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Happy Tail: A sassy Cattle Dog moves in


Kathleen Casserly and her boyfriend, Jason, already had a 7-month-old puppy, Kirby, but they wanted to adopt another puppy. Though they live in Minnesota, they figured they could travel a bit to adopt just the right pet, so they logged onto Petfinder and entered their criteria: female, baby, Australian Cattle Dog, within 500 miles. Up popped Harley, a Cattle Dog/Pointer mix with, perhaps, a little Boxer thrown in.

Harley stands proud with his people.

Harley stands proud with her people.

“Exactly what we were looking for!” Kathleen says. “We applied and got her.” A week later they set out on the three-hour trip to Chasing Daylight Animal Shelter in Tomah, Wisconsin, which had listed the 8-week-old on Petfinder. The dog’s mother had been found running loose in traffic during one of the coldest winters on record shortly after giving birth to six puppies.

“We were advised to meet in a neutral location (not at home) to introduce the dogs” Kathleen says, “but due to the weather it just wasn’t possible. For the first three days, Kirby was so obsessive about Harley, we almost had to separate them. He has just been in love with her since Day 1.”

Kathleen says they had another dog staying with them at the time they adopted Harley, and Kirby got bent out of shape if that dog even looked at his food bowl. But, “the first day we brought Harley home, she actually growled at Kirby for eating out of his own bowl, and he let her get away with it. So we could tell she was a little sassy from the start.”

She shows some classic Cattle Dog behavior when she tries to herd other dogs (and even a kid, once), but she shows other characteristics as well. “Her side profile looks strongly Pointer,” Kathleen says, “her ears are Boxer, and her jaw’s pretty square (who knows which one she gets that from). And while her weakest breed is the Boxer, if you pull the skin on her neck, you’ll realize how much she has! And she drools when it gets hot.”

She keeps an eye on things in the neighborhood. “I often find her parked in front of a window, staring and warning us about passersby,” Kathleen says. She shows her devotion to Kathleen and Jason by licking them, trying to sit on their laps and wagging her tail if they say her name. “She acts the same way with neighbors she knows and loves.”

Kirby welcomed her, and this summer Harley had an opportunity to pass the welcome forward, serving as a “big sister” to the couple’s foster puppy, Blackie, from Luv Me Again, based in Bloomington, Minnesota.

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