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:

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: Please download and print the form to be completed.



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.