Rufus (ADOPTED!) is a great dog with fabulous all-around personality. He is a super friendly, happy boy, who loves everyone, all people and dogs. As well as being very sweet and easy going, he is extremely smart. He weighs 62 lbs. and is around 2-3 years old. Our best guess is that he is a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Labrador, Black Mouth Cur mix.  (Although he is not a herding dog, he was scheduled to be euthanized at the shelter, and he was a volunteer and staff favorite.)
Rufus eagerly meets new people, and warmly welcomes people he knows or has met before. He will remember if someone played with him previously, and invite them to play again. When playing with people, he can be a little mouthy, but always gentle about it. When happily with his people, he is an entertainer and a little ham. He will sing to you, do acrobatics, and loves to cuddle.

Rufus’ fosters repeatedly emphasize that he is a “very good dog” who just needs to learn a few things. He is a very curious dog and a fast learner. We believe that his original people never took the time to teach him anything or expose him to new places or experiences. Rufus is curious about all things. He runs throughout the yard, often sniffing the garden fruits and vegetables or stretching up along trees to search for interesting things.

He is also very curious about small dogs and cats and tries to meet big dogs with a wag. He walks easily on leash. When approaching another dog, he pulls a little to try and meet. if told to leave them, he usually obeys. He doesn’t react when seeing children. When he sees a rabbit running, he does get excited and want to chase. Our guess is that if the rabbit stopped, he would also.

Rufus loves all food and treats. He shows no guarding around food, prized toys or anything at all. He is very patient and fine with with people touching and examining him - ears, paws, mouth and teeth. He is also fine about getting a bath, becoming frisky and energized afterwards. He will roll and shake himself, wagging his tail, until he he feels dry.

Having a thinking brain, Rufus needs to be kept mentally occupied. He enjoys playing fetch with balls and sticks. He can also self-entertain by tossing the ball or a toy for himself and chasing it. He has picked a few round tomatoes from the plants and tried to play with them (no interest in eating them). He loves all toys, especially squeaky toys, but tires of them after a week. We got a “snuffle” mat for hiding tiny treats, to help his fosters to keep him occupied when inside. However, Rufus quickly figured out that he could get all the hidden treats by lifting and shaking the snuffle mat. Game over.

Here's a YouTube link to Rufus playing ball with himself:

YouTube link to Rufus meeting another male while still at the shelter: 

Rufus is a very energetic dog, who loves to romp and play. He can easily walk 10 miles a day. He is not a dog for apartment life, or to be left idle for too long. In the morning, after a 3 mile hike, breakfast and a snooze, he feels great and is energized! He will gleefully run up and down the stairs and into every room, jumping on and off beds until you tell him “off.” Rufus would do well on a farm or ranch, or a home with open space where he can run. He circles his foster’s backyard at high speed, flying over the flower beds. He can jump over a 6-foot fence. Currently, until he learns not to do this, Rufus cannot be left alone in a fenced yard. He is an escape artist if left for even a few minutes. Twice, he jumped over a 6-ft. metal fence into the open space beyond when his foster went inside for just a few minutes.

Because of his energy, athleticism, being a quick learner, and desire to play, our boy is an ideal candidate for dog sports and training to work and tire out his thinking brain.

His fosters have taught him a few basic commands (Sit, Stay, Stop, Slow, Wait, Down, Leave it).  Rufus still very much needs to learn rules and boundaries. He needs a pack leader who he will look up to, and who will invest the time and effort to train and teach him what is appropriate and what isn’t.  

Rufus generally obeys every command he has been taught. When he was caught starting to dig under the fence once, his foster mom told him to stop, and he hasn’t tried digging again. When first being taught certain commands that go against what he wants, he often tries to ignore you, until he realizes he cannot get away with it. When he does learns a rule, he will automatically do the right thing without being told. He learned in 2-days to sit and stay before eating, and that the word “Eat” is his signal to chow down.

Rufus is completely house trained, and will whine to tell you he needs to go out. His fosters created an ex-pen enclosure, rather than a crate, and he is now ex-pen trained. He will go in to rest when he is tired or to sleep at night.

Rufus does use his voice to let you know how he is feeling. When he wants attention or to play, he lets out a few short whines. If no one responds, his whine becomes a long dog yodel in different pitches. Finally, he will give a few barks to try and get your attention. He will also bark if he hears another dog barking.
Rufus is good on car rides. He can be fussy about getting in. Sometimes he climbs right in, and other times he will stand at the open door waiting to be lifted into the car.
In summary, Rufus has huge potential to be an ideal dog. We are seeking adopters with an active lifestyle, who can give him the daily physical and mental exercise, and attention he requires, and who has experience as a consistent pack leader, teaching a dog boundaries and rules.

Potential adopters must live within about a 2 hour drive to El Dorado Hills, CA, area, where Rufus is being fostered.  If you have questions or are interested in meeting Rufus and receiving an adoption form, 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. Completing an adoption form, is the first step to meeting him.


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.