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Sweetie’s journey continues

Deaf rescue dog Sweetie meets her fellow ACD Sam and new foster "mom" Linda

Thanks to you all, the journey of Sweetie the deaf heeler continues — with each step taking her nearer to a happy forever home.

I picked Sweetie up at the Portland airport two weeks ago and fostered her until Linda, a real cattle dog expert, could take her on. Today my wonderful vet and I (who were going to be traveling together anyhow) met up with Linda and transferred Sweetie into her care.

Here you see this “vicious animal who can’t be trusted around dogs or strangers” greeting her new housemate Sam.

I’m no expert, but in my time with Sweetie I saw what Mary Lou (her very determined South Carolina rescuer) saw: a darling lap dog whose main “problems” are that she is timid, defensive, untrained, deaf, and a classic heeler (e.g. “When in doubt, nip”). But also a complete cuddlebug and smart as a whip! Boy, did that dog learn fast.

Pat yourselves on the back for all you did for this great girl.


  1. Mary Lou
    Mary Lou April 15, 2012 7:09 pm

    Happy dance! Happy dance! I cannot tell you how happy this makes me … bless you, Claire, for taking on Sweetie’s cause when I was at the end of my east coast rescue network and reached out to you … and thanks to all the wonderful folks who chipped in to help Sweetie ‘travel West’ ….

  2. bumperwack
    bumperwack April 15, 2012 8:03 pm


  3. EN
    EN April 15, 2012 9:48 pm

    What a beautiful dog. I wondered if a lot of her “problems” may not be so bad.

  4. furrydoc
    furrydoc April 15, 2012 10:39 pm

    Ok I’ll admit it is a good picture. You can’t see my wrinkles, did you airbrush me?

  5. Water Lily
    Water Lily April 16, 2012 4:15 am

    Yay! I love rescue happy ending stories! 🙂

  6. Karen
    Karen April 16, 2012 5:00 am

    Thanks for the update! I was wondering about Sweetie just yesterday morning. I love it when a plan comes together!

  7. JS
    JS April 16, 2012 5:33 am

    *huge smiles*

    In my very short time at the shelter, I’ve learned that a “vicious animal who can’t be trusted around dogs or strangers” is rare when given love, attention and structure. Another perfect example.

  8. Claire
    Claire April 16, 2012 6:12 am

    I guess furrydoc is outing herself as my neighbor, friend, and vet. So I’ll say right now that she’s even more beautiful than in the photo, doesn’t have a wrinkle anyone but she can see, and hasn’t got one gray hair in that glorious Italian black mane. Not only that, but we went traveling in her husband’s sexy race car.

    Oh, and clark, the other person in the photo is no dude. My photo just didn’t flatter her. Neither she nor I may be as beautiful as furrydoc, but you’re looking at some damnfine women in that photo.

  9. Beth
    Beth April 16, 2012 11:43 am

    YAY for Sweetie and her coterie of devoted rescuers!!!

  10. MJR
    MJR April 16, 2012 12:05 pm

    In the sea of bad news with waves of despair that wash over us every day via the 1,000 channel universe this kind of story is a Godsend. Thank you for lettering us help, Claire. BTW Furrydoc, there is nothing wrong with wrinkles, they just illustrate where the smiles have been and, if I may be so bold, look wonderful. :~>)

  11. naturegirl
    naturegirl April 16, 2012 12:18 pm

    Aww, thanks for the update and a smile for us today.

    Sam looks like he has Heeler in him too?

  12. Claire
    Claire April 16, 2012 12:59 pm

    naturegirl — Yep, Sam is a purebred red heeler. Linda specializes in the breed. She laughs because until 11 years ago when she got her first ACD she was a border collie person. Taking on heelers, she said to herself, “Hey, if I can do border collies, heelers will be a piece of cake.” Heelers — especially damaged, traumatized, and difficult ones like Linda specializes in — are nobody’s piece of cake. But they’re seriously addictive.

    Already had a couple of updates from Linda on Sweetie. She’s observing pretty much what I did. Sweetie’s startle responses are highly exaggerated even for a deaf dog and her basically sweet nature seems to be complicated by PTSD. Sweetie has several signs of physical damage that don’t seem to affect her health but point to early trauma. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, but the combo of her deaf/PTSD jumpiness and her heeler nippiness alarmed previous caretakers and would-be adopters who didn’t understand what was happening.

    She’s in great hands with Linda, and I’m glad to share the smiles with you guys.

  13. clark
    clark April 16, 2012 7:46 pm

    Oh, sorry about that. Honestly. Must have been the shirt?

  14. naturegirl
    naturegirl April 16, 2012 9:20 pm

    I thought so! Can tell by the body shape and ears especially…..I certainly hope the best home in the world is where Sweetie can finally relax in, she’s earned it.

    I should have read this first and not the pig story. *sigh*

  15. Ellendra
    Ellendra April 17, 2012 10:36 am

    Really wish I could take Sweetie, but her story has convinced me to look for a heeler when I finally get to the point where I can take on a dog.

  16. Claire
    Claire April 17, 2012 11:31 am

    Ellendra — that’s wonderful. When you’re getting ready to make your decision, may I suggest you subscribe to ACD-L, the cattle dog email list?

    There’s a lot of variety among ACDs — some are from working lines (energetic!), some from more companion-oriented lines, some calm, some hyper. The folks on that list — who include rescuers, breeders, and just-plain fans, can be a great guide & might even lead you to your ultimate heeler.

  17. clark
    clark April 17, 2012 2:20 pm

    I feel bad about my comment, it’s played on my mind all day. It’s what I get for trying comedy, never again.
    I think it was due to the nic furrydoc, too.

    Ellendra wrote, “when I finally get to the point where I can take on a dog.”

    I’m beginning to think I’ll never get back to that point again.

    Those of you who have dogs are lucky, imho.

  18. Claire
    Claire April 17, 2012 5:14 pm

    clark — It’s nice of you, but don’t worry. That wasn’t a very flattering photo, her clothes were baggy, and at a quick glance it would have been easy to make that mistake.

    Also, while my dear vet may be reading this comment section, Linda almost certainly isn’t. Her politics are so different than most hereabouts that hanging out here too much would probably raise her blood pressure too high. And she’s already got enough stresses as is. 🙂

    I’m sorry you can’t have a dog! I can’t imagine life without one …

  19. rustynail
    rustynail April 18, 2012 11:13 am

    Claire, I am fairly new to the Pacific NW. Now living in the mid-Columbia after moving from Alabama. Need a Vet familiar with Blue Heelers. My Heeler is beginning to show problems with his joints and I’d like to take him to a Vet who wouldn’t be learning from scratch. Can you are furrydoc give me some suggestions?

  20. rustynail
    rustynail April 18, 2012 11:15 am

    Sorry, the last sentence should read: Can you or furrydoc give me some suggestions?

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