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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Claire Wolfe

Could your home be Sweetie’s home?

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Staunch freedomista Mary Lou Seymour is an equally staunch dog rescuer. Since November, she’s been dealing with a special case — an Australian cattle dog who needs a very special home. Meet Sweetie:

Sweetie: Deaf heeler looking for a home

Sweetie -- homeless heeler with former foster mom

Here’s ML’s description and contact information from Sweetie’s PetBond listing:

Sweetie the blue heeler needs to be in a one dog home, she wants to be your partner, with no children, no other pets, just you and Sweetie … she was found as a stray last November in Georgia, she has been in several foster homes since. I have been trying to find her a forever home. She is about 1 1/2 yrs old, spayed and UTD on shots, she is light HW positive. She is crate trained and housetrained, and microchipped. She is also deaf (blue eyed dogs often are). She bonds VERY quickly to a human … NO other dogs. She will be your best friend and protector for a lifetime. Contact libertymls1 at

Sweetie is currently in a rescue in Aiken, South Carolina. But transport can be arranged to get her to the right home.

A personal note: Australian cattle dogs (heelers) are very smart, unique animals, extremely loyal and loving to their humans. And deaf dogs can be amazing. (I’ve fostered both deaf dogs in general and deaf cattle dogs, specifically. There’s good reason some folks actually seek deafies out and say, deaf dogs rock.) If you don’t have experience with deaf dogs — it’s easier than you think and abundant help can be found online.

ML might differ, but I’d say that knowing (or researching) the breed is more important to a successful adoption than knowing all about deaf dogs.

Sweetie is stressed from being shunted from foster home to foster home and now into the typical chaos of a rescue operation run by an acquaintance of ML’s. But ML knows Sweetie well and says that given a chance to settle in a secure home, she’ll shine. She did get along with dogs in one of her foster homes and currently has a dog buddy at the rescue. But she can be dog aggressive.

Can you help this beautiful girl?

If your home isn’t the one for her, would you pass the word to others you know who might love a special-needs cattle dog?


The young woman with the blurred face in the photo above is not ML; it’s one of Sweetie’s former foster parents.

52 Responses to “Could your home be Sweetie’s home?”

  1. water lily Says:

    I will pass along this info.

  2. Joel Says:

    If only she could fit in with a pack, Claire. And if deafness isn’t a survival issue, which with her sense of smell it probably wouldn’t be. I’ve got room, but not for a one-dog dog. Sorry.

  3. M Says:

    Oh how I wish. With several rescues, we cannot be the ones – but I’ll pass the information along.

  4. EN Says:

    I love Queenslands. Beautiful dogs and smart. If situations permitted I’d take her, but they do not.

  5. Woody Says:

    I have had a couple of dog aggressive labs. After a bit of noise sorting out the pack pecking order they became well integrated into the pack and never created a problem. However, trips to the vet were interesting affairs. Our vet’s waiting room is usually full of dogs and cats during office hours. We never had any situations get out of hand though.

    It would not surprise me to hear Sweetie became a happy member of a pack. Responsible people who own multiple large/medium dogs are usually up to the task of integrating a new member. I’m tempted but I already have four who are taxing my finances to the limit. I have passed on this post to another list.

  6. Claire Says:

    Thank all you guys for your good thoughts and help passing the word along.

    Woody, I agree about dog-aggressive dogs. My Robbie is a little SOB to other dogs, but he’s spent his whole life in a pack (anywhere from two to five others at a time, depending on the number of fosters) and although there have been two bloody occasions in his 10 years (both my fault; trying to integrate fosters faster than I should have), for the most part, it’s not that big a deal. Still, ML knows the dog & it’s her call.

    Joel, indeed deaf dogs can get along remarkably well on their other senses. The only difficulty is with off-leash recall. But then … er, hearing sometimes isn’t such as asset in some cases, as you and I both know to our embarrassment. The deaf dogs I’ve fostered have watched their humans very closely for signals. And for those who can afford them (neither you nor me), there are training collars that vibrate.

  7. Claire Says:

    EN — Funny, I used to think ACDs (aka Queenslands, heelers, etc.) were some of the ugliest dogs on the planet. Then, after I’d had my heart dog, Jasmine, for a few years, I figured out she had to be an ACD mix … and since then they’ve become the most stunning beauties to me. Oh, how I miss my Jasmine! But now I’ve got Ava (1/2 ACD, 1/2 border collie). And I suspect there was a cattle dog in the ancestry of Robbie and Nadja, too.

  8. EN Says:

    I grew up around Queenslands and I find them beautiful, particularly when they are working. There’s nothing more full of life than a working Cattle dog. Not that many of them lived long, they’d all get kicked in the head or run over (the old joke about the dog called Lucky? Lucky was a Queensland). They are curious, loving and want to work. That wanting to work is always the challenge. Pleasing you by herding is all they live for. They need exercise even more than most dogs. The last one I had would start to shake and whimper at the very smell of cow manure. She would herd anything, chickens, kids, sheep, horses, it’s in there DNA.

  9. Mary Lou Says:

    Thanks Claire for posting this, and thanks to all who have commented … i KNOW the right home is out there for Sweetie … she is not ‘dog aggressive’ like most ‘dog aggressive’ dogs I’ve been involved with, she greets new dogs with perfectly fine ‘doggy manners’, she got along just fine in one of the foster homes (who had 10 dogs) … but when she had to leave there and go to another home, the problem began to emerge, it’s like she is intensely possessive of ‘her human’ and wants NO other dogs around. Its not the normal ‘pack sorting’ behavior, its like she has NO interest in pack order at all, just wants the person all to herself. PLEASE continue to share her, she is one of the most difficult placements I’ve been involved with, but she is worth it …

  10. Ken K Says:

    I have had an Aussie Cattle Dog for about three years now and I can vouch for the breed. They are very smart and pretty good watch dogs too. I recommend ACDs esp. for families.

  11. Claire Says:

    ML — Hope Sweetie finds a true forever home soon. Sounds as if, under the right circumstances, with a steady, knowledgeable person, she might even do okay with other dogs. (Cross fingers.)

    EN — LOL on the Lucky joke. I know that joke. I know that dog!

    Although my AVA has more border collie traits that ACD traits, I know what you mean about the herding. Ava gets to herd only tennis balls and the cat, but she’d herd dinosaurs if she could get to them.

  12. EN Says:

    “Its not the normal ‘pack sorting’ behavior, its like she has NO interest in pack order at all, just wants the person all to herself.”

    Well now, I’m not expert when it comes to dogs, but I find that behavior in all herding dogs, particularly border collies, to be normal. I have seen Queensland pairs become “undone” with each other when their master got cancer. I assumed this is just how they are. I worked all over the country for years and my little Queensland at the time would get all possessive on Sunday nights. they are loyal to a fault.

  13. Ellendra Says:

    Wish I could take her, but my cat is just as possessive, and until my house is built there’s no room for a dog. She sounds perfect for me, though. Given how easily I lose my voice, maybe a deaf dog would be a good match.

  14. Claire Says:

    EN — Good point! I hadn’t thought about that, but I agree about herd dogs.

    Ellendra — Voiceless woman, deaf dog. Yep, that’s a match. :-)

    Joel — Awwwww. Thank you for posting Sweetie at TUAK. I’d thank you in the comment section over there, but Blogger has now decided not merely to send my comments to spam, but to forbid them entirely. Hm. Wonder if Sweetie would get along with two boy dogs …

  15. Joel Says:

    Ghost and LB only squabble about one thing, and that’s who deserves to get Uncle Joel’s exclusive affection. Add a third dog, if her most visible characteristic is jealousy, and I predict chaos.

  16. Mary Lou Says:

    @EN: Yes, thats kinda what I thought also, that it’s a herding dog ‘characteristic;’ to the nth degree .. interestingly the home in which she first exhibited this behavior had ‘herding dogs’ 3 shelties ….
    @Claire: yes, I also think it is highly possible that Sweetie can be ‘managed’ and rehabbed to accept other dogs. However, she has had 3 ‘bad placements’ so far, cant take the chance of another. Its so difficult for dogs who have multiple placements, with each failed placement they think THEY have failed … and their behavior-problems-whatever get worse. Its better for Sweetie to stay at the rescue (where she is stressed, but at least is settling down) than have another failed placement (if I can possibly avoid it …)
    Thank you ALL for your interest and concern! I am not that familiar with ACDs as there aren’t that many here (we tend to hound dogs, pit bulls and bird dogs in the rural south) but I think she is beautiful … very smart, very sweet, and such beautiful blue eyes …

  17. Claire Says:

    ML — Understood. It’s so strange how, every once in a while every rescuer gets a dog that bounces back and back and back. Our friend who has been working on Sweetie’s behalf once had a perfectly great dog bounce back on her five times. The poor dog! And poor human in that case.

  18. EN Says:

    They’re very much more popular out west than in other locations. They do well in hot dry climates. Wish I could help. I can tell by the way she stands that she’s a runner. Lots of females have that look and they are the best dogs imaginable. If you take them outside they jump into the truck just to make sure they don’t get left behind. And they are the best watch dogs because they might nip at someone but they rarely bite. You can take them to Walmart and as long as no one tries to get into the bed of your truck they won’t bother anyone. They’re good dog for a single woman, they will not leave her side (for anything… if you know what I mean ;)). That’s where I’d try to place her with.

  19. Hanza Says:

    I’ve passed along Sweetie’s info to my sister. She won’t be back from a cruise until late Saturday night however.

    She and her former husband used to be sprint mushers, and she also had weight pulling competition dogs.

    They lived on 40 acres of rural land ‘off the grid’ and had a large kennel.

    She is very experienced with dogs and doesn’t currently have any pets.

  20. Claire Says:

    EN — Now THAT’s an excellent (and disinterested) sales pitch from an experienced voice. Hope the right person reads your words and is “sold” on Sweetie because what you say is true of the cattle dogs I’ve known. (And yes, very popular in the west, but they don’t mind cold northern climates, either. Lots of them in Wyoming.)

    Hanza — Thank you! Finding experienced dog people who don’t currently have any animals is hard. I’d guess that most folks who could handle a team of huskies (stubborn-cuss dogs in large numbers!) would have the skill for a cattle dog. Very different personalities, though (in my experience). Out of harness, husky runs wherever he wants to go. Cattle dog might run and run — but never wants to be out of your sight.

    It’s really great the way you’re putting the word out.

  21. EN Says:

    “Cattle dog might run and run — but never wants to be out of your sight.”

    Dead on. You can take them for long walks and they will run a little ahead, then a little to the side, back for fifty yards and then blast on by you for another fifty. But they will never go far and as soon as you stop they show up like magic. I’m not really a big animal lover. I would never hurt one, but in my tradition dogs come and go. However, there are two breeds who have my deepest respect. Border collies and Heelers. It’s not hard to see why so many mix those breeds here.

  22. naturegirl Says:

    Did you hear about the Iditarod dog CPR story, Claire?

  23. sagebrush dog walker Says:

    I will keep my eyes and ears open for a home around here. I have a soft spot for heelers. We lost one of our pack last summer and added a very abused cattle dog to our home. He couldn’t be doing better.

  24. Claire Says:

    sagebrush dog walker — Sweetie would be a lucky girl if she ended up in a home as good as yours. All your dogs are fortunate critters. Thanks for keeping an eye out. I’ll bet she’d love to be in “cattle dog country.”

  25. Claire Says:

    naturegirl — I hadn’t heard about that. Wonderful story! I’m glad the dog is okay now.

    I learned mouth-to-snout recusitation in a class, but hope I never have reason to perform it.

  26. Pat Says:

    “I learned mouth-to-snout recusitation in a class, but hope I never have reason to perform it.”

    For people or for dogs? The last I heard for people, they had done away with mouth-to-mouth and were only doing chest compressions now. (What goes around, comes around; that’s the way it started.)

    Don’t know what’s being taught for animals though.

  27. Claire Says:

    Pat — mouth-to-snout. Definitely for dogs. I have heard that mouth-to-mouth is out for humans, and it was maybe five years ago that I took this class, so possibly it’s out for dogs, too. However … I’ve heard any number of cases where it worked. I’ll look into that.

  28. Claire Says:

    Far as I can tell, mouth-to-snout is still done.

    But I’ll ask an expert and see if perhaps I can get a vet to comment here (or pass comments along),

  29. Claire Says:

    I should clarify: I never learned “recusitation” in a class. I can recussitate quite well without any help. &^%$#@!! See?

    It’s resuscitation I learned. Now, spelling … there I could use some help.

  30. Pat Says:

    :-) You’re funny, Claire. I read right over that misspelling. But I can “recussitate” like that too… Very satisfactory for me, if not the other fellow.

    I suspect that mouth-to-snout is more effective for dogs and cats anyway, given the size and shape of nose and airway. It would be nice if disposable airways and Ambu bags for animals were sold or at least obtainable through vets’ offices. Different sizes, geared for different animals.

  31. furrydoc Says:

    Just a note on differences between human and dog resuscitation technique. We human types have very stiff and resilient chest walls, so when you push down on the heart and compress the strenum, the air is pushed from the lungs, when pressure is released enough air is sucked back in from the chest wall rebounding. Dogs are much different. They have a much stiffer chest wall and much of their vacuum that is created to pull air into the lungs is from diaphragmatic movement not chest wall movement. The heart is also situated deep in the “V” of the chest and is best compressed behind the elbow while the dog is lying on it’s side. In order to ensure proper ventilation in an animal that isn’t breathing one must use mouth to nose resuscitation with chest compression much like the way we were taught to do CPR on babies. With about 90-100 compressions a minute and 15-20 breaths per minute. One other added complication is that dogs tend to pool blood in their abdominal organs, reducing venous return to the heart, so alternation of chest compression and breathing with abdominal compression is the best technique, but requires 2 people. I hope this clears up some of the confusion. I suspect, that the dog wasn’t really dead but unconscious and very near death. This type of exhaustive exercise can create severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that can cause severe drop in blood pressure and heart rate, that could cause collapse and make them look very dead.

  32. Claire Says:

    furrydoc — Thank you so much for the information! I knew you’d have the expertise and be willing to share it, but I wasn’t sure you’d be able to take the time to comment. Now your expertise is down for posterity. :-)

  33. Mary Lou Says:

    Just checking in … EN, I actually had a single woman (rides horses, lives in country) interested early on, she backed out. Had another single lady just this week, was supposed to call, never did …. Hanza, that sounds wonderful, PLEASE let me know… Claire et al, thank you all so much for helping spread the word on Sweetie, I just know the perfect home is out there, somewhere …

  34. EN Says:

    Sorry to hear that Mary Lou, but that’s the group I’d go with.

  35. Beth Says:

    Mary Lou, I might be able to help, and I’m in west-central VA, so a meeting place halfway would be easy to set up. I will email you with my phone number. :^)

  36. Claire Says:

    Beth … you’re wonderful.

  37. Beth Says:

    Not at all, Claire. Just got lots of love and bellyrubs stocked up. ;^) But thank you. Email sent to ML.

  38. Mary Lou Says:

    Beth, got your email, em’d you back, will call later this evening!

  39. Brass Says:

    “Light HW positive.” That’s like saying, “Slightly pregnant.”

  40. Mary Lou Says:

    @Brass: Not really. Light HW positive can be easily cleared up with slow kill treatment (either Heartgard plus doxycline or Guinness beer). High HW positive you HAVE to use the immiticide shots, which requires being absolutely quiet for a month (crated, only taken out to pee-poop) and on elderly or sick dogs, very dangerous. We are ‘experimenting’ with the Guinness beer for high positive dogs, Noah’s Ark Rescue has had success with an elderly pomeranian who was in too bad a condition for immiticide …
    Most (I’d say 80%) of the stray dogs (that have been strays throughout a summer) in the SE are HW positive.

  41. Claire Says:


    We don’t have much heartworm in this part of the country (in fact, I don’t know of a single “native” case, only a few cases in dogs brought from other regions). So that’s totally a new one on me. Guinness. And only Guinness? Not Samuel Adams or Moose Drool?

  42. Beth Says:

    Moose Drool…snigger. ;^)

  43. Claire Says:

    Moose Drool. Hey, no joke.

    But maybe you’d prefer Trout Slayer or Scape Goat?

  44. Beth Says:

    Claire: All three names tend to reinforce my lifelong choice to abstain from beer drinking. ;^)

    But wasn’t Moose Drool the unofficial official brew of Hardyville?

  45. Beth Says:

    Oh, and an update…after chatting with ML by phone, I’m going to ask my boss about making our (mostly outdoor) worksite dog-friendly for myself and a coworker who has a dog. If he’s okay with it (he lives next door, and his own dog comes to visit now and then), it’ll look good for me to offer Sweetie a home. Here’s lookin’ at you, Sweetie!

  46. Claire Says:

    Oh yeah! Moose Drool WAS the unofficial official brew of Hardyville. Probably still is! I’ve forgotten all about that — which is pretty bad, since I just re-read the book.

    But amen on beer. The names are better than the actual stuff. I thought beer tasted like soapsuds when my dad gave me a sip of the stuff when I was five. I’ve never had reason to change my mind about it.

    A big, huge HOORAY on your “negotiations” for Sweetie, Beth. Even if an adoption doesn’t work out, I love you for the try, and I think you’d be a great dog mom. And yeah … being able to take dogs to work … now THAT’s the way to go.

  47. EN Says:

    Good to hear Beth. I hope it works into something special.

  48. Beth Says:

    Thanks, EN and Claire. I hope so too.

  49. Beth Says:

    Just an update for anyone still checking in…Mary Lou found a good home for Sweetie while I was working to coax my bosses about a dog-friendly workplace. Since the bosses remain a bit wary (only on the dogs’ behalf in case things didn’t work out), I’m very glad another “mom” turned up for Sweetie, and I’ve asked Mary Lou to keep me in mind just in case. (ML, hope you don’t mind my posting this brief bit.) So glad the news is good and Sweetie is loved and wanted…

  50. Claire Says:

    Beth — Thanks for the update! I’ve been waiting with bated breath, fearful of asking, hoping you and ML (and your boss) were in the process of working something out.

    I’m sorry you didn’t end up with Sweetie, but you’re right: all that matters is that she’s loved and that this time she’s really found her forever home.

    BUT … you’ll be a great dog-mom when the day comes. And I hope your boss will be ready to welcome dogs then, too.

  51. Mary Lou Says:

    Sweetie’s new ‘home’ is on a trial basis … Monday, a friend of a friend called out of the blue and said she wanted to give Sweetie a ‘trial’ …. she is a single woman, older (50’s), adult children, no grands, no dogs, 2 cats … I really need to get Sweetie out of the rescue tho she is doing a bit better there… anyway, its going OK so far, Sweetie is suitably ‘cowed’ by the cats, loves her new Mom’s adult son and boyfriend. New Mom is NOT an experienced dog person, but she’s trying hard and really seems to live Sweetie. Keeping my fingers crossed … as I told Beth, OF COURSE I will immediately call her if this placement doesnt work out for Sweetie … Beth sounded like she’d be an incredible dog mom… I wasnt going to post anything publicly until at least a few days had passed,lol, have had placements for Sweetie fall thru several times now.

    Oh, and on the Guinness beer heartworm treatment … it has to be the ‘real’ thing, black label … its something about the hops and the water they use. Which somehow sterilizes the heartworms so they dont reproduce and die slowly. It also works on other internal parasites.

  52. EN Says:

    I’m glad to hear this and hope it works out for all concerned. I’m not a dog person per say, but Heelers are great dogs.

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