Herd It Through The Grapevine

Herding Dog Rescue

Happy Tails



Flynn (ADOPTED!) was born in 2009 and raised on a Blackfoot Indian reservation in Montana. He is a kind gentle horse, very soulful and intelligent, as well as being very surefooted horse, steady and powerful. Flynn is a stocky, 14.2 hand, Red Paint, Quarter Horse. He has only been ridden Western and used for cattle work or trail riding purposes, and can be ridden by an intermediate or advanced rider. He will stand tied quietly, load in the horse trailer, bathe, groom and be tacked with ease.

For only being 8-9 years old, Flynn has quite an accomplished past. For years, he had been a cattle horse, gathering cows in the rugged hills of Montana near Glacier National Park. Hence, his qualification for being a herder in our rescue!  Flynn was also used for stunt work in movies such as the Lone Ranger and other cowboy and Indian movies.

He came to California in March of 2017 where he worked as a trail horse at a winery. Flynn developed a squamous cell sarcoma in his right eye shortly after his arrival. In October, the heavy smoke from the wine country fires worsened his eye's fragile condition and his owners were advised to have the eye surgically removed immediately. However, the trail horse operation decided that having a one-eyed horse would be a liability, and that Flynn could no longer be a trail horse. The equestrian center manager, who adored Flynn, contacted us about the dilemma of Flynn’s eye and his need for a new future. She facilitated the trail horse operation’s surrender of Flynn, and took the lead on arranging for his eye surgery, which was completed on October 30, 2017. He has recovered beautifully. Flynn loss of eyesight in his right eye has not affected him much that we can tell.

Additional photos and video are available. A possible trial period for an adoption will be considered, contingent upon your location and references.

Flynn is located in Sonoma, CA  and can be seen by appointment only. If you may be interested in possibly adopting him, please complete our online Adoption Form (click on "Adopt" bar, above).  While the form is worded for dogs, please respond regarding your experience with and situation for a horse.  If you have questions, please email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at: (707) 583-9583.

The remaining outstanding cost for Flynn's eye surgery is $1,955.89.  We would be very grateful for donations, in any amount, to help us pay for the rest of his veterinary bills.  Every little bit helps! Thank you so much!


Scooter (ADOPTED!) ) is a blue heeler/cattle dog mix, who weighs 45 pounds, and is roughly 8 years old. He's a special needs dog, in that he has epilepsy that is controlled by phenobarbital tablets twice daily. That said, Scooter is an amazingly easy dog to have, especially for a cattle dog!  He is super sweet, loving, extremely attentive and obedient, with a very balanced personality.

Scooter is a wonderful companion, but is not in your face about his affection. He wants to be with and stay close to his person/people, and very much wants to please you. He checks in often to look for guidance and that all is well. He is a playful dog with other dogs. His favorite activities include running around playing with other dogs. He also loves to playful wrestle on the floor, and although he loves people, he can be reserved around strangers. He enjoys wandering about the office with his person, hoping to get treats from co-workers.

Scooter’s doggy manners at the park are perfect and respects boundaries and body language of other dogs. He ignores cats and kids and doesn't have an aggressive or confrontational bone in his body. He has never bitten, or growled at anyone or anything. He is a quiet boy, and not a barker, though he does howl at a nearby fire/ambulance siren occasionally.

He's got a great memory and basically trains himself. Scooter is extremely motivated to please and responds amazingly well to treats. He pretty much taught himself sit, stay, slow (slow down walking and wait), come, lay down, shake and high-five. His obedience is so solid that he will sit and stay on command, even if he sees another dog he wants to run and play with.  Scooter is a dream when out on walks. He is a great off-leash or on-leash dog, and will stay right at your side, and if playing, he will come immediately when called. He is also crate trained and completely housebroken. He has even learned to do his business in designated spots.

Scooter is well acclimated to family and office life, having been his human's constant shadow at home and work for the past 4 years. He currently lives easily with small children and two cats. Although he loves to be with his person/people as much as possible, Scooter is not a lap dog, but instead prefers to just be at his person’s side as much as possible.

He was originally rescued from a terrible hoarding situation 4 years ago. Currently, his seizures only occur a couple of times a year. The episodes are mild, and last 2-4 minutes. Scooter has been on a stable dosage of his medication and requires only a yearly vet visit to renew the prescription. Pill administration is very simple as he allows his mouth to be opened and a pill dropped in.

His original adopters are looking for a new home for him due to changing financial obligations and health issues in the family. An ideal situation for Scooter would be in a home with another dog, but he would also be fine as an only dog.

If you may be interested Scooter, please complete our online Adoption Form (http://hittgv.org/index.php/adopt), or email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at: (707) 583-9583.

RUSTY *Courtesy Posting*

This is a courtesy posting for the family fostering this dog. They are located in the Santa Cruz area.

Rusty (ADOPTED!) is a 2-3 year old, female, Australian cattle dog mix. She is a sweet, compact, little lady, who weighs around 45 lbs. She is very attentive, inquisitive, and loves to please. Rusty is free with giving little kisses and is quite affectionate. If she was allowed to, she would be at my side at all times. Rusty has the cattle dog quality of being a Velcro dog, who wants to bond closely and be with her “person” as much as possible.  She seems frustrated that I have other animals and kids that demand my attention, and will try to compete for attention (in a cute sweet way, not at all aggressive), by squeezing herself into the mix, whenever another dog or a child is receiving any attention. She is doing fine in our big family, but she may be happier in a house where she could be the only dog, as she is quite devoted to her person.

She needs a new home, and we are fostering her, because her original person has dementia, to the point that he could no longer care for her properly. At this writing, we have fostered her for about three weeks. Rusty is currently cohabiting nicely with another dog (a pit/lab mix), cats and several kids ages 4-8 years old. She is good with the kids and tolerant of the cats. We have NOT seen any ‘nipping’ behavior, but she will try to herd the dogs and kids by jumping up and nudging them with her front paws in the direction she wants them to go, or to get some attention. We have noticed that she is pretty high energy. She should have at least one full hour of active, tongue hanging out exercise each day, to be calm and relaxed the rest of the time.

Rusty is very observant and smart, and has learned our “house rules” very quickly. I feel she will learn fast with proper training. For example, our “house rules” are that the dogs are only allowed inside in one part of the house by the back door where their beds are. She learned to stay within the boundaries quickly. Even though she is completely able to open the screen door on her own, she obeys and does not do it, and waits to be let in or out. There is also a small gate in the back yard that separates our yard from the neighbors that she could easily jump over (and she did, at first) but she has learned the rules, that the dogs stay on our side of the fence. We also recently taught her to fetch, which she enjoys playing.

She likes to sleep on her doggy bed inside at night and is completely house trained. She will bark an alert when strangers arrive, but she is friendly once they meet. She likes her chew toys and bones. She does fine riding in a car. She loves to run off leash and play with our other dogs. When on leash Rusty will pull in her eagerness to explore everything and everyone. She will also bark at other dogs, if she is on the leash. Her bark seems attention seeking, and is not aggressive.

Rusty is a sweet, smart dog that will be a devoted companion. Due to her nature, she would be happiest with someone familiar with the breed.

If you are interested in meeting Rusty - who is in the Santa Cruz area, please begin by completing the HITTGV online adoption form, at http://hittgv.org/index.php/adopt. For more information or questions about Rusty, please call Amy at:  831-331-3346 (if no answer, please leave a message).


Axl (ADOPTED!) is a fun loving, happy puppy in a 10-12 month old, 48 lb. Australian cattle dog- McNab mix body!  He is as sweet as can be, and will come for petting and hugs, and invite everyone to play with him. Once he knows everyone is good, Axl is game for anything. He loves leaping and playing in the water streaming/spraying from a hose, playing tug with people or other dogs, and he will play with balls of all sizes, from tennis balls to soccer balls.

Our guy adores everyone and wants your love and attention. If given a choice, Axl will follow a man around, over a woman, but he will come to anyone if called. He will try to jump up to get his face close to yours, to gaze into your eyes. If sitting at your feet, he tries to place his paw on your leg or arm, to let you know he loves you and can’t get enough petting and cuddling.

 Axl is a super bright and observant boy, but he is very much a diamond in the rough. Someone apparently taught him Sit, Shake and Down, but they never taught him any boundaries.  The first few days in his foster home he was a bit of a wild child, taking off with shoes, chomping his leash and basically ignoring commands. Within a few short days, he's now minding his foster mom's authority. He walks well on a leash (without chomping it), and immediately walks away when we say Leave It. He's so eager to please and learns fast - he just needs to be taught. He is so excited when its training time, and loves learning new things.

Axl is housebroken. However, when meeting men, he gets excited and sometimes does a little submissive puppy pee. While he rides very nicely and quietly in a car, he will not hop in willingly. So far, we have scraped our knuckles on the concrete several times, to lift Mr. Passive Resistance off the ground and into a car. Once inside, he is calm and seems fine. A few rides to fun places should have him associating car rides with fun and looking forward to getting in the car.

Axl has all the brilliance, energy and attentiveness of herding breeds and wouldn't be a good "pet" or couch dog. He seems happiest when running around outside. We believe that before he was found as a stray, he spent his puppyhood running freely on large property. The ideal home for Axl would be a working dog on a ranch, or as an agility/sport dog, or in an active situation with other pups to play with.

When he invites you to play he will use his herding moves, starting with a quick play bow, then pulling on your pant leg or nipping at the back of your heels, and then run circles around you. For this reason, and because Axl doesn’t know his own strength, and wants to jump up on people to greet and show his love, he should not be in a home with children under 12 years old.

Axl loves people and dogs and is especially drawn to men. He doesn’t seem to know cats, and was curious about the one he met, and wanted to sniff, but nothing more. If one ran, he would likely think it was a game and chase.

Still just a pup, Axl has the desire to chew. He will need to be supervised during quiet down time and directed towards appropriate chew toys, or you will find him nibbling on furniture. He crates well at night and can be crated for a time-out when he gets too wound up. Leash walks are obviously new to Axl, as is wearing a collar. He can get anxious when hands reach abruptly for his collar, so we're working on desensitizing him to his collar and are starting him on a harness. Our fosters are working with him in all these areas.

As our boy is becoming more comfortable in his foster home, he just showed the first inkling of a cattle dog’s willfulness and mind of his own, when his foster mom ordered him to stop chewing on the sofa, and he objected. He is used to having his way, and not used to hearing No.  For this reason, we are seeking adopters who have experience with the stubbornness of these dogs, and know how to motivate them.

In summary, Axl is a great young dog with a wonderful spirit, but he is only for active people who have experience with this breed, the property or at least a large yard, the time, patience and stamina to continue training this adult sized puppy appropriate behaviors. He is definitely NOT a dog for people who are away for much of the day, or who live in an apartment or only have a small yard. He would NOT do well being crated or confined for hours and hours. He has great potential, and in the right hands he will develop into a fantastic companion and partner.

If you are interested in meeting Axl, please begin our pre-adoption approval process by completing our online adoption form, by clicking on the Adopt bar near the top of this page. Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have further questions.


Kali (ADOPTED!)  is a very quiet, sweet natured girl. We believe she is a border collie/McNab. With those ears and her slim, wiry, 40 lb. build, she could have a bit of Basenji in her. She is possibly 3 or 4 years old. She is great with and loves all people, but mostly wants her own people to bond closely with. Within a few hours at her new foster home, she was following her foster mom everywhere, watching for cues on what she should do. She has been trying to win over her foster dad, who usually doesn’t interact with her much. Whenever he enters the room, she goes straight to him for attention and affection. She is a very earnest girl, who wants to please her people, and to be your closest partner and companion.

Kali is extremely alert and observant. She is always watching and aware of what is going on. She is, of course, intensely intelligent. Kali can run like the wind and would be a phenomenal working dog. She needs some daily exercise, running or working alongside her people; but if you are doing chores inside or desk work, Kali is also fine curling up nearby and hanging out inside with her person for several hours at a time. She often asks to go outside, just to check out the scents of animals who have passed through the area.

Our girl would do best on property where she is free to explore and run.  She learns household routines and what is expected after one or two times. Once she knows where home is, Kali will stay close to home, and always return once she has done her rounds on the property.

It is obvious that she is not used to being on a leash. As soon as one is clipped on her, she acts as if something bad is going to happen to her. She gets low and begins pulling for all she is worth, constantly changing sides and wrapping the leash around your legs. We believe that her original people did not take her off their property very often, as she lacks confidence in new situations, frantically pulling on leash to sniff and check out where she is.

Off leash, she is fine, and will follow your cues and happily come when called. If you look for her in the house and call her, she will come, but act as if she is about to be punished. She will slink or skitter by you quickly, with her head held low, and then sit at your feet and look up at you with a worried expression. Kali also tries to avoid you if she believes you may try to grab her collar. If you do hold her collar, she will struggle to get away and then surrender, belly up. Even when terrified during a bath (to wash off turkey poop she rolled in), she has never once growled or tried to snap at her foster people.

Kali is NOT mouthy, and has NOT shown any desire to nip at feet or hands. She is completely housebroken. If she needs to go out, she will get your attention and then go to sit at the door to ask to be let out. She does NOT know how to use a dog door. Our girl will try to join her people on the sofa if she can. In the morning, she will place her nose at the side of your bed, patiently waiting to be the first one to greet you when you open your eyes.

Kali enjoys meeting other animals, and is big on the greeting sniffs. If a passing dog growls at her, she ignores it or will walk away to avoid trouble. Ironically, the reason Kali needed rescue was because she tried to chase another dog (we believe it was a larger confident female) away from her home property and got into a fight. We have not seen this behavior from her. Kali has been excellent with the two dogs in her foster home. She has been better with them, than they have been with her. Her foster brother is a dominant male cattle dog and the other is a female cattle dog, who each night lies in the doorway of the bedroom to prevent Kali from entering. Kali is respectful of both dogs and does not challenge either of them. She doesn’t seem interested in playing with other dogs, but is fine hanging out around them. We have not seen any aggressive behavior at all from her in any situation. We were told that she may enjoy having a crate or private space where she can retreat to sometimes. She would be best as an only dog, or with a strong male dog, or easy going female. Because of her past history, although we haven’t witnessed it, she should not be with a strong or dominant female.

In summary, Kali is an incredibly sweet girl, who just wants her own people to partner with. You could find no better companion. We are seeking a quiet, calm situation, where she can have daily physical exercise, and her thinking brain can have some purpose or enrichment. If not on large property, working alongside her people, Kali should be slowly exposed to new experiences in the outside world to build her confidence and learn how to handle herself in new situations. She would do best in a rural setting.

If you are interested in meeting Kali, please begin our pre-adoption approval process by completing our online adoption form, at http://hittgv.org/index.php/adopt. Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have further questions.

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