Introducing Portland (aka Blue’s baby brother).

Why does she keep referring to this place called Portland?

I admit it. I have been too blasé in “officially” introducing our new puppy, Portland. What’s even more shameful is that it took a proper scolding from my mom to realise it. Following me on twitter and reading my blogs (thanks mom!), she wrote me an e-mail chastising me for not making a bigger deal out of him when talking about my actual travels. As she wrote, “I would be thinking, do you love Portland less? It’s always Blue and I this and Blue and I that.” Ouch!

Of course, she had a point and it’s definitely not because I love the little guy any less. . .it’s just a bit like a puzzle.

‘How could introducing your new puppy possibly be like a puzzle?’, I hear you asking.

Portland, as an eight week old black lab and half-brother to Blue (they have the same father), joined our family the week before the launch of Chien Bleu in August of 2011. This was somewhat awkward in that I had spent the past year officially building the business around Blue, who was the inspiration. Up until that point, all of our travels had been Blue, me and my hubby Ray. After Portland arrived, hotels still needed to be road-tested. Portland, however, a feisty little pup, was not yet ready to join us. So, Blue and I carried on ourselves whilst Portland stayed behind with Ray. So, now I had a puppy that was not yet old enough to travel, but I still needed to travel. Fortunately, for Blue, it was a good thing.

It is not an understatement to say that Blue despised Portland when he first arrived. (My mom told me not to use this word, but it honestly was utter disdain. Sorry, mom!) Blue constantly had this look about him that clearly read ‘When is this thing leaving’? Portland dared to play with toys Blue hadn’t touched in years, received attention that could have been spent on Blue, and even had the bravado to get an extra meal during the day. Blue was not happy, so the trips with just him were important in reminding Blue that he was still just as important.

For a few months, the trips carried on with Blue, but, over this period, Blue grew more and more excited to get home. Sure, there were still moments where Portland annoyed Blue, but this little thing was actually turning out to be quite fun. Blue could tussle with him, play tug of war and even be chased (his favourite game of all time) – I was no competition in this arena. Blue and Portland were becoming best of friends despite Blue’s best efforts and Blue was now starting to miss Portland when apart.

With Blue and Portland now best of friends and Portland finally “of age”, we set off on our first trip as a complete family – me, Ray, Blue and Portland – just before the holidays. You could see Blue and Portland plotting about everything they were going to get up to and Blue getting Portland quite excited about the idea of travelling. What a trip it was!

Importantly, this is how it will be from here on out. . .the four us travelling together. The name, Chien Bleu, will remain in homage to Blue. He was, after all, the inspiration and trying to change the name now just wouldn’t seem right.

So, no, I don’t love Portland any less nor do I ditch him to take Blue with me. Stay tuned for our adventures.

– Erin, xx

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