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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Surrendered to a shelter by a breeder because he did not meet their standards.

Base Info

  • Arrival date: Oct 18, 2021
  • Breed: Double Merle Australian Shepherd
  • Sex: Male
  • Age: Puppy
  • Birthdate: @ July 22, 2021
  • Weight: 13 pounds on Oct 18
    ……….. 13.2 Lbs Nov. 2
  • Spayed/Neutered: Yes
  • General Health: Excellent
  • Temperament: Playful, inquisitive. Learning to be affectionate.
  • SAFER Test performed: No
  • Departure date: Nov. 4, 2021 heading for A Pathway to Hope. They will handle his adoption.


Gabriel in his play pen out front of the kennel building while I clean inside. I can see him, he can see me. Please excuse the background: that’s behind my workshop where I store kennel parts and all manner of building supplies.

Progress Updates

Oct. 19, 2021

Gabriel has settled into his room and is a playful, inquisitive boy. Clearly he is not blind, as was suspected. I don’t think he’s deaf either, for he responds to sounds when I’m behind him. His left eye appears to be “lazy” (doesn’t track with his right eye). He has an occasional cough. We’ll see what the vet has to say about that tomorrow.

Oct. 20

Gabriel spent the day at the vet today for evaluation. Totally deaf. He has good vision in at least one eye. No issues with his lungs, Dr. thinks the occasional “cough” is more of a reflux/regurgitation. He only did it once during the day he spent there, so it’s hard to say for sure. Dr. Sandra did a chest x-ray just to make sure there were no issues with his lungs. They were clear. He does have Coccidia, I start him on a 6 day course of Albon tomorrow. We’ll re-test afterward. Gabriel was declared a “Total Snuggle-bug” and the staff had to take turns cuddling with him.

Oct. 30

Gabriel is doing well. he has completed his course of Albon and his poops have become normal. He will be retested next Tuesday to be sure he’s clear of the Coccidia and to get his Health Certification so he may travel interstate on November 4th.

Gabriel’s intake was an emergency situation. He needed a place to go. A Pathway to Hope would take him, but needed a local foster to care for him until transport. He’s just a little feller, so we agreed to keep him in our mega-crate in the kennel building. He has a play pen in the yard where I can take him for fresh air, sunshine, and safe interaction with other dogs. That has been a good solution for him. But now that the weather is getting chilly – and it’s been raining – spending the night in the kennel building is not the best solution for him So we brought him in the house last night, now that there should be no chance he’d infect the house dogs with Coccidia.

Gabriel slept through the night despite the fact that I was up several times during the night walking past his crate each time. He would lift his head to watch me, but as I slid back into bed he went back to sleep too.

In the morning I took him outside to pee. He did. Wasn’t ready to do anything else yet, so we went back inside and I moved his crate to the den where I would be trying to study. After a little fussing, Gabe settled in to play with the toys in his crate, then took a nap.

He did poop in his crate. I smelled it and took it out before he stomped in it. All in all, he did really well for his first night.

Nov 3

Gabriel is doing well at learning to be a house dog. He is pretty well crate trained already. He sleeps through the night every night, waiting until I get up around 4:30 to go outside to relieve himself. He gets several free-play sessions a day where he can run at large. That’s in the house or outside if he chooses. Whatever he wants to do. He loves to explore, but always keeps an eye on me. As long as he can see me he will wander around, greet all the other dogs, sniff out treasures, and just get to know the area. If I move, — ZIP — he’s right beside me!

When he goes back to his crate, he is good most of the time. He gets boisterous when I’m dishing up the dog food and if I’m in the room and he wants to play. If I leave the room, he quiets down and plays or sleeps.

Nov 5

Gabriel has arrived safely in New Jersey and has THREE handsome young fellows to accompany him to his new foster home.

Happy Tails to you sweet Gabriel!


Peppa had the misfortune to be born deaf, thus difficult to adopt despite being adorable.

Last Updated: Dec 25, 2021


Peppa is one of three 12 week old puppies that were owner surrendered as unwanted and ended up at the Sevier County Humane Society. They are all adorable and her brother and sister were quickly adopted. But not Peppa, because she was born deaf and needs a home that will work with her and her special needs. SCHS reached out to Piney Mountain Foster, to get this girl out of the shelter environment. We agreed. We then reached out to A Pathway To Hope in New Jersey who found a suitable foster home and agreed to take this sweet girl once she is healed up from her spay surgery enough to travel. They will work with her to get her ready to be adopted into a loving home.

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: Oct. 11, 2021
  • Breed: Australian Shepherd
  • Sex: Female
  • Age: 12 weeks
  • Birthdate: July 19, 2021
  • Weight: 10.0 pounds on Oct 11
  • Spayed/Neutered: Yes, Oct 11, 2021
  • General Health: Good
  • Temperament: Playful, affectionate
  • SAFER Test performed: Yes: Passed
  • Departure date: October 14, 2021

Adoption Information


Progress Summary

Detailed notes are below the summary

Relational Behavior

  • Relates well to other dogs: Yes
  • Can eat food/treats near other dogs: Undetermined
  • Preferred style of play: Undetermined
  • Is affectionate: Yes
  • Is good with:
    . Men: Yes
    . Women: Yes
    . Children: Yes
    . Cats: Probably
  • Jumps up on people: Yes she’s a puppy in need of training.
  • Mouths: Yes she’s a puppy in need of training.
  • Walks well on a leash: No


Progress Updates

Oct 14

Dec 25

Peppa is in a forever family and has grown into such a beauty. Her Mom sent this photo of Peppa (now Zuzu) and her fur-sister. What a wonderful Christmas present!

Mitzie Steele: Notes on a foster dog

Mitzie is an Australian Shepherd / Cattle Dog mix rescued from the Mountain City TN Animal Shelter where she was about to be put down. I understand that the manager there called Steele Away Home and said, “PLEASE help me save this one.” One of our fosters drove two hours to pick her up. But once she got Mitzie home, it was obvious that it wasn’t going to work because Mitzie has a high prey drive and was after the cat and the chickens. So, here she is, at Piney Mountain.

Last updated: Aug. 6, 2018

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: July 17, 2018
  • Breed: Australian Shepherd Mix
  • Sex: Female
  • Age: @ 1 year
  • Weight: @50
  • Spay/Neutered: Yes
  • General Health: Excellent
  • Temperament: High energy when playing, but sweet and attentive, even a little clingy, when calm. Brilliantly smart!
  • Gets Along with Dogs: Defensive-aggressive at first, especially if she is confined and the others are not. Playful and open once she’s settled in. May be too energetic for some small dogs.
  • Gets Along with People: Yes
  • Housebroken/Crate Trained: Yes


Surrendered to an animal shelter by her owner because the family was moving.

Transported to A Pathway to Hope on Aug. 3, 2018 for adoption.

Known Issues & Progress

High prey drive: cannot be trusted around cats, chickens, rabbits, ducks, or small wildebeests. This may have been misinterpreted: Mitzie loves to CHASE things, but may not be as focused on killing them as was thought. Still, I advise caution in this area.

High energy, she needs space to run. Walking on a leash is not sufficient all the time. She will walk on a leash, but is accustomed to being able to run.

Mitzie has a routine (hers not mine) of needing to get out in the yard at meal times (we feed at 7:00 am and 6:00 pm) so she can walk or run for 5 to 10 minutes and have a bowel movement. THEN she will return and be ready to eat. If I just give her her dish of kibble, she’ll sniff it, walk away, and refuse to eat until she gets her constitutional.

Mitzie has recovered well from her spay surgery and is again playful and happy.


In roughly chronological order, newest at the bottom. Click the thumbnails to enlarge.
Some pictures are linked to Doggy Tales or videos about Mitzie, click those to open the related story.


Yes, you may pet me.

Getting used to Rainy

I *like* this bouncy thing!

A first good look at Mitzie (vid)


Blondie teaches Mitzie to play nicely.

Mitzie is fussy about toys, but she LIKES this one!

Mitzie and Dani get loud sometimes, but are mostly peaceful.

One last play session for these two friends.
. . .

Lucky Steele

Lucky has had a colorful life, but her penchant for the free-footed lifestyle has cost her a home at least three times.
Last updated: June 18, 2018

Base Info:


  • Arrival date: May 31
  • Breed: Husky/Aussie mix
  • Sex: Female
  • Age: Approx. 1½ years
  • Weight: 36 pounds
  • Spay/Neutered: yes
  • General Health: Excellent
  • Temperament: Sweet, affectionate, gentle. Loves to be near her people.
  • Housebroken: Yes, and crate trained.
  • Good with People: Yes
  • Good with Dogs: Yes


Lucky was originally adopted from the Newport Humane Society Animal Shelter, just before they closed last year. But that family had trouble with her because Lucky likes to roam.

One day a woman, I’ll call her … Barbara: just so we have a name to work with here, arrived at Momma’s Kitchen for a meal. This is a restaurant built next to a gas station along a busy rural county highway. Barbara noticed Lucky wandering along side the road and was afraid she’d get hit by the flow of traffic.

Barbara inquired of the restaurant staff and they knew who Lucky belonged to. Barbara called the owner and was told, “That dog is always running off. I don’t want her.” So Barbara took Lucky home.

Barbara found Lucky a home with a man she knew. We’ll call him Lennie. Lennie spent around $300 on vaccinations, worming, tests, and a thorough exam, which turned up the fact that Lucky was pregnant.

Lennie brought Lucky back a week later. While Lucky is a sweet, lovable, and well behaved dog while someone is home with her she gets anxious when left alone and peed all over his home and chewed up some things. He wasn’t willing to crate her and work with her to resolve that issue and wanted her gone.

Barbara helped Lucky have 5 healthy puppies. Once they were weaned and placed in good homes, Barbara held onto Lucky as well as she could, but not having a fenced yard, Lucky was again roaming the area — which included a well trafficked road.

Lucky started visiting Barbara’s neighbors, Mike and Jeanne who are part of Steele Away Home – Canine Foster and Rescue, and they offered to help. Lucky had not been spayed yet and the last thing anyone wanted (aside from being hit by a car) was for her to get pregnant again.

Mike knows I have a fenced yard. He called to ask if there is any way we could squeeze one more in at our place. They sent pictures and a video. Look at that face, who could say, “No”?

Lucky was sent to A Pathway to Hope on June 29th for adoption.


In roughly chronological order, newest at the bottom. Click the thumbnails to enlarge.
Some pictures are linked to Doggy Tales about Lucky, click those to open the related story.

Lucky’s kennel is sanitized, stocked and ready for her.

Lucky waiting for me to open the door. “Let’s go in now.”

Lucky and Blondie sizing up each other. They were fine.

Lucky meets Josie: that went well.

Lucky’s Favorite Thing Ever (vid)

Lucky and Josephine play (vid)


Lucky becomes a house dog. (vid)

Lucky likes sleeping on her back.

Engaging in calm play with Josie.

Riding well on way to transport.
Bye, bye sweet girl!
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Ty Steele: Notes On A Rescue Dog

Ty arrived here on October 29th, 2017. What we know of him is from scraps gathered here and there from different people.

  • He’s 7 to 10 months old and not yet neutered.
  • Australian Shepherd mix.
  • He weighs about 25 pounds.
  • He’s good with other dogs.
  • Is great with older children.
  • Loves car rides.
  • Is leash trained.
  • Is crate trained.
  • Is house trained.
  • Is non-destructive of bedding and toys.

Ty’s History

Ty was an apartment dweller, which is hard enough for an active dog, but that apartment was located above a BBQ restaurant! Can you imagine the torture that was for him? So that was not very successful; which is not surprising since he is an Australian Shepherd. (Aussie’s are true working breeds: unemployment does not sit well with these guys! Since being here he has assigned himself as Head Beagle Herder — much to Josephine’s chagrin.)


Cochise tells the tale

My posse and I welcomed a new foster dog Thursday, Nov. 3rd: Fido Steele.

FidoHe’s got the feet of an Australian Shepherd, the head of a Terrier, the body of a hound and the curly tail of a husky (except with short fur), the voice of a Beagle, the mannerisms of a greyhound, and the temperament of a sweet dog. He’s an active fellow. And conversational. We had a pretty rough night the first night trying to get him to HUSH! But that’s not unusual for a new dog: this is all new and different to him. He was doing much better by the morning of the second day than he had the previous afternoon.

At this point we know nothing about his history except that he was in the care of another foster family who do not have the room he needs to run. They thought he’d do better here.

For some reason, the Peoples always think that as soon as they let a dog who has been confined for too long loose into the big play yard, they will go nuts and run and jump in jubilation. They almost never do. Fido was no different. His first session in the yard was spent (as is usual) entirely on wandering around sniffing everything. And with four other dogs in residence, there is plenty to sniff! Then came introductions.