Nellie, the World's Cutest Dog, Turns 1 Year Old!

...Okay, so we're a bit biased. But we know that you love our girl just as much as we do, so we wanted to share a bit of this celebration with you!

6 months old Bernese Mountain Dog on porch

As many of you know, the sweet and sassy Vanellope “Nellie” VonQ joined our Run of the River family this past year. She was born on December 3, 2016 and came home to us in late January 2017. She is a beautiful dog with a big personality. She is loving, funny, playful, playfully stubborn, curious, social, and loves to be a part of the family. Our Nellie girl has officially celebrated her 1st birthday so we want to give you a little year-in-review, answer some of your frequently asked questions, tell you more about our favorite pup, and of course, show off lots of photos!

Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy

Nellie looked like a fluffy stuffed toy at twelve weeks old!

1. What type of dog is Nellie?

Nellie is a Swiss Bernese Mountain Dog ("Bernese Mountain Dog" or "Berner," for short), a breed that hails from the Bern region of Switzerland.

2. How much does Nellie weigh?

Nellie is about to tip the scale at 105 pounds! We expect that she may gain another 5-10 pounds in the coming months. She is large for a female Berner, which is exactly what Steve and Jan wanted!

3. How did you pick her name?

The Bollinger family has a long-standing tradition of giving their pets Disney-themed names. Our beloved Fanny’s name was short for “Fantasia,” the classic Disney film. Nellie’s name is short for Vanellope, inspired by the character Vanellope von Schweetz from the Disney animation movie, “Wreck It Ralph.” Everything fell into place with this name and we just knew it was the right fit! Our previous Berner, Fanny, was given the full name Fantasia von Carlsbad, as a nod to her Swiss roots and her first home, Carlsbad, California. The “von” also transferred perfectly to our Bavarian home in Leavenworth! The pieces of the puzzle aligned perfectly and the family was in unanimous agreement that our next pup’s name would be inspired by Vanellope von Schweetz! Officially, Nellie’s full name is Vanellope vonQ, in honor of her litter number.

4. Where did you get Nellie?

Nellie was bred and born in Edgewood, Washington, by the lovely folks at RavenRidge Bernese Mountain Dogs. Her mama is Maija, a champion bloodline Berner. She has three brothers and five sisters from her litter!

Some of Nellie’s Likes:

  • Tom, Ed, and Fred…her smiley face chew toys!

  • Mr. Chicken toy (it's a love/hate relationship if we're being honest)

  • Sprawling out on the cool floor during the summer

  • Cuddling by the fireplace with Jan in the winter

  • Hikes with Steve

  • Meeting other dogs

  • Walking in town

  • Squishing awkwardly up against doors/walls/people

  • Visits with her brothers and sisters

  • Lorena, who helps at the Bollinger house

  • Seeing her (human) family after they’ve been away

  • Smiling when we come home (yes, she smiles and shows off her top teeth!)

  • Sitting in Katie’s lap

  • All her friends at the inn!

Some of Nellie’s Dislikes:

  • The vacuum

  • Being told to come inside

  • When people are sad/injured

  • Suitcases by the door (she knows when we are leaving!)

  • Thunder

  • Sharing attention

We sure are fond of this special pup and we are so grateful for the love you have shown her from the moment she entered our lives. We are looking forward to many great years with the official mascot of Run of the River! Nellie can't wait to greet you on your next visit!

Here is a look at our first year with Nellie in photos. We've included some of our favorite pictures, beloved memories, behind-the-scenes shots, and hilarious outtakes. Enjoy!


The first time you lock eyes...

...and she comes running right to you! *heart melting*

Nine Bernese Mountain Dog puppies right here at Run of the River?! BEST. DAY. EVER.

(Don't worry if you can't find all nine. One or two were always hiding or unwilling to cooperate!)

Can you spot Nellie?

That's our girl with the green bow, posing up top and looking around! She truly seemed to know from the very start that this was home and we were her family.

Nellie's first official photoshoot to announce her arrival at Run of the River! It definitely took a bit of coaxing! We quickly got the shot and scooped her right back up!

Nellie LOVED to be carried/snuggled. She would just melt into your arms.


Learning all about her role as ROTR's Official Mascot and Goodwill Ambassador.

Everyone's favorite Valentine!

Nellie's favorite part of photoshoots has always been running to Katie (behind the camera).

And we couldn't do it without a little help from Aaron (Steve & Jan's son).

MARCH 2017:

Learning to walk on a leash in town! If we're being honest, it was mostly carrying her and stopping for her adoring fans!

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Meeting neighbor dog Stella for the first time! We'll just say one of them was a little more excited than the other (spoiler alert: it was Nellie).

Any time is play time when you're a puppy!

Ever the professional, she always manages to get the shot!

APRIL 2017:

Four months old and suddenly she thinks she's smarter than us!

It's always a celebration with this gal!

MAY 2017:

Happy Maifest! Nellie was still a little young to walk in the Leavenworth Maifest Parade, but we got her a garland to honor the tradition. Next year she'll be there to meet all her fellow Berner friends!

JUNE 2017:

Official website photos with mom and dad!

AUGUST 2017:

Nellie is great friends with Bob next door!


Quite the regal pup!


While the inn was adorned with pumpkins, we would often find Nellie creating her own collections of the tiny gourds.


We told her to pretend she was posing against a backdrop at a mall studio...and she nailed it! (We are all still in disbelief that we get to call this beautiful place home!)

Time for a rest and snack break!

December 2017:

"I'm HOW old now?!"

We've come a long way from this tiny fluff ball! Still as sweet and sassy as can be...just in a much bigger package these days!

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