Happy Tails

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.

Tiia (ADOPTED!) is a chocolate Border Collie/Australian Kelpie mix, 2 to 3 years old and weighs approximately 44 pounds. She is a very loyal girl, who will bond strongly with her human(s),and is friendly and casual when meeting people. For a border collie, Tiia is a moderate energy girl. If she has had a good session of hiking, running, playing, or training, Tiia is relaxed when inside and it is time to chill out. When inside, and all is calm, she is very sweet, with a lovely sensitive, yet easy personality.

Tiia is fine with people placing their hands in her bowl or removing toys from her, and being handled. Tiia is not accustomed to being in a crate, and she has no need for one. She is completely housebroken and has never had a accident. She also is great when left freely in the house alone, and has never chewed or destroyed anything.

Tiia is super smart, intensely alert, and needs a job or activities to keep her brain occupied, or she will become restless. She is very attentive to and looks for direction from people. Tiia responds very well to your cues and is always ready to do whatever you are up for. She very food motivated and loves training exercises, as it gives her brain something to do. Playing ball is her favorite thing, but after about an hour of it she will look for other things to do.

She has good stamina on long hikes. She is great on the trail and will not bother other dogs or people on a hike. However, when she sees squirrels, rabbits, cats, even horses, her prey drive will kick in, and it becomes very difficult to get her attention and for her to respond to you. This is the reason she should not be in a home with cats, livestock, small children, or nervous noisy small dogs. Tiia’s prey drive extends to fast moving things (but NOT cars). She rides nicely in a car, and likes to hop in on her own. She does not like people trying to lift her into a vehicle. When in a car, she will ride very quietly, until she sees bicyclists, skateboarders, or other dogs going past. She will bark as they go past outside the car. She is fine with cars and large vehicles going past.

In general, Tiia is very casual and good when meeting most dogs, especially medium to large sized dogs, but she is not interested in interacting with them (see above for prey drive and very small dogs). However, when on leash, she can be reactive when passing other dogs on a sidewalk, and will need work on that. Otherwise, Tiia walks fairly well on leash, but may initially pull with excitement and pent up energy, to get going and explore.

Tiia currently is in a situation where there are a lot of triggers and minimal management of animal activities. She has developed barrier aggression as a result of her living situation,  If she is inside and sees another dog on the other side of a barrier (even a glass door), she will begin snarling and barking; but once the door gate is open (barrier removed), she will stop and be fine again. We believe that in a calmer situation to reduce her stress levels, without constant stimulation from small creatures around her, and with people who can provide her with regular exercise, predictable routines and do behavioral work with her, that some of her issues may diminish. Tiia would be a great dog in an adult home, as an only dog, or with a medium-large easy going dog.

If you are interested in meeting Tia, 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.

Frankie (ADOPTED!) is a young, 37 lb., moderate energy female, around 1-2 years old, who is very sweet and super affectionate with people. More than anything, she wants her own person to bond with and follow everywhere. She will be an awesome companion and sidekick for her new person. Frankie is mellow in the house, loves snuggling up with people.  She stays close to her fosters when outside in the yard and when they have taken her to the beach. She is crate and house trained, and she is learning some basic obedience cues. Frankie is eager to please, and to learn, and will love training with her people. She is extremely intelligent and super observant. You can almost see her brain observing the things going on around her, and trying processing it all, to figure out what’s happening.

She would do best living in a calm household as the only dog, or with a polite, adult, male dog. At this time, she does not have a lot of experience meeting dogs, so her new owner would need to help her with her social skills. When first meeting new dogs, she is a bit hesitant, and cautious, especially around big ones. Once she has met another dog, she is fine hanging out with them, but she is not one to actively run and play with other dogs. She much prefers being with her people. Once she knows another dog, if it is a male, she is easy, polite and respectful. Sometimes with other females, Frankie can be a little bossy. Her pushy behavior with other females, includes invading their space with overly eager sniffing and wanting to stand over them. She has been known to poke other females with her nose to tell them to get away from a high value toy or treat that she wants. Her current fosters have been working with her on this, and Frankie is getting much better. Now, she will just walk away from a toy, rather than trying to insist something is hers.

Frankie needs slow exposure to new situations and environments, which will help her build up her confidence. She seems to become overwhelmed and stressed when going on outings to new, unknown places, especially if there may be fast movements happening around her. You can see the stress get to her and she shuts down.  

Frankie is afraid to get into a car, and will flatten herself on the ground, as if to say “Don’t make me go.” To her, a car ride means going to a strange new place, which is a very stressful thing for her. For this reason, it is very hard to get her in and out of a car. She will ride hunkered down, very quietly in the back seat.

If out in a new area, and she feels stressed, she will react poorly when meeting another dog. She doesn’t want to fight, but feels insecure and defensive and will be cranky around them. If she is in a place or situation where she feels calm and secure, she is mellow and friendly and meets new dogs well. Frankie walks very nicely/politely on leash and is not reactive while on leash. We suspect that being tethered to her person is a form of security for her. When attached to you by the leash, she knows she won’t lose you, and may feel more secure.

In her current situation, and still being a very young dog, if left alone loose and unsupervised, Frankie will chew on all manner of items (rugs, blankets, plastic items, etc.). We suspect that her current tendency to chew may be her way of dealing with stress and frustration. She is currently being fostered in a house with multiple dogs, in a very busy noisy area, where it has been difficult for her to relax. We believe that when she settles into a calm home environment, where she has more freedom, activity, and feels secure with her own person, that her chewing will subside. We also estimate that Frankie is between one and two years old, an age when many dogs are still in a chewing stage. She also tends to use her mouth to get your attention and try to communicate with you. She doesn’t bite, but just mouths your hand or arm playfully. For this reason, at this time, we don’t recommend her for households with small children.

Frankie loves to curl up on the sofa and gnaw on a chew toy. Her best days are when she can be in a quiet place and has access to go out to potty, and return to chill out and enjoy a chewy. Her ideal moment is probably laying on a couch with her person, and having a satisfying chewy to gnaw on. Frankie would greatly benefit from a home with less activity where she could chill out for a while, allowing her to relax her brain, and become more receptive to learning and improving her behavior.

If you are interested in meeting Frankie, please begin our pre-adoption approval process by completing our online adoption form.  Click 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.

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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.

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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.