Saturday, July 30, 2011

About Town

Spotted in a mall on Michigan Ave.

I wonder what they'd say if I took Bilbo shoe-shopping in Nordstrom?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

We won!

Today was the official announcement of the winners for the Kriser's competition and One Tail at a Time won $25,000 worth of food and supplies!

I was lucky enough to go along to Kriser's on Belmont for a photo op to celebrate the win with some great pups and lovely people and collect the first installment of food. Inspired by the tight competition, Kriser's announced a second prize of $5,000 for the runners up, Greyhounds Only, who brought along a lovely troop of pooches.

Digby and Poncho represented for the motley One Tail crew and were on their best behavior. Just look at the soulful eyes on Poncho, I'm guessing he was trying to convince someone to feed him ALL the treats.

Everyone wanted a snuggle with dignified little Digby.

Including of course, Brad Kriser, dog rescue's very own Santa Claus!

What a great day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

About Town

There are three chickens living on a street corner about four blocks from my house. They seem to be rather content, healthy looking chickens as far as I can tell but they've been there for weeks.

Are they feral chickens or pet chickens?

What a puzzle.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Friends old and new

We interrupt our regularly scheduled gloom and doom for a pollyanna post!

Sunday was One Tail at a Time's annual reunion and it was delightful to see all the rescued pups gamboling around and having a blast. Last year I didn't consider bringing Bilbo but this year he put in an appearance early on before it got too busy and he managed a great ten minutes before the excitement shortwired his little brain and he needed to go home and recover his composure.

I got to help with the paw-printing, which essentially involved getting down at pooch level and getting lots of slobbery kisses. The make-your-own-pupcakes stand from Fido-to-go was a hit with everyone (I made up three in pretty take-away boxes for the pooches back home).

Marley kept an eye on the officials to make sure there was no funny business going on during the raffle draw. We won a book AND a pup photo shoot.

The dogs all put their best foot forward in the trick competition, though my favorite by far was Quigley's special magic trick - how to make a lake appear out of nowhere to general hilarity...
Siblings Gizmo and Stanley (now Stella and Monte) reunited and posed for plenty of photos.

Of course, some of the current adoptables put in an appearance so everyone could make a fuss over their cute faces. We're not going to talk about why Kado is back with the crew because the actions of some stinky people aren't worth dignifying with a full sentence. He was thoroughly petted, snuggled and spoiled all day to make up for it and I'm sure the handsome boy won't be around for long and will go to a fabulous forever home.

Little Remy, who charmed the ladies at the last AWL volunteer day, snuggled up to his foster mom for a bit of quiet time and a thumbsuck!

Everyone received super-duper goody bags on the way out - in new OTAT tote bags, featuring the handsome guy.

I spent much more time petting pups than photographing them but I managed a little bit of video.

And did you catch that last bit? To make it an extra-special reunion, this weekend One Tail celebrated their 200th adoption! Hooray! Marlo arrived on the same day as little Lucy. She waited a couple of extra weeks for the perfect home but I think you'll agree she's going to settle in beautifully.

And the new friends? Well, at first I thought I shouldn't go promising little-dog-cuteness again unless I was sure it was on its way. But then I realized that my form of "jinxing" is pretty great for the dogs (see here).

Daisy has been passed around like a basketball so far and its about time that she found a proper forever home so she's going to come and make a stop off with me and Bilbo while we find her the perfect family. Someone at the shelter took her home for the week to keep her off the euthanasia list long enough for her to become a One Tail dog so that giant grin is hardly surprising.

More about this smiler next week, unless of course someone snaps her up and takes home before she jumps on transport next Tuesday!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Welcome Pet Bloggers!

Billy and I are excited to be "Featured Weekly Blogger" over at Pet Blogs United and looking forward to meeting some new friends. Of course, being a pooch, he doesn't quite grasp the difference between real-life and virtual visitors so I think he just reckons he's going to get oodles of treats this week from all the people stopping by.

Yip, that's definitely an expecting-noms face...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Boys Do Friday Night

A few months ago a friend of mine went to PAWS and brought home a bundle of puppy cuteness with giant paws. On Friday night we discovered that he now tops Billy by nearly 2 inches.

Bilbo was unfazed by this sudden growth spurt and the two proceeded to run through every play style in the book with wild enthusiasm. I just wish I'd had the camera in my hand when Billy did the crazy butt-tuck run around the yard with Myron hot on his heels! However, despite the dim lighting, I managed to catch some big boys playtime to share.

Even Bilbo could barely keep up with those puppy paws. I walked a pretty darn tired dog home that night and we didn't have to head out for a morning walk the next day until after 10am by the time we'd both had a good long snooze.

Which is just as well because I needed all my energy to survive the madness that is Pitchfork on a hot, hot day. I was so relieved to have snagged a VIP pass so I could escape the crowds and regroup from time to time. There were giant dust clouds hanging in the air from the tramp of so many hipster feet on the dry ground.

It was a great weekend but I have to confess, my favorite moment was probably lying under a quiet tree in a cool breeze with the buzz of the crowds and thump of the bass in the background, gently snoozing with a free glass of wine.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


"The woman is holding the treats hostage to make people vote for my buddies at One Tail at a Time to win $25,000 worth of food and supplies. Do you know how many noms that is? I'm so hungry..."

"Seriously, she's gone a bit crazy. Help me!"

Just a few days till the competition closes! Click HERE to vote every day and please, please share to help One Tail rescue more pups like Bilbo. 

Or the treats get it....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chicago SummerDog (or take your dog to work day)

Among the many, many other projects that he works on, Dogdad produces a program called Chicago SummerDance. Now in its 15th year, it's a much-loved Chicago institution with free dance lessons and live music under the stars downtown. The majority of the events take place at the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park but there is a Wednesday night series called "SummerDance in the Parks" where the program goes on the move and heads out to the neighborhoods.

Tonight's program took place at the Humboldt Park Boathouse, which is such a fun place to hold an event when the weather holds out. Dogdad had to go and check that everything was running smoothly but with some great Park District staff on hand he didn't have much to deal with so we took the pooches down.

The place was packed and there were people dotted all around the area with picnics enjoying Nabori's performance.

With the Chicago skyline in the distance and a cool breeze across the water it was just the perfect night. Bilbo did ok around the crowds even though we didn't have a single treat on hand but all that excitement can make a pup thirsty!

Free Stuff!

The race for the Kriser's grand prize is heating up and there's not much time left to make your votes count. You can get in on the race and a chance to win one of three t-shirts featuring the fabulous Billy.

All it takes is a few seconds so click here to go to the competition and then click vote to help One Tail at a Time win $25,000 worth of food and supplies.

Post on their facebook page to let them know that you voted and if they hit 500 votes today you'll be entered to win a Bilbo shirt. Easy peasy.

P.S. In true Chicago style you can vote every day. The dogs would love it if you'd come back and vote again!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No Foster!

For the very best reason in the world, we don't have a new foster tonight. After months in the shelter with no interest, just before he was due to hop a transport to Chicago Lance was adopted! That left a free spot at One Tail and they pulled a pekingnese who was due to be euthanized and is now rolling around with the pack at Bark Bark Club. What a great Tuesday.

I promised some small dog cuteness but you'll have to make do with some old shots of Billy with his other buddies instead.

Bilbo and his girlfriend

Billy with grumpy sleepy old man - pretty much the only type of
shot we ever got of Buster pre-op

Lazy Bilbo tries to use superior weight to win tug matches with foster Pickle
While I was uploading those photos I came across this one which serves as a great reminder of how much Bilbo has improved at crate training. When I left the house that morning the crate was on the other side of the room and Billy was in it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Too hot

Billy's too hot. I'm too hot. The apartment is too hot.

Generally I deal pretty well with the heat and I don't mind not having A/C but for some reason this weekend it is slowly killing both of us. Our walks have been mere rambles round the block before we head back to collapse like rag dolls and although I managed to get a lot of laundry done and some vegetable plants into proper pots in the yard I've not done a whole lot else this weekend.

Tomorrow we're going to attempt to get the window unit installed in one of the front windows but they're very old and creaky so it could be a challenge. However, we have a guest coming on Tuesday so we have to get the place spick and span - and maybe drop the temperature by a few degrees!

Lance is a Chi/Pom mix who is about to become part of the One Tail crew and Bilbo and I's next foster-pup. He arrives on Tuesday so keep an eye out for some small dog antics later in the week.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How many dogs?

One Tail at a Time is in the running for the JACKPOT! $25,000 worth of food and supplies courtesy of Kriser's. Now that's a LOT of puppy chow and normally a little, wee rescue wouldn't be in the running for such a grand prize. However, One Tail has super awesome followers and this is a local competition. The only problem is that there's a pesky greyhound rescue that keeps stealing the top spot.

I have nothing against greyhounds of course and I'm sure that they're doing wonderful work.
But the fact of the matter is, there isn't a better rescue in the whole Chicagoland area. One Tail has the best pups, the sexiest founders, the most fun events, the loveliest volunteers and most importantly THE BEST LOGO!

All you have to do to help them win is click on this link and then click vote. And in true Chicago style you can vote daily. It really couldn't be easier! So please do this for Bilbo, because without the One Tail crew he wouldn't be here. Without a penny from your pocket or more than 30 seconds out of each day you can help them save this many dogs....

Photo: M. Scott Brauer
P.S. I couldn't resist borrowing this photo because it's so incredibly evocative but it's by a Boston-based documentary photographer called M. Scott Brauer. If you like this image please visit his site where you can buy prints of his photos and support his work as well as learn more about the story behind this photo.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Keeping Cool

In more ways than one! To begin with it sounds like a war zone out there tonight so I'm doubly grateful for my Bilbo right now and how delightfully chilled he is.

What fireworks???

It's also been a stinking hot weekend so it was a bit of a challenge keeping cool on our walks. Billy tends to be constantly thirsty as soon as the temperature tops 70 F. My Ollydog waistpack is the most convenient solution I've found. Billy quite happily drinks out of the water bottle and having it at hand means I can give him a drink every few blocks without having to rummage around in either my bag or his.

However, even with a full bottle of water, our Saturday walk was something of a challenge and I have to confess that halfway through our walk I wondered whether we were going to have to pop the pooches in a cab. We managed to keep them hydrated and cooled down by getting icecubes from coffee shops along the way, and at one point borrowed a hose from a guy washing windows and hosed them both down on the busy corner at Milwaukee and North!

Soggy dog...
Even in the heat, I couldn't resist taking snaps of the local murals, although dogdad and the pooches weren't terribly enthusiastic models.

A little advice on the sidewalk.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Challenge

I seem to be coming across many more frustrating situations in my neighborhood recently and you've heard from me after a couple of them. Last week I resolved to take steps to try and do my part in educating my neighbors and started looking for flyers that I could hand out when I find myself trying to tackle complex issues in 30 second interactions. After plenty of doodling around on the internet I haven't yet come up with something that will work for me so it's time to turn to the ever-resourceful blogosphere and ask for your help.

Obviously, part of my problem is picking my battles - I want to tackle everything at once! - so I guess we'll need to narrow the battlefield down. But here are some problems for you to ponder, let's see what kind of solution we can come up with.

I need to carry something that will slip easily into my pockets or various dog-walking pouches so the size restriction is a double-sided 4x6 postcard.

As I live in a bi-lingual neighborhood I'd like to have information in English on one side and in Spanish on the other. That of course really cuts down on the text that can be included.

My biggest concern is the amount of backyard breeding, mill puppies and all the unaltered dogs in the area. I've had many, many people ask if I'm breeding Bilbo, I see signs selling puppies all over the place, and can't walk a block these days without running into a puppy acquired from "a friend" or "breeder" - unaltered of course so the cycle continues.  That so many of these dogs are bully breeds doesn't help my peace of mind, being all too aware of how many are dying in shelters.

Here's where you come in! If you know of someone who's already producing a killer marketing piece that fits those specs please let me know. I'm sure there must be some great campaigns floating around out there, but so far I've found nothing pocket-sized.

If not, well, I know some of my readers out there have experience with various aspects of canine-related education so please share that with us all. What works, what doesn't - how not to seem preachy but to reach people with a strong message. The strongest marketing pieces aren't overly wordy so we need to keep the text concise and to the point. How do you break down the importance of spay/neuter, problems of pet overpopulation and backyard breeding and the value and joys of adopting into a few snappy sentences?! (well, you can't, obviously, so what do we prioritize?)

How about some good websites - in Spanish too - that I could direct people to? Although I'm a little unsure about using other people's sites on a self-produced piece, however well-intentioned.

Last but not least ... calling all poster dogs! Let's keep it upbeat people - skinny dogs dying in shelters might move US to tears but let's face it, is it truly going to change someone's mind about adopting when all they've known is cheap fluffy puppies from the guy down the street? I know plenty of you have some awesome rescue dogs with great stories so send me some fabulous photos and captions.

Once the content is set, I'll beg, bribe or blackmail one of my friends with design skills into creating a snazzy piece and share the results with you. Of course, if anyone is wrestling with similar frustrations in their own neighborhood I'm happy to send along a handful for you to test out (maybe for a nominal donation to One Tail at a Time...)

Ready. Set. GO!!!

There'll only ever be ONE Bilbo
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