Ortino, what makes you think that Alexis didn’t get Joy before 1914? My feeling is that the 2 photos from Livadia (the one with Joy and the other one with his parents) were taken on October 4, 1913. Why? Because on that day, the Imperial Family celebrated the regimental holiday of the Emperor’s Own Cossack Escort by going to the Cossacks’ barracks for a review and later coming back to the Palace for a holiday luncheon, as recorded by Nicholas II in his diary. It was customary for the Emperor to wear their uniform on that occasion. As Alexis also is wearing the same uniform, it must have been for a special occasion related to the Cossack Escort. They did go back to Livadia in Spring 1914 but I can’t think of any similar occasion then.
I unfortunately don’t know when the Tsarevich got his dog. But on October 5, 1913 Nicholas II wrote that “Alexis received his gifts in our bedroom”. October 5 was Alexis’ namesday. Before the Revolution, a namesday was more important than a birthday: gifts and congratulations were offered on one’s namesday. What if Alexis had received an early present on the day before – a dog! – so the photo taken on the terrace that day would be the first taken with his new companion?
By then it seems his injured leg was much better. When they arrived in the Crimea that year (on August 9) Alexis still couldn’t walk. I have a newsreel taken on that day and he can be seen being carried by Derevenko. Nicholas II records that he started his mudbaths on August 20. According to Gilliard, they helped a lot as he was soon able to walk again, albeit with a limp, as seen on other newsreels from late 1913-early 1914.
There’s a photo of the last Emperor’s Own Cossack Escort’s regimental holiday, taken at Stavka on October 4, 1916 a few months before the Revolution. http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/romanov/oneITEM.asp?pid=1000063&iid=1000063&srchtype=
Nicholas II and Alexis can both be seen wearing the Escort’s grey field uniform and the long Cossack dagger called kinjal (with a sword on the side)…a true Cossack was always armed to the teeth! I have also seen a movie shot at that time.