Kepu is an older male cattle dog and Bella's companion. That's Kepu in the foreground of the photo for this entry. I was taking a picture of Bella lying with her head on one of the "puppies," at the top of a three toy line up, when Kepu casually positioned himself in front of Bella, his front paws between the toys closest to the camera. Kepu is acutely aware of the attention Bella gets for making constructions. He doesn't make constructions himself, but I've noticed that he sometimes lies down in parallel with Bella, or in parallel with one of her straight line constructs. I've even found Kepu lying down in such a way that his body makes one of Bella's line sculpts longer. Recently, I came across a living room tableau in which Kepu had made himself part of a collage-like assembly of cloth toys that Bella had arranged in front of her canvas crate. Bella was curled up inside, while Kepu lay with his tail touching the tail of one of the black pups, the upper part of his body in the sun. It looks to me like Kepu has learned to "see" the visual appeal of Bella's constructions and to use them to his advantage, asserting his dominance and strengthening his emotional bond with Bella at the same time.
The cloth toys which make up Bella’s constructions are mostly plush fleece, and they’re indoor toys, according to the rules of the house. The living room is her favorite spot for sunbathing, playing with her toys, and seems to be the experimental lab for her constructions. Many of her early constructions, or sculpts as I sometimes call them, were made of fleece braids measuring 3 to 5 ft. long, which Bella arranged in single or double loops. If two braids happened to be out, Bella would come up with a construction using both of them -- like a true herding dog, Bella likes to bring the things in her care together. She also has her own ideas about where certain things should be, such as the early Tiger Braid/Zebra Braid Sculpt which Bella chose to place in the middle of the front hallway, and a Two Braid Sculpt made several months later, which she boldly placed in the doorway to the kitchen, the most high value location in the house.
Bella's website is magnificent. Her constructions are becoming more and more intricate and amazing. Her attention to detail stuns me. As an educator, I think about a lesson for first graders. I would show Bella's sculpts to my kiddos and have them create some using multiple toys. The lesson would focus on looking carefully like Bella does, which way do the black deer's feet face and what is the rule for the other toys? Then moving to writing on paper, which way do your d's face,how about p's? Kids would love it. I find the leash sculptures with their loops to be jaw dropping and just wish that I could watch Bella create one. Of course I love the scent training too.
Thank you for sharing Oscars story. I loved it!! Can't wait for the next chapter.
Lance enjoys his walks with his new friend, Bella. Lance does not do anything as creative as Bella's sculptural constructs. However, Lance is GREAT at De-constructions! We can find evidence of his deconstructs all over the house as he carries everyone's slippers around and sometimes chews off the fuzzy cuffs of the slippers, or takes out the insides of his stuffed toys and scatters the remains around!
- Hugs and Licks to Bella,
- Evie and Lance
Thanks so much for sharing Bella's website with me! I'm familiar with Donnie, the Doberman & think it is so cool that Bella's talents are being showcased online!
- Jessica A
You sure must have your hands full, dealing with two such resourceful and intelligent dogs. But what a wonderful gift they bring.
- Steve D
Wow! ACD's are such intelligent dogs and Bella has demonstrated this in such an exceptional way. What a sweet and beautiful girl. And Kepu too! Good luck to you and your wonderful dogs and what a great website you have!
- Maris F
Bella is a lucky girl to have found someone who "gets" her! Is there a talent to chewing up stuffed toys? If so, my dogs are very talented! Great site! Keep it up.
- Cathy Y
I am amazed at your photos and your insight. You could be intuitive to Bella's and other dog's secondary communication. Thank you for sharing! Charlotte, NC
- Susan B
You were number 4 when I googled canine construction...Bella is famous!
- Susan B
What an interesting subject, and what a great dog! Before I read your blog, I had no idea that dogs created or expressed in this way. I am sharing the information with my friends who have dogs.
Sweet- I've never known a celebrity dog with her own website. How adorable she is.
- Heather Kriensky DVM
Website is so sweet. Pretty good pictures and illustrative of the Artist's work. I like it and wanted more. You present it without presumption. Let the viewer see what they see. Feels like a nice invitation to dialogue if others have a similar experience. Good work.
In Dog Sense author John Bradshaw writes about how dogs love their humans and want to please them. Clearly Bella loves her human and has figured out that her constructions please you. What a lovely relationship.
I was fascinated by Bella’s constructs. Before I opened the site I thought, “this is crazy.” But the photographs document something extraordinary and fascinating.
Maybe the camera,maybe Bella knows your scent and it changes when you are happy, maybe she watches your eyes and face for happiness???? Dogs are so amazing and the science behind their amazingness is starting to catch up to what good dog owners have known all along.