Martha Stewart Littlejohn (birth name ‘Sunflower’) was born on June 20th, 2002 to her mother, a golden retriever named Daisy, and her father, a Burmese Mountain Dog who shared a fence with Daisy. Of her litter of 12 (or 14- we can’t remember), four were blond and the rest black, our dear Martha being the only one who was blonde and blessed with polka dotted paws as well as the gentlest and kindest spirit. Upon arriving at her birth home, the choice was clear. For 50 dollars, we left as a family of three. I’ll never forget how Martha was followed to the gate by her mama who knew it would be her last time with her baby and wondering if Martha would also reflect that kind, protective spirit.  She definitely did.

Martha started out in the family bed but quickly graduated to her own as her size doubled and tripled and her claws in the middle of the night certainly helped with that decision. After a few minor scrapes in the chewing department, Martha found her rhythm within our structure and rose to prominence within our family. Naturally potty trained, we felt comfortable taking her everywhere with us- she went to work with Bradley, to the grocery store and on endless walks and hikes. We read that Goldies need at least two hours of intense cardio per day, so one hour was always on the trail and the other was in the field, throwing the ball with the chuckit. Martha was the kind of girl who loved to chase a ball or stick and she was as in love with the lakes as the land. When time was short, we would take her to Bloedel-Donovan park, which turned into an off-leash park in the off season, and we would throw the ball or stick into the water and she would churn through it with amazing agility to find that stick! She also liked to chase rocks at Whatcom Falls Park by sticking her head under the river water and sniffing around for the right one that we tossed in. If she saw a squirrel, fish, duck or anything, forget about it.  Talk about a dog with an adventurous spirit.  

She and Calvin (our cat) fell in as buddies quickly.  He would groom her and she him.  It was terribly sweet to see them coiled up in bed licking one another’s ears, noses and other places, too😳.  When we got Martha, she was smaller than Calvin so she always deferred to him as the big cheese, even though she outweighed him by 50 pounds when they were full grown!  They would play tag and learned to rely on one another over time.  Early on, Bradley and I gave them alter egos of The Paw and The Claw.  She was good cop, he was bad cop, and I wish we had written some of their misadventures down becasue they were pretty darn funny.  She was also known as the Marvelous Marthetta (paired with The Great Calvino), Beauty, D-O-G (say the letters like a word: Deeohgee), Marf-Marf and can claim to be the inspiration to endless towns in Animal Crossing, to our wifi networks and a myriad of other properties.  When she sang, she was a classically trained opera singer while poor Calvin was always off key and could never carry a tune.  She clearly felt his absence when he passed.

When we weren’t on trail or curled up together growing babies (little sister was on her way within Martha’s first year) Martha went to the warehouse with Bradley. At the time, he was employed at a furniture warehouse with a group of people who welcomed our dear one with open arms. She was so loved there, so appreciated that we think she really thought it was her job. She would follow Bradley around the warehouse while he did this and that and looked forward to going with him daily.  We called her Go Dog Go. After that, it was established: she was a working dog. As Bradley went from place to place, job to job, eventually Martha would end up there with him. She was so sad when he became a stay at home dad and went into a little bit of a depression. Sulking in her bed…  

The changes of kids and moving came at a cost to Martha. No more stuffies, plastic toys were baby’s now, not hers. She adjusted but always seemed proud that her place was ever in the most important bedroom of the top dogs. She was regal, sweet, patient and kind. Guinevere poked her chubby little fingers into her eyes and down her throat and Martha never nipped, growled or even moved away; she simply allowed the abuse to continue until the baby moved on or Bradley or I rescued her. A favorite activity of hers when the kids were young was when Bradley would push the kids around on a stuffed horse or flying around the living room while singing theme music to Superman, Indiana Jones and Star Wars. Hearing her favorite tunes would incite a stampede and Martha would chase us in circles as we careened around the room, everyone in peals of giggles.

As we grew and changed, Martha adjusted. We built a house and she was thrilled to return to the job site, but she was clearly disgusted when the job site became our home and we all moved in. She reigned queen in the neighborhood, fenceless, and made friends with all the passerby. She became an avid hiker in her old age, climbing Little Si, visiting Lake 22, Heather Lake and Wallace Falls in her 12th year. We were so impressed to see her same old enthusiasm and aged, silver snout making its way up the mountains with vigor.  

She will be missed. She was less a dog, less a canine and more of a friend, a sister. She was reliable and kind, always. She never groused or was grouchy. At any moment, she was game for adventure: 6:AM, 6:PM and anytime before or after. She accompanied me to many middle of the night lesson plan preparations into a spooky school without complaint and offered her false sense of protection. We will miss our walks and our family tradition of inclusive Halloween costumes. But mostly, we will just miss loving her in person.  

Martha passed away peacefully on April 22, 2016, two months shy of her 14th birthday.  In dog years she lived to be almost 98.

It was a blessing to spend time with the most grace filled creature we’ve ever met.  She will never be forgotten: our first baby, our sister, our friend.  Our Martha.

Rest in peace, dear Martha.


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Martha 2002-2016


Gigi Said

  • Topless Tapas 2012-11-03 18:44:52-

    Tami was leaving to go out with her friend and the kids begged to go with her. I said, "you don't want to go with mom, she is going to the Tapas bar and we are going to stay here and play games."

    Gigi stiffened, "That's weird", she said as she blushed. I processed fast and realized the problem. "TAPAS bar. It means 'small plate', not TOPLESS bar!"

Jude Said

  • Nicknames 2013-01-04 21:30:33-

    The checker at the store asked our always conversational little boy what his name was. He replied "Jude" then added "but sometimes they call me pumpkin brown". LOL.

    And they are right. We call him that after the folksong that we sing sometimes.

A long time ago…