A Good Day for Goodenow!

When I woke up this morning I didn’t even know what day it was! MaMa has been out of work for over a week and I’ve gotten used to her being home and waking up without an alarm. But when MaMa and Pop started talking about where to take Levi and I today, and MaMa got on her phone to look up forest and nature preserves, I figured out it must be the weekend! Which meant we were going somewhere special!!

We chose the Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve in Beecher, Ill. We had never been there and it was just a little over 30 minutes from home, so we could get there before it got too hot. It’s been a hot June, and it’s not even officially Summer yet. We need to plan our outings so we can be home well before the hottest time of the day, because I don’t care much for the heat and MaMa doesn’t care much for carrying me!

So Levi and I hopped in the car, and proceeded to wait for MaMa and Pop to get their act together. They are always scurrying around, packing snacks and extra waters, making sure we are prepared for anything. MaMa grabbed a roll of paper towels as she headed out the door…”just in case” and we were finally on our way!

Why do they always keep me waiting?
Why do they always keep me waiting?

On the way down there we were tooling along, making good time, when we realized we had missed our turn! Luckily this only set us back a few minutes and took us through Monee, Ill. Since Levi was whining and crying like a baby, Pop decided to pull over at a park to see if he had to do some business. While walking around the park we were stopped by a Policeman who told us that dogs weren’t allowed! He said we could be charged $100 per dog, but since he was a dog owner himself, he was going to let us go! I started barking and giving him a piece of my mind, but he just laughed and said, “It’s always the little ones!” I seem to hear that a lot! Levi decided to be the peace maker and licked the officer’s hand. He let us go with a reminder to look out for signs in parks saying NO DOGS ALLOWED. I can’t figure out why we wouldn’t be allowed somewhere like a park, but I guess some towns just be that way!

High-tailing it out of Monee. I'm a wanted dog!
High-tailing it out of Monee. I’m a wanted dog!

We finally arrived at the Nature Preserve and boy was it a nice one! It had a nature center where I met a giant salamander! Then I took a break in some giant honey combs before checking for rabbits in a bunny tunnel!

Meet my new friend Sal!
Meet my new friend Sal!
Taking a break, honey!
Taking a break, honey!
We know you're here somewhere, Bunny!
We know you’re here somewhere, Bunny!

By 9AM it was already starting to warm up, so we decided to take a short walk through the woods on the Snapper Pond Trail, also known as the Trail of Thoughts. Along the way, were quotes about nature that MaMa read aloud to us. My favorite was the one by Dr. Seuss:

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing will get better. It’s not.”

It really gave me something to think about as we walked along that short trail through the trees. About half way on the trail we came upon Snapper Pond, and stopped to take a look at some big toads! They were making all sorts of noise! I appreciated the opportunity to sit and take a break. I sit and chill any chance I get!

Eeew, I just saw a toad!
Eeew, I just saw a toad!
Time for another break.
Time for another break.

At the end of the trail we saw three horses being ridden along the Plum Creek Greenway Trail, which is the longest of 5 trails at this preserve, and intersects with the short trail we were on. Levi and I don’t really like horses, so we got out of their way quickly (thanks to MaMa and Pop pulling us away).

Since it was starting to get too hot for me to walk around, and the flies were bothering Levi, we decided it was time to take off, but not before MaMa made us run up a giant hill to get a good look around. I promptly made my way to a shade tree, of course. It really is a nice preserve and we decided we will definitely go back on a cooler day.

Levi taking in the view.
Levi taking in the view.
More shade! I love trees!!
More shade! I love trees!!
Running down the hill with MaMa.
Running down the hill with MaMa.

Since we were already out that way, we stopped at the Crete European Market, where we found a treat man who gave us samples of his yummy dog biscuits. He also made human cookies, which Pop can never resist. MaMa also found a vendor there who sells her favorite local honey. Everyone we passed told us how cute we were. It was a fun stop!

After that Mama decided we should also make a stop at the Park Forest farmer’s market, where she bought some homemade, organic bread and Amish chocolate crinkle cookies, while Pop stayed in the car with Levi and I. Dogs are only allowed in a small section of that market, so staying cool in the car seemed like the best option.

Since it was getting close to lunchtime, we made a quick stop at an A & W drive-thru to pick up some chow. Levi and I didn’t beg for any though. We napped instead!

Time for a snooze. I can curl up on anything!
Time for a snooze. I can curl up on anything!

Once we were almost home, Pop made one last stop at our favorite store in Mokena, I’ll Be Doggone! I love going there and ran like a bullet to get inside! I sniffed every bag of food on the lower shelves and barked at the two dogs behind the counter. Pop bought us a couple of treats before it was finally time to head back. We were almost home when Pop picked up his root beer and the lid came off, splashing both him and I with sugary soda. All MaMa said was, “Good thing I grabbed those paper towels” and for once she was right!


Route 66 Road Trip: Minor Detour

After checking out the oddities outside the Pink Elephant Antique Mall and exploring the adjoining neighborhood, it was time to head back to our motel, eat some breakfast and hit the road. We had another full day of Route 66 adventures planned and wanted to hit the road early. There was so much to see and 148 miles to cover that day! We were going to be driving all the way to Missouri! That was a brand new state for me to visit (only my third state ever), and MaMa had never been there either. She had grown up living so close to the Show Me State, but had never visited it. How exciting that we were going to be able to explore this new territory for the first time, together.

Pop was preparing our breakfast, and MaMa was packing up, getting ready to leave, while Levi Pitboxer and I sat and watched the proceedings. We were all surprised when we heard Pop exclaim, “Oh shit, I forgot Levi’s medicine at home!!”

(Levi was taking a course of antibiotics for an infection and it was very important that he not miss a day of it, otherwise it might end up not working at all, or it could even get worse!)

Levi and I looked at each other, because we rarely heard Pop swear at all! He doesn’t have a potty mouth like MaMa…

“Are you sure? Did you look everywhere?” asked MaMa

“Yes, I looked with all of the dog stuff and with my stuff, in all my bags. It’s not here! We might have to go home because he can’t go a day and a half without taking it.”

We all just sat there for a minute feeling despair at the prospect of having to cut our adventure short.

MaMa and Pop started talking about possible solutions, and at one point Pop even considered driving all the way home and back, but that would have been three hours each way, and wouldn’t have been fun for him at all!  Plus, by the time he got back, we wouldn’t have been able to do much of anything on our Day Two itinerary.

I looked up at MaMa and I could tell she was devastated. She had spent weeks planning this road trip and felt utterly disappointed at the prospect of cutting it short by nearly two days. And then, it was as if a light-bulb went off in her head.

“When I used to work at the Vet, I would sometimes get calls from people asking us to call in their dog’s prescription at a different veterinarian’s office when they moved or were on vacation, and the Docs did it all the time! It’s almost 8:00 now, why don’t I call and see if they will do that?!”

“Hmmmm, you think they’ll do that?” asked Pop, while MaMa nodded. “Well, first let’s see if we can find a vet nearby that they can call it in to.”

They both got on their phones and started looking up veterinarian’s offices in the area, and after 3 failed attempts, MaMa found one that was open and most importantly, willing to fill Levi’s prescription for us as long as our vet called it in!! And the best thing was, it was only about 20 minutes out of our way. How lucky was that? It looked as if our road trip wasn’t going to be cut short after all.

The final step was for MaMa to call our vet and find out if they would call in the prescription for us. As soon as they opened, she called and left a message with the receptionist, who said she would talk to the doctor and get back to us. I sat there with my paws crossed, hoping they would call us back soon. I guess there was always the chance that they’d be too busy, and that we’d have to wait, or that our vet wouldn’t agree to call it in. Finally, after the longest half hour of my life, we heard back from them! They agreed to call in Levi’s prescription!!

We were all so happy and relieved. It was a minor detour and the whole incident set us back an hour or so, but in the long run, it wasn’t that big of a deal. MaMa felt good for keeping a level head and coming up with a solution quickly. Lucky for us all she had experience working at a Veterinarian’s office and knew exactly what we needed to do! Our Route 66 adventure was going to continue as planned!!

Indiana Dunes State Park – Part 1

Unlike today, the weather on Mother’s Day was clear and sunny with ZERO chance of rain. It was a perfect day to pack up the car and head to the Indiana Dunes for a little exploring and some much needed water therapy. I don’t know about you, but every time I’m near a body of water, be it a pond, river, lake or ocean, I feel more relaxed, peaceful and happy. Also, I hadn’t been to the Indiana Dunes since I was a puppy, just barely a year old. Seeing as I was about to turn three, it really seemed like it was past time to go back to the beach!

MaMa and Pops loaded us into the car with all of our gear, which is mostly their gear. Ever notice how many “things” humans need to bring with them everywhere? Phones, sacks, water, snacks, sunscreen, selfie stick, toys (okay, some of it was for us), and on and on. Finally we were ready to go! I slept for most of the ride. There is nothing like a car ride to make me sleepy, and I wanted to rest up for what was sure to be an eventful day! When we arrived, Levi and I immediately checked out the beach and got a good look at Lake Michigan. I love that beautiful view!


IMG_20160508_092944253 (2)

After taking in that amazing view, it was time to get moving. We are adventurers, after all, and don’t visit the beach just to sit around! GiGi is my name, and Adventure is my game!


It was time to get our climb on, dune climbing that is. The first dune we tackled is near the parking lot, and a good starter dune, especially if you want to have an amazing view of the beach and lake.

dune view

lake view

It took a while for me to get up the top, because I have short legs, and I also had to wait for MaMa. She kept saying she was taking it slow for me because she didn’t want to wear me out, but in my opinion, that was just an excuse for her to take breaks! Levi and Pops made it to the top long before we did, but I’m proud to say that we did make it!


After climbing all the way to the top, we decided to take a short rest in the shade. MaMa always makes sure I’m not getting too tired and gives me plenty of time to sit and chill. And of course, every explorer knows you need to stay hydrated, so Pops always packs a travel bowl and brings plenty of water for us to drink.

dune shade

After that long climb, Levi still had a ton of energy and decided it was time to make like a sand monster and go wild! He was crawling and spinning and kicking up sand everywhere. His enthusiasm was contagious and I couldn’t help but laugh along with MaMa and Pops at him, especially when he got a face full of sand!






After some play time, we got to run down the dune, which in my opinion is the best part. A lot more fun than climbing up it, that’s for sure! We had so much more to explore, starting with the lakeshore! But I’ll save the rest of our story for another rainy day…