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Our Current Pets

October 30th, 2009 . by maria

April Mae is an Australian Cattle Dog (Red Heeler)/Border Collie mix (ACD/BC). She’s our primary Pet Therapy dog.


 April is shelter rescue, but we can’t imagine why anyone would give her up- at only 6 months old. She learned her basic obedience tricks in her first few days with us, and can do them with either voice OR hand signals. She loves to please, and to swim, and to play fetch or frisbee for hours. She used to compete with a local agility venue. As a young dog she had no regard for her own safety, though, and tore her ACL (knee) so badly it needed surgery. It is strange to think about spending a couple thousand dollars on a vet bill, but stranger to even contemplate giving up on such an talented, hardworking, young dog. So, while she recovered from surgery we trained as a therapy dog. (Thank you, for all you do!) She was still a little energetic to be ideal for therapy work, so I was thrilled when she healed so well that the vet cleared her to return to agility! Since then she has also competed in SSA Rally Obedience, Watersports, and CPE Agility. We couldn’t get enough of working with the folks at Rocky Creek Dog Agility in Ephrata, and competing with! April earned her agility SSA Championship, and when we moved back to Florida she retired from agility and began using her therapy pet training. People love to see her do tricks, and even the staff jokes about ‘hearing her coming’ on her hyper days.

When our second dog, Emily (see Legacy Pets page) passed away, the household felt incomplete, and we still had all the doggy equipment to take care of a second dog. We felt a great way to honor her was to rescue another dog. Alex joked that it would be funny to find blue heeler (opposite of red) with one blue and one brown eye, on opposite sides to April’s. Then he went on Facebook to an ACD rescue group…and found our next dog about an hour away, waiting for the right home.

Tilde (Matilda Roo) is our “In Training” Therapy Dog! She’s an Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler) who happens to be deaf.

Tilde is basically deaf. (She can hear April’s loudest barks, but not much else.) But since we’d already taught April all her commands with hand signals, we felt we had the tools to help Tilde. She was initially a nervous, alert dog. Her previous owners didn’t know she was deaf, so she was often startled, and treated like she was being naughty even though she didn’t know why. But we knew how to make her comfortable, and she quickly fit right in. She has learned to use April as a “helper dog”, taking cue for where to go, when to bark, etc. And boy does she use all her other senses – she can see EVERY movement of light and shadow. But she has come a long way, and gained a lot of confidence. I have begun taking her on pet therapy visits. She must like them, because when I get ready, you can tell she wants to be the one picked to go!

Then in early October 2018, we had a health scare with April. We realized that if we lost her, Tilde would be “in the dark” once again. It takes a while to train a dog, and extra long to train for what we needed. But first we had to find a dog with a certain disposition – a dog Tilde could relate to, who loved to learn and please, and who had a balanced disposition. So, Alex hit the internet looking for a good cattle dog needing a home, and found one at our local shelter, Halifax Humane Society.  She turned out to be exactly what we were looking for. With April and Tilde’s approval, we brought her home.

Meet Luna Blu! She’s an Australian Cattle Dog mix (ACDx?)/blue heeler with a ton of personality. She’s wearing her pretty Parti collar!

You can’t see her tail in this picture, because she is wagging it so hard! She just can’t sit still.  She needs a LOT more training (like don’t jump on people!) before she can do pet therapy. She may also think her name is “don’t lick me”. But she’s smart as a whip, and she and Tilde love to run and play together. We can’t wait to see what she can really do.



Our cats are Tattoo, a tuxedo cat, and Princess Deja, a striped cat with white. (Every cat family MUST have a tuxedo cat…something about the genetics makes them such characters!) These particular cats are not interested in entertaining humans, so they aren’t involved in pet therapy. (Well, not outside our home anyway!)

Princess Deja cat

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