Born through a disreputable breeding practice, this Double Merle Aussie girl has had a rough time in her short life so far.

Last Updated: March, 27, 2022


One of three puppies born from the breeding of two Merle Australian Shepherds, all three had issues with hearing and eyesight. The breeder surrendered the pups to a local rescue. Sevier County Humane Society pulled the pups from the rescue and reached out to Piney Mountain Foster for help with the two who were deaf. We contacted A Pathway to Hope in New Jersey, and they agreed to take them. The third pup, Ariel, was adopted out. She was returned several months later with a lame excuse as the reason. It is clear the adopter did not train the dog and when the cute, bouncy, nibbling ball of fluff got to be 35 pounds she was no longer “adorable”. We see this all the time. She was abandoned because she did not train herself.

Base Info

  • Arrival date: March 3, 2022
  • Breed: Australian Shepherd
  • Sex: F
  • Age: Youth
  • Birth date: July 19, 2021
  • Weight: 37.4 pounds on March 3, 2022
  • Spayed/Neutered: Yes
  • General Health: Good
  • Temperament: Rowdy, playful, affectionate.
  • SAFER Test performed: No
  • Departure date: Undetermined

Relational Behavior

  • Relates well to other dogs: Yes. Tries to make friends with everyone
  • Can eat food/treats near other dogs: Tends to invade other dogs bowl.
  • Preferred style of play: Running and rowdy play.
  • Is affectionate: Yes
  • Is good with:
    . Men: Yes
    . Women: Yes
    . Children: Yes, though too rowdy right now for young children.
    . Cats: Unknown
  • Jumps up on people: Yes
  • Mouths: Doing better
  • Walks well on a leash: Doing better


  • Comes when called: She’s hard of hearing, don’t think she can hear me.
  • Sits on command: Yes (use hand signal)
  • Down / Off: Not yet
  • Shake / Paw: Not yet
  • Kennels on command: Yes, use hand signal, expects a treat.


4Health Puppy kibble mixed with one Pedigree Pouch, fed morning and evening.
She gets a variety of treats through the day as rewards for obedience.



Ariel is not completely deaf, she responds to barking dogs and closing the front door hard it will wake her from a sleep. The floor is concrete, I don’t think she’s feeling vibrations. But she does not seem to be able to hear me speaking or calling her. Maybe she chooses not to hear, it’s hard to say.


Ariel navigates the Cottage and the play yard just fine. The way she throws her forelegs out in front of her when she runs makes me think she is visually impaired – especially in the left eye. She may lack depth perception, but can see well enough to get along. Both pupils are irregular. Vision may be distorted.


Ariel is smart and she does train. But one must find a way to communicate to her what you want her to do — and to get past the flighty, rowdiness that she still engages in since she still thinks she’s a little puppy.

She approaches all of my dogs with a submissive, almost pleading attitude, “Please be my friend”, even the dogs, sometimes especially the dogs, who are yelling at her that she doesn’t belong here. I have not seen her respond in aggression to any other dog. She has found a good friend in Zoey (female Husky) and they play well together.

When I get a second handler out here I will test her with other dogs in open play. Many times a dog in a kennel will harass a roaming dog when they will not behave that way if both are free or the roles are reversed.

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Zoey Zoomheart
Zane Goodfellow