations, and this weekend we will be trying Skokie Sculpture Park.
3) New attendees, I will need your photos and bios by Thursday morning.
We're looking forward to Sunday's walk!
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