Bella Bijou’s E Litter, Eight Weeks


Dear Edith, Echo and Elliot,

Thank you for posing for pictures tonight. Maybe tilt your chins up a bit. It was a pleasure.

Dear Emmett,

Seriously? Must you try to engage with our other dogs in the yard as well as that squirrel on the branch while we try to snap your picture? And be so excited about the dog howling two doors down? We know you can hop and twist, clever boy…but can it wait? How charming that you love to leap into my arms, too; hold that thought, and just sit nicely for a fraction of a second.

Love to you all,








and Emmett.


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Bella Bijou’s “E” Litter, Seven Weeks


At her puppies’ seven week mark, Bella is still not opposed to an occasional nursing session. Yes, they have emerging teeth, yes, they eat solid food heartily, and yes, she’s increasingly happy to see them being tended to by others. Still, if she’s not wearing her nipple-blocking pink baby onesie and the puppies are hungry – she obliges.


We’ve had a houseful of family members here this week, with a number of young grandchildren. I feel strongly that all the puppies’ encounters with little ones need to be positive at this stage, so we supervise well, or keep the puppies behind closed doors.  Crying, shrieks while in the pool or on the trampoline – these are fine for the pups to observe, but all direct handling must be positive.










And Emmett. This fellow is camera shy today, and actually, I love presenting them the way they really are, not as mini-models. I have a long photo series of Emmett darting away from the camera, which we think is completely charming.


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Bella Bijou’s E Litter, Five Weeks


Jim and I met in 1974, in a group of mutual friends attending a Grateful Dead concert in Santa Barbara, California. We both grew up in Palo Alto, where Jim’s mother notoriously interviewed Jerry Garcia as a potential guitar teacher for Jim – and rejected him. There was no question that the puppies would be entertained this weekend with the televised “Fare Thee Well” reunion concerts celebrating fifty years of the Grateful Dead experience. They hung on every note, as the photo shows.

Our neighborhood was crazy with Fourth of July fireworks last night. We always host festivities at our home so we can keep our dogs company, a habit that matters to us most when we have puppies. Our adult dogs are all relaxed about fireworks and these puppies were as well, nursing quietly as they listened. I had the puppies out this afternoon when I heard distant thunder too, with a sprinkling of rain as we gathered them inside.

Fireworks, thunder, and a rock concert… an eventful weekend for the little “E”s.


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and Emmett.

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Bella Bijou’s E Litter, Four Weeks


Bella’s puppies are four weeks old. They now have a place in the heart of the home with solid food served three times a day, the attention of our other adult dogs as well as their mama, a toddler’s gentle affection, the clamor of our lively days, and continued abundant love and care.



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and Emmett.

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Bella Bijou’s E Litter, Three Weeks

Happy Father’s Day to our sweet Ren O’Riley, sire of another beautiful litter for us.

We’re thrilled to share our  spring, 2015 puppies, born on May 30, 2015. Bella Bijou of Blue Mountain Cotons and Ren are the parents. There are two tricolor girls and two black and white boys: Edith, Echo, Elliot and Emmett. Bella’s famous cheerfulness makes the mood in our home happy for all; the other dogs are relaxed and she’s both proud and pleased.


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and Emmett.


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Bella’s J Litter, Eight Weeks

IMG_0875e3 We’ve always felt relaxed about including puppies in our family’s entertaining efforts. I particularly remember a wedding reception for seventy five guests, with puppies enjoying visitors from a side room slightly removed from the main event. We hosted a baby shower with puppies gently held by friends and family members while presents were opened. The puppies were a big attraction during the years of teen gatherings. And this afternoon we had an all day family birthday party with puppy holding as a featured activity.

We’re careful to supervise and make sure the puppies have positive experiences. Mostly they love to watch and take in the things that aren’t part of daily life on these occasions: balloons, a large group bursting into “Happy Birthday to You”, women in heels and perfume, punch bowls, loud music, and the crinkling of wrapping paper.

IMG_0653e3IMG_0691e3IMG_0688e3Jolie,IMG_0723e3IMG_0735e3IMG_0732e3IMG_0739e3Jane,IMG_0775e3IMG_0770e3IMG_0758e3IMG_0757e3Junebug,IMG_0789e3IMG_0790e3IMG_0797e3IMG_0801e3and Jackson.IMG_0816e3IMG_0828e3IMG_0822e3IMG_0673e3

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Bella’s J Litter, Seven Weeks

IMG_0509e3I think the makers of small stuffed animals should use Bella’s J puppies as models. They permit people to hold them and maneuver them to their backs, on their sides, upright and looking outward, or held slightly aloft in one hand – and they don’t squirm or move. All we’re missing is the little squeaky sound when squeezed.

Jolie,IMG_0547e3IMG_0533e3IMG_0546e3IMG_0529e3Jane,IMG_0563e3IMG_0568e3IMG_0556e3IMG_0554e3Junebug,IMG_0601e3IMG_0592e3IMG_0588e3IMG_0586e3and Jackson.IMG_0619e3IMG_0614e3IMG_0627e3IMG_0631e3

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Bella’s J Litter, Six Weeks

IMG_0153e3Bella’s J puppies  adore this young granddaughter and reposition themselves constantly in their exercise pen so they can see what she’s up to. She is quite gentle as we hold them one by one and allow little strokes over their backs. She offers her hand for them to sniff.

I meet many children in my stops at local parks or the small shops that welcome our visits. I’m impressed that so many have been taught the importance of a gentle approach, letting the puppy lead the interaction as he’s comfortable. Our baby will need lots of supervision, as all children do.

It’s fun for us to see her enthusiasm for our puppies, though – and theirs for her.

Jolie,IMG_0398e3IMG_0394e3IMG_0390e3Jane,IMG_0404e3IMG_0400e3IMG_0425e3IMG_0413e3Junebug,IMG_0431e3IMG_0453e3IMG_0429e3IMG_0432e3and JacksonIMG_0481e1IMG_0485e3IMG_0486e3IMG_0465e3

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Molly’s L Litter, Nine Weeks

IMG_0229e3The L’s have been brushing up their behavior in preparation for their new homes. Of course they’re rowdy when they play with us or our adult dogs or one another, but they settle well.

Potty training outdoors is the rule now. They come when we call, eat twice a day from individual bowls (not above trying to take a nip from a sibling’s bowl – it’s a work in progress), sleep through a seven hour night in their own crates (unless the puppy is Laddie, sometimes waking in the middle of the night with hopes of joining a sibling, which is fine at this stage.) They follow us as we lead them inside, outside and across the deck. They play sweetly with well-mannered children, which is all we allow, and they know we’ll have our hands under their chins when a child gently pets them, to help them manage those frisky tongues.

Their “sit” is excellent by now and all four are quick to respond. Tonight I helped our granddaughter to signal them, and they responded nearly in unison. (I’ve done this with other toddlers over the years, with puppies and also our adult dogs. Even very young children can be taught to handle them, and dogs can be taught to respond.)

So, are they perfect little angels? Not at all. Their new owners have lots of work ahead of them, but their foundation is solid and that’s always our goal.

Lark,IMG_0048e3IMG_0027e3IMG_0050e3IMG_0025e3Linnea,IMG_0061e3IMG_0060e3IMG_0065e3IMG_0078e3Lottie,IMG_0120e3IMG_0122e3IMG_0115e3IMG_0123e3and Laddie.IMG_0373e3IMG_0369e3IMG_0368e3IMG_0387e3IMG_0194e3IMG_0193e3




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Bella Bijou’s J Litter, Five Weeks

Today the J puppies had their pictures taken outside, and on a low table, both variations from previous portrait sessions. I try for left and right sides and front facing, at least eventually. I like outdoor light, and I need the puppies to feel relaxed and stand naturally. It takes some practice, and it doesn’t happen at five weeks.

I sprinkle small treats on the table surface, I pet and praise them and generally work to make it a positive experience.. It’s confusing for them to hear my voice but to see only the camera.

And unexpected fireworks were a little distracting – it’s always something!

Jolie,IMG_9919e3IMG_9938e3IMG_9934e3IMG_9929e3Jane,IMG_9942e3IMG_9944e3IMG_9947e3IMG_9949e3IMG_9953e3Junebug,IMG_9967e3IMG_9961e3IMG_9975e3IMG_9968e3and Jackson.IMG_9984e3IMG_9990e3IMG_9994e3IMG_0003e3

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Molly’s L Litter, Eight Weeks

I’m glad I wait to form opinions about the puppies’ temperaments until they’re eight weeks old or so. It helps to see them together, but also alone, and in different social situations over the weeks prior. Molly and Ren have fairly relaxed puppies, playful and lighthearted but pretty calm at the core. It’s true for the L litter as well.

Lark is a happy-go-lucky and adventurous puppy. Linnea is gentle and likes to observe before engaging. Lottie is a loveable teddy bear, not easily ruffled, and Laddie is an adoring, affectionate little fellow who will wrestle with his litter mates but would rather be in our laps.

When I scan back over our collection of puppy pictures, I can often identify the individual puppies at a glance. We tend to have “types”: those that resemble our male, Clancy McGee, or black and white puppies that look like our Maddie Mae, and many that have dark tricolor coats and large round eyes. But they’re still unique, and I love trying to pick them out by name. Once I do, I remember their personalities – that’s what really lingers.

Lark,IMG_9787e3IMG_9769e3IMG_9772e3IMG_9785e3IMG_9786e3Linnea,IMG_9814e3IMG_9810e3IMG_9804e3IMG_9800e3IMG_9799e3Lottie,IMG_9858e3IMG_9855e3IMG_9853e3IMG_9857e3IMG_9859e3and Laddie.IMG_9879e3IMG_9874e3IMG_9873e3IMG_9870e3IMG_9913e3IMG_9818e3


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Bella Bijou’s J Litter, Four Weeks

IMG_9741e3Jolie,IMG_9655e3 IMG_9657e3 IMG_9662e3 IMG_9660e3Jane,IMG_9664e3 IMG_9678e3 IMG_9666e3Junebug,IMG_9691e3 IMG_9708e3 IMG_9704e3 IMG_9693e3and Jackson.IMG_9726e3 IMG_9712e3 IMG_9715e3IMG_9738e3 IMG_9733e3 IMG_9743e3

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Molly’s L Litter, Seven Weeks

IMG_9513e3Lark, IMG_9432e3 IMG_9426e3 IMG_9421e3Linnea,IMG_9649e3 IMG_9653e3 IMG_9639e3Lottie,IMG_9621e3 IMG_9630e3 IMG_9452e3 IMG_9459e3and Laddie.IMG_9497e3 IMG_9610e3 IMG_9608e3 IMG_9601e3

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Bella Bijou’s J Litter, Three Weeks

IMG_9374e3Jolie, Jane, Junebug and Jackson are walking well for three week olds. All four are notably sturdy and strong .They’re unconcerned by the typical household life, trying to peer over the edge of the whelping box to watch family members and visitors who bustle by. Bella runs up and down, sociable with the family and attentive to her nurturing duties. I’m setting up a place for the Js downstairs, where they’ll join us this week.


Jane,IMG_9334e3IMG_9333e3IMG_9330e3Junebug,IMG_9346e3IMG_9344e3IMG_9343e3and Jackson.IMG_9352e3IMG_9355e3


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Molly’s L Litter, Six Weeks

IMG_930833I took these photos of Lark, Linnea, Lottie and Laddie in the backyard today just before they settled down for a nap in their shady play area. Through the open iron fences they saw Josh and his retriever, Skip, appear with the lawn mower. Our fourteen month old  toddler guest squealed as she doused herself with the garden hose, the adult dogs roamed around the flower beds, and my daughter and I laughed and talked on the chaise lounges and jumped up to let dogs in or out or to assist the baby. I don’t think the puppies really napped much, but they were good sports throughout.

Lark, IMG_9417e3 IMG_9208e3IMG_9414e3Linnea,IMG_9220e3IMG_9379e3IMG_9222e3Lottie,IMG_9250e3IMG_9255e3IMG_9259e3and Laddie.IMG_9279e3IMG_9290e3IMG_9299e3IMG_9310e3


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