Our Available Dogs

Rocky is a 4 year old, 45 lb., male Australian cattle dog. He is a classic cattle dog in just about every sense. He is a velcro dog who will bond closely with his people, and has his own unique personality traits that will make you laugh, touch your heart, and sometimes challenge your brain. We are seeking people who live in a quiet, non-urban setting, who are very familiar with this breed, and who can help our boy become more confident.

Once he is settled in a home, Rocky is just a love. He is sweet, tender boy who loves cuddles. He will sleep through the night on his dog bed in the bedroom. In the morning when he knows you are stirring, he likes to crawl into bed with you and put his face next to yours until you are ready to get up.

Rocky loves soft plush toys and tosses them up in the air for himself. He never chews anything in the house other than his dog toys. He is also very much a ball dog, who loves to play fetch. His favorite thing is a squeaky Kong tennis ball. To get your attention or to play with him, he will squeak it repeatedly. Rocky is also the social distancing police. If family members get too close for a hug or kiss, Rocky will run for his squeaky ball and squeak it incessantly until you stop and move apart.

Rocky is very motivated by food. One of his favorite things is his “snack time” when he gets some treats after returning from a walk. He also becomes super excited and gets the zoomies, dashing around with glee, when he smells barbecue on the grill. He goes wild for the smell (and samples please) of barbecued meat of any kind. Cooking any other food does not get the same reaction from him.

He is much more at ease when meeting women than men. His preferred person and strongest bond will be with a woman. At his foster home, Rocky is a mama’s boy through and through. He is fine with men once he knows them, and loves his foster Dad. However, if Rocky’s foster Mom is at home, and his foster Dad tries to take Rocky for a run with him, Rocky will whine and cry, and pull to return to the house. If his foster Mom is not home, Rocky is fine going out with his foster Dad. Once, when his foster Mom was away all day, Rocky laid by the front door the entire time waiting for her return.

He can be distrustful of strangers, especially men, and may take a few moments to warm up. If he is outside loose, he will bark at people who make him nervous and then run from them. On occasion, he has barked at male strangers who have reached down to pet him. When he is on leash and connected to his person, he is much more confident and comfortable meeting new people. If someone he knows wants to pet him, he has a silly move, and will quickly swing his butt around and sit on that person’s feet to be petted. If he thinks he might be able to get a belly rub, he will enthusiastically throw himself on the ground with a loud flop.

Taking long hikes with his people each day, similar to pack walks, has been a bonding experience for Rocky and his fosters. He routinely takes 10 mile hikes and it is his favorite activity. He would need to walk a minimum of three miles a day to stay calm and happy. He wears a harness on his walks or hikes, and is excellent on leash. When walking in silence for long periods, Rocky sometimes feels a little insecure and will fall behind. If you give him a little hug or cuddle to reassure him that all is fine, he will perk up again and trot on ahead. On hikes in open space, Rocky has had to walk past cows grazing or standing very nearby. He becomes very excited, wiggly, and bouncy at the smell and sight of cows. He’s a cattle dog, after all!

He is good when meeting other dogs on walks. Rocky enjoys meeting females, and is usually fine with males, but sometimes he can become tense with another male. Noisy small dogs annoy him, but he is otherwise fine with them. Rocky completely adores puppies! He will flop down on his side or on his back to lick and play with them. He is very soft and gentle with puppies and lets them sniff and climb on him. His fosters also saw his sweet, caring nature when he first arrived to be fostered. A day or two before Rocky arrived, masked intruders had invaded the property where the fosters lived, terrifying everyone. When Rocky arrived shortly thereafter, as a thin, malnourished, rescue with a broken jaw, he sensed that people were upset or sad, and tried to comfort them.

Currently, Rocky knows several commands: sit, stay, come, leave it. He is completely housebroken, and will let you know when he has to go out. He may stand in front of you and touch your leg with his nose, or come up to you and nudge you. Rocky is not crate trained and will cry if confined in a crate. He loves going for rides in the car. If you say “Want to go for a ride?” Rocky will run outside and wait by the car.

It almost goes without saying that Rocky is an incredibly smart dog. He is also a very sensitive soul, who will need reassurance and reinforcement from his people that he is a good dog and won’t be punished. Rocky is very polite in the house, and has moments when he is very happy and confident, but he is also conflicted. He gave in to the temptation of bread left near the edge of the counter. After jumping up to get it, he brought it to his foster Mom, with his head and tail down knowing he should not have taken it, and when she said “Rocky, no” he cowered under the table. She then tried to tell him he was ok, giving him a treat for bringing it to her, and to let him know he wouldn’t be punished.

Rocky is afraid of children, and especially groups of children. If he sees or hears them he will whimper and cry, and try to hide under something. When he is on leash and with his person, he will feel confident enough to meet an individual child. He is more confident if his person also touches his shoulder and/or talks to him in a reassuring way. Based on his reactions, his foster mom believes that Rocky may have been abused by children and men. We believe that in his previous life, people threw things at him. If you pick anything up from the ground, he will cower in fear. You must offer to let him smell everything you pick up to let him know it won’t be used to harm him.

Because he is a cattle dog, he is a thinking dog, who often has his own ideas and can be stubborn about what he wants. On hikes, he sometimes doesn’t want to take a path that his people want. Rocky will plant himself down and refuse to move in that direction, and will not be lured by treats. If you go the way he has decided against, he will try to herd you back. However, he can be tricked by throwing a ball or stick in that direction, which he will chase.  Also, the only time he may not be eager for a walk is if he get a new toy to play with. He will not want to go very far, because he is eager to return home to play with his new toy.

Rocky does have the desire to chase things that move quickly. This includes squirrels, birds, deer, cats and cars. For this reason, we don’t recommend Rocky in a home with cats. He seemed to be fine on a sidewalk in a suburban neighborhood, when cars passed at a moderate speed, not immediately alongside him. But, if a vehicle is moving fast, and/or very close (just a few feet away), Rocky will be tempted to try and chase it. For this reason, he should be on leash when on walks, and we do NOT recommend him for homes in urban or busy suburban areas.

If you If you are interested in meeting Rocky, please begin by completing our adoption form at the Adopt link in the blue bar above: http://hittgv.org/index.php/adopt. Download and print the form to be completed. If you have questions, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or leave a message at (707) 583-9583.

Luke is a classically handsome, purebred, blue Australian Cattle Dog. He is approximately 7 years old and weighs 50 lbs. As a very sweet, happy guy with an easy going nature, and moderate energy level, Luke would make a great companion. He loves playing with other dogs, and acts like a goofy adult puppy.

He may be a special needs guy, as he has hip dysplasia on both sides and bit of arthritis. However, it doesn’t seem to slow him down. He loves to wrestle and run with other dogs. We are giving him joint and other supplements to help with any possible arthritic issues, and to improve his overall nutrition. We are still working with the vet for a full physical work up.

Luke has many of the attractive qualities about his breed. He has a personality that will make you laugh. He wants his very own people to bond with, and is very affectionate. Luke wants to be near his person, but is not pushy about it. He will follow you and is happy to be in the same room with you. Luke will roll over to ask for belly rubs and to ask you to pet him. If you need to leave Luke home alone, he will crate easily with a treat or toy. Although he doesn’t prefer it, he is fine being left alone in a crate, and seems to know to relax in a crate. He may bark initially for a minute after you leave, and then stop. Alternatively, he would be a good dog to take places with you, as he seems to enjoy car rides. Luke rides nicely and quietly in a car. If you have a crate in the car, he will also get into the crate and lie down. Luke is also completely housebroken and crate trained. He will go into his crate if you tell him Nighty-Night and point to it. He sleeps in his crate, and is quiet all night.

He is a super curious and interactive guy who seems to be seeing and figuring out everyday things for the first time. Whenever any drawer, cabinet or the refrigerator is opened he just has to stick his nose in it to investigate. When told to stop, he gets this goofy, happy look that says “but why??” He just wants to be involved, observing and being included in everything that people do. His foster took him to the beach for very likely the first time in his life, and it was clear to her that Luke couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He rolled in the sand, played, explored, and decided he didn’t like the taste of ocean water!

When we first met Luke, he had been bounced around a bit. He was basically unsure of new people. He ignored me and wouldn’t make eye contact. When I offered him treats, he gobbled them up and then poked my leg with his paw to ask for more. After a few weeks at his quiet, calm, all adult foster home, Luke seems to now feel secure and is more confident when meeting people. His foster mom says that with each day he seems to feel better - happier, calmer and more confident. However, unknown people rushing up to meet him, may still unnerve him, and he may let out a startled bark at them to back off.

Luke is good on leash walks if he is the only dog. He will walk at your side nicely and does not pull. He likes to sniff and investigate things along the way. If walking with another dog, Luke will zig zag during the walk, we believe due to excitement. He also has a habit of taking the leash in his mouth and chewing on it, which his fosters are working on.

He loves balls and playing catch. Luke also loves squeaky toys, and chewing on Nylabones. He is a very strong chewer. Fortunately, other than his leash, he seems to know to only chew on his toys and not other household items. Luke does NOT demonstrate strong herding tendencies, but he can get mouthy when playing and excited.

Luke also loves food and treats, and will beg when people are eating. He has been caught counter surfing if food is around. It is best to keep the temptation out of his reach.

He wants to please his people, and being extremely food and affection motivated, he learned several commands in a short time:  sit, down, off, shake, wait, come, nighty-night (for going into the crate or bedtime). It may take him a little while to figure out routines, and things such as, another dog doesn’t like him barking in their face (see 3 paragraphs down), but once he learns, he does remember it.

Luke loves other dogs. He wants to play with all the dogs he meets. When meeting people with dogs, Luke will focus on the dog and try to get them to play with him. We don’t think he was socialized very much in his past life, and he doesn’t seem to understand social cues or that some of his actions are considered rude by dogs and people. He truly does not have a mean bone in his body, but he has no concept of politeness. Luke does NOT have any resource or food guarding behaviors with people or dogs. He likes to play ball, and if another dog competes for the ball, he will step back and let the other dog have it.

Luke can annoy or scare other dogs with his “no filters” way of wanting to meet and be friends. He will eagerly rush up to a dog and being super interested to meet, he will intrusively sniff and poke them with his front paw to invite them to play. If they growl or snap at him, he will leap back, and then try again. He is the same with small dogs, and does not know that his play style can be too rough for them. His behavior is similar to a puppy who doesn’t yet understand signals from other dogs.

It took about two weeks for Luke to stop being a pest to his cattle dog foster sister. At first, he thought standing in front of her and barking would entice her to play with him. He was unable to read her annoyed body language. If she snapped at him, he would jump back, and then return and bark again. He is no longer desperate for her to play with him all the time. He is happy to relax near his foster mom while she works, with a few play sessions wrestling and playing chase with his cattle dog foster sister.

We were told that Luke originally came from a home with three children under the age of 7-years old. Since Luke is now seven years old, this means that his original people got him as a small puppy, and almost immediately began having babies as the center of their focus. As a result, for the first seven years of his life Luke didn’t receive the time, attention, socialization or training he needed.

When on walks, Luke becomes agitated when encountering small children on skateboards, scooters, tricycles, or in strollers. He will lunge and bark at them. However, he is not reactive when seeing adults on wheels. We do NOT recommend him in a household with young children. He seems fine with older children (9 years or older). He does completely ignore the sounds of young children in the yard next door at his foster home. We were told that Luke is fine with cats. Our foster has also observed that he does not seem to have much interest in cats.

Our boy does have an impressively deep bark. During a transition to a new place, he may initially bark a bit out of insecurity and to seek reassurance, especially if he cannot be in the same room with people. Once settled in, he will be fairly quiet, and only bark on certain occasions, such as if strangers approach or are around the house. If in a home with another dog, he may still sometimes bark for a few seconds to get the other dog’s attention, or to ask a new person to play with him.

We are seeking a calm stable home for him, where he will be given the care, attention, and opportunities to explore fun places, all of which this sweet, gentle and happy soul richly deserves.

If you If you are interested in meeting Luke, please begin by completing our adoption form at the  Adopt bar (link) above. Download and print the form to be completed. If you have questions, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or leave a message at (707) 583-9583.

Miso (ADOPTION PENDING!) is a happy girl, who loves all people, and is a joy to be with. She embraces all that life and the world has to offer. Her tail often wags like a propeller in her enthusiasm for any activity with her humans. We estimate that she is 2 years old and at 55 lbs., we believe she is a cattle dog and possibly shepherd mix. 
She is a moderate energy girl, but does need at least a good one hour, several mile long brisk walk, or running session, in the morning. Currently, she and her fosters often take several long walks a day, sometimes covering up to 13 miles in a day. Once she has had her exercise, Miso is a mellow girl, who is content to spend most of the day lounging around with you while you cook, do household chores or desk work. Miso is happiest when with people, but she is not needy. In the evening when the family is watching TV, she likes to snooze while resting her head on someone, or curl up so she is touching you. Besides loving to be in the house with her people, Miso loves her bed. He fosters placed her bed in their bedroom next to theirs. When they tell her “Go to bed,” she will enthusiastically bound up to the bedroom and happily throw herself onto her bed and stay there quietly for the night.
When at home, if the doors are open and she is given the choice to be inside or outside, she will choose to be inside, sometimes she enjoys being just inside the open door and looking out. When left freely in the house alone, Miso does not chew or destroy anything. She does like chewing on raw knuckle or marrow bones and rope toys, but does NOT chew on anything that you don’t give her.
During car rides, she sits very nicely and quietly in the back seat. She seems to enjoy watching the world go by in the car. Miso is generally a quiet dog, unless there is something to bark at (another dog, or someone at the door). She may whine if you are standing around with her too long on a leash and she is bored and wants to be on her way. If she knows you are leaving her alone, she may whimper a little.
Miso is the great combination of a highly intelligent, thinking dog, who very much wants to please her people. If she knows what you want her to do, she will try to do it. Currently, she knows Sit, Look at me, and Go to bed. She is also housebroken, and has done all her business outside when taken out. If the door is left open, she will go out on her own.
Miso shows her herding tendencies in only the mildest ways. Cattle dogs often use their paws like hands. Miso will gently touch you with her paw when she wants some attention, or for you to increase in your level of attention. The only time she does any mouthing on human hands, is when she is having her belly scratched, and she may softly take your hand in her mouth, to fondle it. 
She is always excited to go on walks and share her outdoor experience with someone. She walks nicely with a “loose leash” and does not pull, unless her prey drive is triggered. She will pull if she sees a squirrel or a cat to chase. The only other time she may pull is when she sees another dog coming. In her excitement to communicate with the dog across the street, or to meet, she may pull and give out a high pitched stress bark. Miso is a very quick study. Her foster mom is working with her to “Look at me,” when Miso sees another dog, and our girl is quickly learning to ignore dogs passing by, and to look to her person for a treat. However, if not distracted soon enough from another dog, she may begin pulling.
When Miso was at the shelter she was so good meeting with other dogs that they used her as a helper dog in dog-to-dog behavioral evaluations. Since her arrival, we have observed that she has been a little growly and argumentative when seeing some dogs across a street or meeting some (but not all) dogs. If her foster mom tells her No, Miso will stop immediately. She has been in heat since the shelter released her to us, and we suspect this grumpy behavior may be due to her hormones. As time passes, she does seem to be improving when seeing other dogs. She has an appointment to be spayed when her heat cycle is finished.
Because she loves being with her humans more than anything, and is not very interested in interacting with other dogs, she may do best as an only dog. But, she would likely eventually be fine with another dog in the same home. During her first week at her foster home, Miso would occasionally growl at her easy going, senior, canine foster brother if he entered a room she was in. Now, they sometimes nap together. She has NOT shown any resource guarding behavior with other dogs or humans. Because of Miso’s desire to chase cats, squirrels, and probably other wildlife, we do not recommend her for homes with cats or free range poultry.
Miso's foster mom will miss her when she is adopted, and said "Whoever gets her will be lucky beyond measure...the only thing she needs to keep working on are her dog responses, other than that she is perfect!"
If you are interested in meeting Miso, please begin by completing our adoption form at this link: http://hittgv.org/index.php/adopt. Please download and print the form to be completed. If you have questions, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or leave a message at (707) 583-9583.

Charlie (ADOPTION PENDING!) is a 7 month old, 33 lb., border collie/McNab mix. He is a sweet boy with a soft personality, who loves to play ball, and hang with his people. When Charlie is familiar with someone, and knows they are friends, he adores them and will celebrate their arrival with a happy puppy greeting. He would thrive in a quiet, adult-only home, as a companion for a person or couple. He needs life in a quiet setting, with experienced people who are patient, and will go slow in gradually helping him gain confidence around new people. Charlie is great when meeting other dogs and loves to play with them. He would do well in a home with another dog who he can learn from.

However, Charlie is very fearful around people he doesn’t know. He can become very reactive when a stranger approaches him directly or quickly. We suspect that he was traumatized and terrified as a small pup. He is very mouthy when he is nervous, scared or excited. If he becomes panicked and/or feels threatened, his mouthiness can escalate to hard nipping. At home, if strange people approach the house, he will bark in alarm. If he is calmly and positively introduced to new people (with treats), he will be fine. Strangers should be seated and have tasty treats to communicate that they are not a threat to him.

Once he knows you, he is very playful and loving. During his first visit to the vet, being with people he trusted, Charlie was very calm and friendly. After a treat from the nurse, he willingly went off with her. Because he was with people he trusted he seemed to feel safe in a new situation and with the new people.

Charlie is a very alert, observant, highly intelligent dog, who learns new things quickly. In just one week he has learned several commands. He has excellent eye contact and checks in with you frequently. All training with Charlie must be rewards-based, positive reinforcement. Negative corrections or punishment-based training methods will NOT work and will achieve the opposite of what you want. Currently, when he hears a firm NO, he becomes terrified and begins racing around the house and leaping over furniture. DO NOT try a “Cesar Millan” approach with Charlie!

In a calm situation, Charlie is very playful, relaxed and happy. He is interactive and loving with people he knows. In the house, he is quiet and follows people around to see what is going on, and generally interested in everything. If he is on his bed and you leave the room, when you return, he is in the same spot. If he follows you to the door and is left behind, he will be by the door when you return. He enjoys gnawing on chew toys and treats that you give him, and does NOT chew on anything else in the house. Also, he is NOT a digger. At night, he sleeps quietly through the night on his bed.

As a border collie/McNab pup, Charlie is an energetic, curious, playful dog, with a busy brain. He is NOT a dog for apartment life or being left alone during the workday. He needs a few daily sessions of fetching the ball around 50 times, and a few good long walks each day. When finally tired out, he will nap at your feet, or happily relax in the same room with you.

We can see that Charlie has not been exposed to very much in his prior life. He needs new positive life experiences, to learn more about the world. This pup walks nicely on leash and loves walking out on trails. He is also completely housebroken, and will come to you and gently mouth your arm to let you know that he has to go out. Since car rides have meant scary changes or a vet visit, Charlie is sometimes a little worried when in cars. He needs consistent, good associations with car rides. We do not recommend him around cats or chickens, as he wants to chase.

During walks, Charlie is not concerned about seeing strangers, unless they come close. He can be distracted with treats, before strangers come within his threshold distance of “too close” and will need work to learn to associate people approaching with something good. When people come too close and trigger his fear, he will bark, growl and pull.

When he feels safe and secure at home and with his people, Charlie is a very loving and faithful companion. He needs very experienced, patient, loving people with a quiet, calm situation, and who have the willingness and understanding to work to help him learn to overcome his fear of new people. Charlie would do best in a quiet home in the country. His nightmare scenario would be a busy urban area, on streets bustling with people and fast moving vehicles whizzing past just a few feet away.

If you are interested in meeting Charlie, please begin by our process by going to this link:  http://hittgv.org/index.php/adopt, to download and print the form to be completed. If you have questions, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or leave a message at (707) 583-9583.

Rusko (ADOPTED!) is 10 years old, and weighs 53 lbs. We believe that he is mostly an Australian kelpie and boxer mix. He is a moderate energy and young-at-heart guy. Rusko is very friendly, with a very sweet, balanced nature and would be a perfect companion for almost anyone.

Although he is friendly with both men and women, Rusko seems much more comfortable and responsive with women than men. Rusko is happy, good natured, and very much wants to please. Besides his person, his favorite things are playing ball/fetch, going out for walks, and rolling around on the grass. He loves meeting new people, and does so very politely. He will NOT jump up, but will excitedly wag his tail and lick a new person’s hand for a few moments.

Rusko adores balls and fetching, and for an older dog, he has a lot of playfulness in him. He currently gets an hour long walk, both, in the morning and the evening. When home from his walk, Rusko is is full of happy energy and wants to play ball. If you are busy, he will self entertain and throw the ball for himself. Our boy is a bit ball obsessed, sometimes holding a ball in his mouth during his walks, and even when sleeping.

Rusko is the perfect gentleman and a very balanced, calm dog. In the first days at his foster home, Rusko was fine relaxing on his own in the living room, but after getting to know his foster mom, he now prefers being with her and following her from room to room. He is happy to sleep nearby when she is working at her desk. At night, he sleeps on his dog bed in his foster mom’s bedroom. In morning he waits in his bed until his foster mom is ready to get up. When he knows that you are awake he will come up wagging his tail and give you kisses, always excited for the day ahead with you. He is a big cuddler, loves being petted.

Rusko is super smart, observant, a good listener, and very eager to please. He also cares very much about what his person thinks, watching his person for any signs of approval or disapproval. When you smile at him, he gets very happy, wagging his tail and becomes animated. Rusko is also very sensitive to your tone of voice. Once when his foster mom was playing with him, she jokingly said something in a chiding tone. He immediately stopped, lowered his head and turned away as if he had been reprimanded.

He is a quick learner, and you CAN teach this old dog new tricks. He is also good at teaching his people new tricks. Rusko knows how to communicate when he needs or wants something. Balls and treats are his favorite things to ask for. For the ball, he will give a bark to get your attention, then look at the ball and then look at you, and repeat this, until you pick up the ball. Rusko is very treat oriented. He will do anything for a treat and knows where they are kept. He will bark, then point with his nose or look at what he wants. His fosters are working on ignoring the behavior and he is learning quickly that this isn’t working. Here's a short ball playing video: https://youtu.be/Ues6RyM8pv0

Besides giving a bark to ask you to throw the ball, or get him a snack from the treat counter, Rusko will bark when he hears people outside the house. He wants to let you know people are out there and requires reassurance. If you tell him to stop, he will stop barking. Sometimes he may give a bark to tell you he has to go out, or if you are resting on a bench during a walk, and he wants to continue, he will bark to tell you to get up.

He walks very nicely on leash, and does not pull, although this may depend on who is walking him. When walking with his foster mom, he heels perfectly at her side, frequently checking in by looking up or touching her hand with his nose.  During walks, he loves to sniff and explore, but will look back at his person and return to her side.

Rusko’s calm nature helps him get along very well with dogs. However, he loves nature and sniffing bushes much more than playing with other dogs. When meeting another dog, he is very calm, and will sniff politely. If another dog barks or growls at him, he will remain calm, look up at his person for reassurance, then ignore the dog and continue on his walk. We haven not yet seen Rusko with children or cats close up. During walks, he paid no attention to the children several feet away.
Rusko rides very nicely and quietly in a car. He is completely housebroken, and will let you know when he has to go out. He may come up to you and then go to the front door or pace around.

While our boy still has the personality, playfulness and energy of a younger dog, his years are beginning to show a bit. He takes his time when going up stairs, and getting up on the sofa is not easy for him. He manages to jump up, but his rear legs shake just before he decides to jump up. His muscles may be weak and need strengthening. His foster mom has also started him on joint supplements.
In summary, Rusko is an incredibly sweet, happy, playful older gentleman, who would be an ideal companion. He loves, looks to, and respects women most, and happy to hang out with you whenever he can. We are seeking adopters who are willing to give the TLC and care (and lot of balls) that this wonderful young-at-heart senior deserves.

If you have questions about Rusko, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or leave a message at (707) 583-9583. If you would like to meet Rusko, please begin by completing our adoption form at this link: http://hittgv.org/index.php/adopt. Please download and print the form to be completed.


Niko (ADOPTED!)  is a 2 year old, border collie and Siberian husky mix. He is a super sweet dog, who needs a patient, gentle, loving person to be his companion. We can see that once he feels secure Niko has a wonderfully happy, loving personality.  As a young, mix of two working breeds, he does need a good long hike and some active, tongue-hanging out exercise each day. This is NOT a dog for apartment life while people are away at work, or for people who want a dog by their side, without the ability or commitment to exercise a young working breed properly each day.  

He does not have a mean bone in his body, and was a favorite of several staffers at the shelter. When Niko was getting to know his foster dad and feeling safe and happy, he showed some puppy-like traits of doing zoomies and play bows. However, currently Niko is still afraid of everything that moves. He tucks his tail between his legs and tries to hide at the sight of people or dogs coming towards him.

When inside and he feels safe, Niko is just happy to quietly hang out with his foster dad, following him from room to room, and lie down near him. Around the house, he is very calm and affectionate. If his human is sitting at a table, sometimes Niko will rest his head in your lap. He can be playful when inside, but not often. If his foster dad tries to initiate play, Niko will play a little with his foster dad. He has shown no interest in any toys or balls. We believe that Niko has never been given toys and doesn’t know what they are. He also does not have the desire to chew on anything.

Our boy is extremely smart and learns quickly. He has two spots that are “his” at his foster home, and he will go right to one of them and lie down. At night, Niko sometimes sleeps on the couch, or one of “his” spots. He is a very quiet dog, and we have not yet heard him make a sound. So far, he has never barked, whined or made any sound.

Niko is extremely obedient and seems to already know a few things. He is completely housebroken. He also knows “Come” and will lie down on command. If you say ‘No’ to something he’s doing, will stop immediately and come to you. He has just learned to return and heel when given the command "With me.”

Niko has probably never walked on leash in the past. When putting on a leash near the door, Niko will flatten himself and cower. He also will not leave the house unless his person has attached the leash to him and is holding it (see 4 paragraphs down, on transitions). Once outside, he is fine. He will pull slightly, and sometimes zig zag in front, when on a leash. In just a week, he has learned that he is supposed to walk on the sidewalk and not down the middle of the street.

When walking outside on city or suburban streets, Niko is very cautious and nervous. about meeting people and animals. When other animals approach him he will lay down or try and hide behind his person. If more than one dog approaches, he will begin to tremble or try and jump up onto his person with front paws. If he is introduced slowly to a dog, he is fine, but has no interest in interacting with another dog. Niko is also afraid of all children. We have not yet seen him around cats.

Niko does love being outside and hikes in nature. Once outside on a trail, his personality shows. He happily runs back and forth, and will check in frequently with his foster dad. When called, he will return to his foster’s side immediately, and checks in by touching his foster’s hand with his nose, sometimes giving one lick. He loves going far ahead on the trail and then races back at full speed. So far, the only animal he isn’t afraid of are birds. When he sees birds nearby, Niko hops after them. He did this when they saw a wild turkey.  Here's a YouTube link to Niko and his foster playing outside:
Niko is afraid of many things that he is not familiar with, and especially the possibility that something new may be a bad thing. He is confused and anxious about seeing reflections in mirrors and windows, especially the dog (himself), and not being able to reach his foster’s reflection.
Any change from one environment or situation to another creates great anxiety and fear in Niko. Taking him out of the house for a walk, or getting him in or out of a car, or in or out of a building or room, are all fearful obstacles for Niko. Once he’s transitioned to the new location and nothing bad happens, he settles and will relax (lays down, etc.). This is basically fear and uncertainty of the unknown. He is especially afraid when entering an institutional type setting (building lobby, veterinary office, etc.), which may remind him of the shelter. Once he has done a certain type of transition multiple times with positive associations, and understands that what will happen next is going to be fine, he is no longer afraid. Entering his foster home is easy now. Niko is apprehensive about getting into and out of the car, but once he is in the car, he is relaxed and falls asleep.
He will need a very patient, caring and understanding person/people, to teach him how to trust, become socialized and gain confidence. Although he loves his new foster, he is very afraid of what any person may do to him. When Niko saw his foster dad pick up a wooden stirring spoon to cook with, the pup put his tail between his legs and turned to hide.
We also believe that some of his worries when out on walks is because he may have been confined to a yard and never been out in the world before. As a result, he may not be used to the everyday sights and sounds when out in public. We believe that in the right hands, over time, that he could become a self assured and happy dog.
Niko is a mix of highly active working breeds, and he is not an appropriate dog for people who live in apartments and/or who will leave him with nothing to do during the regular workday (when people go back to work). He needs people who have experience with giving a highly intelligent and active pup the mental and physical activity, and who know how to begin working with him on his fears and self confidence. This pup is an extra challenge because he will need to learn about people, other animals and the outside world in a slow and encouraging way. This is NOT a dog for a first time dog owner or one who is not familiar with these active working breeds, or with a dog who has been mentally and physically abused. For these reasons, we are only willing to adopt him to people who are within a few hours’ drive from the San Francisco Bay Area.
If you may be interested in Niko please begin by completing our adoption form at this link: http://hittgv.org/index.php/adopt. Please download and print the form to be completed. If you have questions, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or leave a message at (707) 583-9583.

Cowboy (ADOPTED!) is a playful, happy, enthusiastic, loving, gentle spirit, with a wonderful personality. We estimate that he is around 15-18 months old and weighs 45-50 lbs. He is a classic, “Old School” Australian Cattle Dog. As a young dog, Cowboy is energetic, mostly in short spurts, and may be a bit out of shape from lack of prior exercise. He is an extremely sweet, happy boy, who is great with other dogs and people. Cowboy loves playing with other dogs, and would thrive in a multi-dog home. He does seem to warm up to women more quickly than men, but he is good with both.

He is a velcro dog who always makes sure he knows where his person is. More than anything, Cowboy wants his own person/people to bond with and to be with forever. At this writing we have had Cowboy for less than a week, and right now, he very much wants to be with his foster person constantly. He craves human attention and is looking for love. Cowboy will roll on his back for belly scratches, and to get your attention will slowly try to crawl onto your lap.

Cowboy is very intelligent, a quick study, and eager to please. So far, we have learned that he knows Sit, Down and Lie Down, and Stay. He will follow commands, and if he understands what you want, he will will try to do it. Cowboy is completely housebroken, and knows how to use a dog door. He loves being in the car, and rides nicely in the back seat with head out the window. Our boy also sleeps quietly through the night on a bed just outside his foster’s bedroom.

Although Cowboy is a healthy adult sized cattle dog, we need to remind ourselves that he is mentally still very much a puppy. He is a sensitive soul. If someone (especially a man) raises their voice, Cowboy will cower. Sometimes he can get a little mouthy, to get your attention by using his mouth to take your hand or arm. When playing ball or following a command, he can be easily distracted if he sees birds or the mail truck drives up.

Cowboy enjoys toys, especially the squeaky ones. Our boy is very gentle with his toys and will carry them around, but will NOT chew or destroy them. He enjoyed the knuckle bone his foster Dad gave him, but otherwise Cowboy is not a chewer. He does NOT chew things inappropriately. He takes treats with a gentle, soft mouth. His foster Dad says he has “zero aggression” and does NOT have any guarding behavior with food or toys.

Cowboy also loves to play fetch, but mostly as a way to interact with and please his person. He will play ball for a while and then stop to rest of hang with his person. Cowboy is a quiet dog, unless he is upset, and howls a bit. He almost never barks. He is quiet around the dogs next door, across the fence, and is also quiet when playing with other dogs. We have not yet seen Cowboy around children or cats.

He rides quietly and very nicely in the car. However, if you leave him alone in the car to run an errand, he will complain about being left behind, with his high pitched, cattle dog stress bark. He walks well on leash, and would be the perfect dog for almost any home, except for this bit of separation anxiety. When left completely alone Cowboy will rearrange interesting smelling items in the house, knock down chairs, etc. He does NOT chew up or destroy things, he just moves things around. Motivated to be with his person, Cowboy is an escape artist. He will climb fences and can figure out how to open gate latches in an attempt to be with you.

We absolutely love and adore this dog! He is a phenomenally wonderful soul, who will make the right person/people the best companion anyone could wish for. When he is with his people, he is the happiest, most contented dog in the world. We are seeking loving and patient people, who can take Cowboy with them to works or be with him during the day, and who can begin teaching him how to feel comfortable when left alone for a few hours.

We believe that he may be an excellent emotional support dog for someone who needs a dog to be with them at all times. Cowboy and his human would understand and could support each other, and slowly work to gain confidence together.  

Once settled in a home and routine for a few months, Cowboy may outgrow his worry about not being with his person. We believe our foster home is at least the third home he has been in, and he was at the shelter twice. His last home was senior person who realized that a young playful herding dog was not the right fit for her. He needs someone willing to commit months and years to him to show him that he will not be surrendered or abandoned again, and enable him to feel he can trust and rely on his person/people to always return. We are seeking serious inquiries only, who can and will have Cowboy with someone most of the day, and who are experienced with, or willing to learn, how to slowly condition him to be calm when his people are not with him.

If you are interested in meeting Cowbpy, please begin by completing our adoption form at this link: http://hittgv.org/index.php/adopt. Please download and print the form to be completed. If you have questions, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or leave a message at (707) 583-9583.

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Our mission: To rescue, care for, and rehabilitate unwanted, abused, and neglected dogs of herding breeds, concentrating on Australian Cattle Dogs and Border Collies.

Our focus is on their permanent placement into appropriate, loving homes, and informing the public about the special nature and needs of herding breeds.

Contact us at:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


We are grateful for any contributions to help us rescue, care for, and transport animals.

If you prefer to write a check, please mail it to: Herd It Through The Grapevine, P.O. Box 9585, Santa Rosa, CA 95405

Herd It Through The Grapevine is a 501(c)(3) approved organization.


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