One year ago, the Irish Wheaten Terrier/Terror/Tearer joined our clan. Chicago is the only place we’ve lived where it seemed right to have a dog – we don’t have a landlord, we do have a yard and the first blade of grass is not ten miles away. So what have we learnt over the last 12 months?
Things you need to do if you have a dog in Chicago
- Remember to open up the poop bags before you leave the house. This is especially important when it’s 10 degrees Fahrenheit outside and your fingers don’t function properly.
- Get a car. Unless you have a vet within walking distance (and I mean walking distance for a 3 month old puppy), can carry your pet easily or are willing to buy one of those magnificent dog carts, you need a car. Of course probably most of you have a car but we survived 6 years without one, including our first in Chicago. I caved after taking the pooch to puppy obedience classes using wheels from a car-sharing company. Rather than being too graphic, I composed this little ditty –
Squitty puppy, squitty crate, in a car is not too great.
But worry not – the seats escaped, the car was aired,
And we no longer use a car that’s shared
Things they don’t tell you about having a dog in Chicago
- Winter is great as poops freeze and are so much easier to pick up (so long as you’ve pre-opened your doop bag). On the other hand, if you have a yard where your pooch goes to pee (because we all let them do it), you get really, really sick of all those GROSS yellow patches.
- Like the mystery of the singleton socks that emerge from the tumble-dryer, no matter how much you think you’ve picked up all the poop from the yard throughout the winter, you always seem to find at least 10 long-hibernating parcels when the ice melts. Yummy.
- Goose doop. What is it with goose doop and dogs? Is it the canine (and humanely-produced) equivalent of foie gras? Either way it turns dogs’ brownies to greenies.
What you can’t do in Chicago with a dog
- Apparently it is illegal to give dogs whiskey here – I’ve tried to find the actual law but to no avail. Plus I’m intrigued if the lawmaker was differentiating between Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky. However, joking apart, no alcohol of course in any form for our four-legged friends – unless they are serving doggy beer at your local ‘Happy and Yappy Hour’. It does exist.
And what you can do in Chicago with a dog
- Meet your neighbours quicker. We’re on a great street and have always said hello to each other. But it took two walks a day every day to get on first-name terms. Actually people asked us the dog’s name first, then eventually ours. It’s Cabbie, by the way.
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