Our furry companion of the last 8 years came to us from our younger daughter who relocated and was not able to bring her dog on the flight to Oregon. L was not happy. She commented, “If I’d wanted a dog I’d have had a dog.” In little time she fell in love. The two went through Therapy Dog training, were certified and made visits to nursing homes for several years.


Turtle, our daughter’s dog, became our dog. She was a Siberian Husky / Australian shepherd mix that our daughter picked out of box of pups in front of a K-Mart. She was the smartest dog I’ve ever known, and we've had a German Shepherd / Collie mix and a Labrador Retriever.

About a year ago we realized that she was almost totally deaf, and had kidney failure.. A few months back she developed Canine Cognitive Dysfunction which is sort of the doggy equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, we took her to the vet and helped her depart this world.

L has been almost inconsolable due to a combination of grief and guilt. (She feels like she murdered our friend.)

We talked about getting another dog, but we are in our mid-70s, and a dog may outlive us.

An assessment of the dogs we’ve had, and the breeds, or breed mixes led us to the belief that the dogs that worked best for us were all of the Herding Dog group. We had some hunting breed dogs, but they were, except for the Labrador Retriever and Boykin Spaniel, not very suitable as house pets for older couples. The bottom line was that we thought we might consider a Mini Aussie. I found that the miniature Aussies are now a recognized breed and are called Miniature American Shepherds. I contacted a breed rescue group, but we decided to wait before sending our application in. 

Australian Shepherds come in several colors which are in part due to the "merle" gene.  The merle gene creates a change in the way colors are expressed and the resultant merle coats are beautiful.  Unfortunately, a "double dose" of the merle gene can produce puppies with deafness, blindness and other issues.  Aussies, large and small, are rescued for many reasons including health problems.  They are a herding breed with a lot of energy that has to be directed toward something non-destructive.  They do well in Agility competition, as farm dogs, and various "frisbee" type sports.

Yesterday we were coming down the road to our house and came upon a beautiful Aussie in the road. I got out to play with what I took for a puppy to keep her out from under the wheels of the car, and she followed me home. We had never seen the dog before, and found that she belonged to a neighbor who called her home.

We talked with the neighbor about the fact that we were considering a mini Aussie and the owner told us that he and his wife had been looking for a good home for the dog. The family has another dog, a preschool age son and, with both parents working, just haven't had enough time to spend with a young dog.

Mollie came to live with us last night. At about a year, she has been living outside, isn’t house broken, and isn’t very well socialized, but she seems to be a quick learner. She looks like a miniature, but both parents were full size Australian Shepherd dogs. We have plenty to do for a while.


(Note that Mollie is on the bed.  L has never let a dog on the bed before.  The new puppy didn't ask.  She just jumped up on it.  Compared to our now deceased senior dog, she is a whirling dervish.)

Views: 70

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 15, 2018 at 6:01am

We learned from the neighbor that Mollie is a Houdini.  She proved it last night by immediately escaping from her crate.  It turned our that we hadn't fastened the door correctly.  I'm having a cup of coffee prior to letting her outside for her morning constitutional.

Comment by alsoknownas on December 15, 2018 at 8:37am

Staying busy is a good thing. I hope it works out.

Comment by koshersalaami on December 15, 2018 at 8:47am

Enjoy her

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 15, 2018 at 8:54am
Thanks to both of you. I'm sort of a frazzled wreck right now.
Comment by Tom Cordle on December 15, 2018 at 9:32am

We once had a Sheltie named Mac, who was the largest sheltie I ever saw -32 lbs. Good-natured and no trouble whatsoever, greatest dog ever – and I am NOT a pet person. We got him when TJ was three, and as is the case with pets, we outlived him. We all three cried like babies when we had to put him down.

We've tried a couple of dogs since, but none could ever live up to Mac. My wife has finally consented to no more dogs, but we now have a 25 lb cat who sheds like crazy. It's odd, but every time I fix myself something to eat, the cat goes for his dish,too.

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 15, 2018 at 1:59pm

Tom, we had a parrot who went to his food dish every time we brought food into the den where his cage was.  Eating seems to be a communal activity across species.

This dog weighs 20 lbs. and is small for breed standards.  it is more like the size of Miniature Aussies.  That's fine with us.

Comment by Boanerges on December 15, 2018 at 3:45pm

Kudos to you two for doing this. What a happy looking pair.

I (we) understand what it's like to adopt/rescue at an advanced age. I'm now 71 and Red's 68, and four years ago, despite the misgivings you mention, we took in a kitten that had been wandering and crying for days. I wrote about the experience on Open, and expressed my ... umm ... loathing of the kind of asshole who would dump a kitten in the middle of a snow-bound February. Anyway, Moggy D. Cat is thriving, and a source of much pleasure and amusement (although she is thoroughly adept at ruining leather couches and woodwork).

We've had three dogs, including two minpins (one a charmer and the other a monster), but our favourite will always be Jo Cocker (Spaniel) who ate up all the garden tomatoes she could get at and once got drunk on grapes that had fallen from our trees and then fermented. The outcome of the latter experience was, shall we say diplomatically, aromatic.

Comment by Rosigami on December 15, 2018 at 4:10pm

This is lovely, Rodney! I don't know who looks happier in the picture- it sure does look like a good match. I am yearning for a puppy myself but the logistics of adding another personality to our little family (a cranky cat, a mischievous cat, my curmudgeonly blp, and me) seems daunting. We two humans are mid-sixties and concerned about our abilities to handle a doggy puppyhood etc. 

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 15, 2018 at 4:22pm

This girl is still very much a puppy. Housebreaking a dog in winter isn’t fun. We have hadbdrizzling rain for the last couple of days, and we are about at the winter solstice. We knew that and said, “there is never a good time.”

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 15, 2018 at 7:06pm

Every pet is different.  Our last dog was an Omega dog.  This one is definitely Alpha.  Training will take a firm approach.  We are going to get professional help with training.


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