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The Dog Blog

This blog is to answer questions, tell the stories behind the photos, and just share the fun!

We Got a Puppy!!

It may sound insane to get a puppy for your dog, but it was obvious that Reilly was loosing patience with Cotton’s constant begging to play. So we got Cotton a puppy.

What is she? At first we referred to her as the Unidentified Furry Object as she had been found wandering the streets in a town south of Roswell, NM. But now we think she is a Chihuahua/terrier mix. The ears look Chihuahua and the face looks like a cairn terrier.

How big will she get? At this time, she is 9 months old and about 7.5 pounds. She stands 8.5 inches tall at the shoulders. We do not think she will get much bigger.

How can I get one? We met her through Small Dog Rescue in Santa Fe. They have adoption days just about every Saturday at various dog stores around town.

How do the other dogs like her? Cotton adores her. Even though he is 4 times bigger than she is, they play and wrestle and chase and carry on for hours. Reilly tolerates her extremely well and plays with her for about 2 minutes a day.

And, what is her name? XOCO! It is pronounced sh-oh-ko or to make it easier zoko. It is an old Aztec word for “youngest sister”. It seemed perfect for the littlest one.

Miss Xoco is making her modeling debut as a troll!??!

And she is mighty good as a mythical creature too.

Our neighbor Sara always entertains us with tales of the gnomes that dwell in her yard, so when she needed some cheering up, Xoco donned her troll suit and did her best. The fact that she has paddle feet and big ears helped tremendously! And being little enough to fit in a log made the job even easier.

I see BIG things in store for the little dog. You can follow the exploits of Xoco in her own words by reading Xoco's Diary.


The number one question I get from everyone is "how do you get your dogs to do that? They are Jack Russell Terriers after all".

What I have discovered after living with Jack Russell Terriers for 20 years, is they will surprise you every day!

My present two seem to realize this is their job. They truly are professionals. They see the camera and the clothes and they know there is work to be done and they wag their tails. Even after a really long day of shoots, they still have smiles on their faces. The photo called Pair of Pros was taken after 6 hours of shooting along the Vegas strip.

But if the clothes come out, say for a fitting, and there is no camera around, they wiggle and squirm and complain.

They are not perfectly well trained dogs. They steal food off of tables. They bicker with each other and sass me. And they will not do a "down" for anything! But they will let me dress them up in the most ridiculous outfits and have fun while doing so.

Our number two question right now is "Who is that shaved Pomeranian in the March Calendar Photo?"

That would be Misha (at right). Misha is also featured in the Eastern section of our photo cards. Misha simply sparkles. And every spring her owners give her a lion cut to keep her cool and clean for the summer months.

Photo Stories

Cotton on the tricycle - We took the dogs to the Adirondacks for 10 days at one of the old great camps. We stayed in sweet little cabins, swam in the lake, and canoed. We also had 14 friends with us and shared stories at night.

One friend noticed this little red tricycle left on the old tennis court. It was small and lonely looking out there. He told us about an emotional memory of his childhood that came back to him recently. He was over come with a longing for someone to just take him on a tricycle ride as a little boy.

The next morning, I took Cotton and Reilly down to the tennis court. I dressed Cotton and picked him up, just to see if he could balance on the seat. He not only balanced, but sat right up and "rode" that tricycle. Later that day we presented our friend with this series, which touched him deeply.

Often the best photos are the ones that I do not plan out.

Reilly's bear hunt - At this same camp was a great room decorated with bear skin rugs, four moose heads, and an assortment of pelts and head mounts. It was prop heaven to me.

I asked permission of the owner and borrowed this black bear rug. We took it outside and along with my husband’s Daisy air rifle and posed Reilly in her golf attire. Why? I have no idea other than the combination sounded absurd enough to work.

Part of the joke is her attire, but the other part of the joke is Reilly is a really feisty hunter of all small creatures. We have to keep her on leash or she will be on something every time we go out the door. Jack Russells are bred for hunting and Reilly has this instinct in spades. She does leave my pet birds alone in the house, but any crickets or mice that cross her path are goners.

Therapy Dogs

Besides being fashionable dogs, both Reilly and Cotton are certified therapy dogs. They each passed their course work with Dog B.O.N.E.S. Therapy Dogs of Massachusetts (www.therapydog.info) and visit residential schools in the Boston area. Reilly visits a school for at risk teenage girls and Cotton goes to a school for deaf teens. Cotton also visits his friend Emily. Emily signs so, Cotton and she can share many secrets. Emily is also a wonderful artist and has done several watercolors of Cotton. Her other artwork can be seen at www.emilymalin.com.

Cotton and Emily "Eye-to-Eye"

Emily Malin's "Dream"

Cotton also spends time with a very fun class of children in New Mexico when he can.

Being a therapy dog has been great for both of them. Both dogs are very aware of the needs of the people whom they visit. They play with the students on happy days and snuggle up with them on not so happy days. The dogs give the students a chance to interact with a loving being and feel safe. Each dog has his or her own visiting bag and when they see it, the tails starts wagging and in Cotton’s case, a little jig of joy is danced.

My Real Father was a Champion

When we mere humans do something that is less than perfect according to Reilly, she gives us a look that says “my real father was a champion”. That is because Miss Reilly comes from a fine line of beautifully bred dogs from Smilin’ Jack Farm (www.smilinjackfarm.com ) in Bluemont, VA. Reilly can be viewed on their “having fun” page as part of the extended family. We love our little Smilin Jack Reilly. She is a lovely girl and has a lot of opinions, but is still very willing to please.

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