It’s Baaaaack!

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Yes, folks, it is now OFFICIALLY winter here in Chicago. We got a few inches of snow yesterday in the form of large fluffy flakes. Of course the first snow is always the best, especially when the temps are still bearable. You’ll certainly get a polar (pun intended) opposite opinion if you ask me about snow in April, but for now Sid and I are enjoying it immensely. Well, maybe me more than Sid.

Have you gotten any snow where you live yet?

Have Pug, Will Travel – Part 5

We hope everyone had a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Sid certainly got spoiled and will need to exercise all week long to get his waist back! I’m sure he’s looking forward to it.

Anywho, Sid and I are back today to continue the recap of our “Have Pug, Will Travel” (HPWT) road-trip from September. If you need to catch up with earlier installments, here’s Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

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At this point in the trip we were back on the road heading to Traverse City, MI. We took a scenic route that hugged the lakefront led us out to the very tip of the Old Mission Peninsula where we were greeted by a cute lighthouse that was built way back in 1870.

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Sid explored the beach – scanning for treats as usual.

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When he didn’t find any, he decided to do the next best thing and take a dip in the lake.

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The long and narrow peninsula is home to several wineries. We picked up a bottle for the grand-pugrents but since Sid is under 21 years old, he was unable to sample any vino.

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We arrived at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and set up our camp at the Platte River Campground.

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We explored the area around the campground, which was lush with trees, then made some dinner and went to bed early so we’d have plenty of energy for hiking the next day.

After a good’s night sleep, we had breakfast and then headed for the Empire Bluff Trail. It was a very lovely trail that wound through the forest.

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The trail kept slowly ascending and by the end a little boardwalk led us onto a sand bluff that rose up 400+ feet above Lake Michigan! I couldn’t believe how far we could see off into the distance when perched up so high.

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Sid couldn’t believe it either. See how excited he looked?!

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After that breathtaking view we hopped back into our HPWT Home-on-Wheels and followed the route of the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. This “trail” is actually a narrow paved road that winds through the forest and sand dunes and is dotted with a dozen scenic viewpoints where one can pull over, get out, and take a closer look. The concept behind this road is that it permits anyone – even those people that are unable to hike by foot on a rugged trail – to experience the beauty of the nature here.

Lookout points #9 and #10 were particularly spectacular – and extremely windy!

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We had a delicious picnic lunch at the Glen Haven Historic Village, which Sid was pretty happy about. He perked up after chomping down a few tasty b.c.’s. I suppose all that “scenic looking” must be considered arduous work for a pug.

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After our mid-day recharge, we headed to Pyramid Point to tackle another trail.

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Along the quaint tree-covered trail, we saw lots of cool little flowers, a few snails, and even some impressive looking mushrooms!

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And just like the previous trail, this one kept slowly going up. And up. And up.

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All those calories expended on the way up were definitely worth the view we experienced when we reached the point.

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Sid stared out onto Lake Michigan and took time for some deep thoughts. Either that or he was just thinking about ways to hijack the remaining b.c.’s from my backpack.

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At this point we were both ready for dinner so we headed to our campsite for the night which was at the D.H. Day campground.

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Sid wolfed his food down and then proceeded pass out while I relaxed and made some food for myself and lit the campfire.

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The D.H. Day campground was right next to the beach which is what made it superior to Platte River. So of course we couldn’t resist watching another stunning sunset and enjoying twilight time on the beach.

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With the brilliant moon and multitude of stars high above us, we settled in for the night.

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And…the HPWT epic tale will conclude in Part 6 where we visit Holland!

The Spotlight

Leave it to a pug to always find their way into the spotlight — even while napping.

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From Wigzis to Widgets

As you may already know by now, one of Sid’s favorite things ever is his treasured Wigzi treat ball. Each day, when I eat lunch, Sid gets a treat ball stuffed with a couple crunchy treats and dab of peanut butter.

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(Sid and his glow-in-the-dark Wigzi circa 2014)

The only downside to the Wigzi is that even though it is pretty durable, after several months-worth of chomping sessions, it eventually starts coming apart at the seam. Based on Sid’s daily usage, the lifespan of the Wigzi was about 2-3 months.

About a year and a half ago, I discovered that the Wigzi was sadly being discontinued. How could this happen to Sid’s FAVORITE THING ON EARTH?! I searched every online and brick-and-mortar retailer I could but most were already out of stock. However I lucked out at Drs. Foster and Smith, who still had half a dozen left. So I did what any sensible pug dad would do: I ordered every single one of ’em!

Things had been just fine for many months until our stockpile started to dwindle. I emailed the owner of the Wigzi company and he mentioned some kind of deal with Kong that had been in the works. It sounded like the patent for the toy had been sold to the Kong folks. Well, I waited and waited, while Sid’s last Wigzi ball slowly started to show signs of its imminent demise.

But as fate would have it, as soon as the last Wigzi could hold peanut butter no more, I found Kong had released their “Widgets” pocket ball, which is exactly the same thing as the Wigzi, only it was offered in a different assortment of bright colors!

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Of course Sid couldn’t care less who made the ball, as long as it was delivered to him at high noon stuffed with goodies!

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And in true pug fashion, every time he cleans the last morsel out of the pockets he brings the ball over to me, plunks it down at my feet, looks up at me with an expression that says “OK, I’m back for my free refill”.

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Treat or Treat

Hi everyone!

It’s Sid here today. I can’t believe October is already and its end! What happened?!

I mean first it was my Birthday, and then my dad’s Birthday, and then all the leaves started falling down.

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And now it’s Halloween today and I didn’t even get a chance to pull together a costume! Time to recycle one of my old ones…

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So I guess I’m a turtle…but…with two heads? Confusing, I know.

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Best not to think too much about it and instead focus on the TREATS.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Have Pug, Will Travel – Part 4

After celebrating Sid’s 11th Birthday (for two full weeks, per his instructions!) we are back to continue the recap of our “Have Pug, Will Travel” road-trip from September. If you need to catch up with earlier installments, here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

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When we last left you, we had set up camp at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, which is located on the east side of Michigan’s upper peninsula. In the lower falls area, you can row a little boat out to an island that is surround on all sides by several cascading waterfalls. We definitely weren’t going to pass this up!

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After acquiring his sea legs, Sid enjoyed the easy rowboat ride to the island. On the island is a trail that winds around the perimeter so you can get right up close to each waterfall. I made a little video of some of the lovely sights that Sid and I observed.

The shots at the end of video are actually of the giant upper falls. With a drop of nearly 50 feet, it is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi.

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I asked Sid if he wanted to try riding over the upper falls in a barrel, and this was his response:

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There were quite a few sets of stairs around the upper falls that connected the various viewing locations, and even though I had to carry a 24-pound furball up and down each set, the views were totally worth it!

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After a fun day of exploring the falls and some nearby trails, we hopped back into the car and headed south towards the lower peninsula of Michigan. My flat-faced navigator decided to switch to auto-pilot.

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We soon approached the enormous suspension bridge, affectionately known as “Mighty Mac“, that connects both the upper and lower parts of Michigan. I was slightly terrified as we crossed, since the roadway is over 200 feet above the water at the midpoint! Eep!

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Our next stop was Petoskey State Park, where we set up camp. The campground was fantastic, with lots of tree coverage, and a quick walk right to a lovely beach.

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We parked our van, got settled in, lit a campfire, and had some dinner.

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After we filled up our bellies, we headed to the beach as the sun was beginning to set.

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There was a picture-perfect sunset over Lake Michigan that evening.

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The moon was full and bright, making the conditions ideal for some dramatic pug posing.

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After a good night’s sleep, we awoke the next morning and headed straight for the beach!

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There were lots of smooth round rocks on beach. Sid insisted upon sniffing every one in the event that one of them was actually a disguised treat.

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We had a great time exploring the beach and dipping our toes in the soft rolling waves. After we had our fill of sand, we went for a hike on one of the nearby trails: the “Old Baldy” trail. The woods were very beautiful, especially when the soft breeze would make all the leaves flutter.

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I wished we could have stayed another day in Petoskey as the campground and beach were lovely. However we had to get back on the road and make way to our next stop: Traverse City and the Sleeping Bear Dunes! We’ll tell you all about it in Part 5!

Ecstatic to Be Turning Eleven!

Hello everyone! We interrupt our Have Pug, Will Travel recap because today is the best day of year here at Pug Slope because it’s Sid’s Birthday! Woo hoo!

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I can’t believe my little guy is turning ELEVEN today! Instead of the typical apple-based cake I’ve made for him in the past, I assembled three mini towers consisting of a crunchy treat foundation, banana walls, peanut butter ceiling, and strawberry roof.

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Sid could barely contain his excitement as I was making it. There was lots of scrambling around beneath my feet, screeching & whining, and even a few barks to ensure I was putting things together as fast as possible.

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Needless to say he wolfed it down in a matter of minutes and then promptly passed out in his bed. He’s a pug, what more can I say!

Before he zonked out, he said to make sure if you have a pup to give them an extra treat (or five) today to celebrate!