Happy 2nd Birthday to the World's Cutest Dog!!

Oh yes, we're at it again! We can't help but celebrate the second birthday of the best dog in the world (we are willing to admit slight bias here). But we can't think of a better mascot & greeter for Run of the River, nor a better fluffy four-legged friend to all of us human folks.

Nellie is full of so much spunk - she is curious, loving, funny, attentive, stubborn, smart, and full of so much joy! She gives a big smile and a warm cuddle to everyone she meets.

Nellie has avoided the "sophomore slump" and has instead enjoyed a year that rivals her first! She went on countless hikes, celebrated tons of holiday, met lots of new friends, went on multiple trips, and even appeared in her first wedding!

We know that you have all come to know and love Nellie just like we do, so we want to share some highlights and behind-the-scenes memories from Year 2! We'll briefly take a moment to answer a few frequently asked questions, and then onto the gratuitous cuteness overload of Nellie photos!! (It's okay to skip ahead if you know that's why you're here).

Nellie FAQ:

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 weighs just over 100 pounds! She is now full-grown and 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, "Q."

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!

Without further ado, a year in review:

December 2017:

Nellies LOVES going into town with Steve, and the festivities of the holiday season give her plenty of opportunities to meet new friends. She is so well-behaved and gentle with kiddos and they seem to absolutely love a just-my-size pup.

January 2018:

Nellie ushered in 2018 with a beautiful sunrise walk around Blackbird Island. This girl knows how to make the best of every day!

February 2018:

Someone was really enjoying an extra-snowy February...

March 2018:

...and March brought more of the same. That's one happy pup!

March also brought a visit from Katie, and Nellie had to prove to everyone that she still fits ever-so-comfortably in her lap. It's hard to tell who is more excited here!

April 2018:

April brought a new friend into Nellie's life with the arrival of the spring decor and a giant Easter Bunny. At first they seemed like BFFs! But Nellie had to make sure that bunny knows who's the boss around here. As far as we can tell, they are still on good terms. We'll let you know how it goes next spring.

May 2018:

In May, Nellie got to hang out with the ladies of Yellow Co. while they stayed at the inn for a few nights during their Airstream-sponsored Pop-Up Conference Tour up and down the West Coast! She loved getting to be one of the girls and let all of their good vibes and sunny energy rub off on her.

Lest we forget Nellie's first time celebrating Star Wars Day (May the 4th...be with you), take a peek at the photo below! As a member of the Bollinger family, she has become a certified movie-buff and of course loves Star Wars. (Her favorite is Episode VI "Return of the Jedi," because of the ewoks, naturally).

June 2018:

Nellie loves when her human family comes to visit. Here she is in a staring contest with her brother, Aaron:

June is a beautiful time of year to enjoy some trail hikes before it gets too hot. When we have a late snow season, you might even get to see some views of snowy peaks at the start of summer. We can't say for certain what it is that Nellie loves about hikes, but she always seems to be downright blissful!

July 2018:

America's Sweetheart...

August 2018:

During the warm summer months, Nellie loves taking early morning walks into town with Steve to visit her friends at Argonaut Espresso. A walk around Blackbird Island is always a go-to favorite.

September 2018:

In September, we began preparing Nellie for Oktoberfest (Alpine hat and all!). She didn't seem too thrilled about the idea, especially when we told her she wasn't allowed to go into the beer tents. This is one thing that is not for the dogs.

September also brought other preparations: Steve made Nellie a leafy garland to practice for the floral garland she would wear in her (human) brother's wedding in November! We promise she's not irritated...she is just so agreeable that she hardly even noticed it was on.

October 2018:

In October, Nellie made her first jack-o-lantern. She got off to a slow start...

...but eventually created an uncanny self-portrait! She can be such a showoff.

She even seems astounded by her own handiwork (which was not assisted by Steve at all, literally not one bit. We promise.)

November 2018:

Nellie took her first big road trip down to Palm Springs, California. She was living her best life in the beautiful sunshine, surrounded by all of her favorite people, while celebrating the wedding of Steve and Jan's son, Aaron, to Katie (both of their faces might look familiar if you have stayed at the inn!). She was the most perfect "flower pup" and received all of the "oohs," "ahhs," and hugs you can imagine.

Nellie is a professional "inn dog," so she fit right in at the stunning Korakia Pensione. She made sure the grounds looked perfect, and greeted the guests each morning.

She hung out at the reception with all of her friends and slept through the ceremony after walking down the aisle.

Above and below photos by the amazing Jenna Bechtholt Photography.

December 2018:

This December, Nellie has already enjoyed the Leavenworth Tree Lighting festivities and looks forward to a few more exciting weekends before Christmas! She may have even had a meeting with St. Nick himself (stay tuned!). We can't wait to see what other holiday mischief she gets into this season.

On December 3, 2018, we celebrated our favorite girl. Here's to many more years of spunk and sweetness! We love you, Vanellope von Q!

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