Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible. -- Anonymous


Mission Statement

Our Purpose is to rescue and re-home existing Lethal White Australian Shepherds.  Our Mission is to ensure, through support and education, a positive environment and successful life-long union for those adopted.  Our Vision is to prevent, and ultimately eliminate, Merle-to-Merle breeding of Australian Shepherds through continuous efforts to EDUCATE!

                Mesa, Arizona

Lucky Lethal Stories 

Here are some great stories from some very Lucky Lethals across the USA!  Click on pics for enlargement.


      Scooby found on the road 5 years ago!

Our special dog's name is Scooby.  Five years ago my son Mike and a friend were driving in the White Mountains of Arizona.  They saw what they thought was a little pig in the road, but when they went to move the "pig" they found it was a puppy that could not see or hear.  Mike being the negative seventeen year old rough, tough, cream puff that he is, brought the dog home!  We have not had a dog for 30 years and to make matters worst I had just found out I had lupus!  
Mike made all the typical promises young people make about caring for the dog (none of which he kept). Plus he told us THIS dog would bring love into our family.  We tried to convince Mike this was not a good idea for many obvious reasons, but he would not take no for an answer.  So being the firm parents that we are - we took the dog home to Tucson!!  A four hour drive with this little "piggy" in Mike's lap! 
Well Scooby turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  When I was very sick and spent many hours in bed she was always by my side.  She also made me see that she could over come her "disadvantages" and maybe I could adjust to my new health problems too. Mike also was dealing with issues in his life and Scooby turned out to be a real source of comfort for him.  My husband will do anything for this dog.  He even left work to come to the vets when she had a sticker in her paw.  She is his little white princess (she weights 54 lbs.!!) and nothing is ever Scooby's fault according to my husband. She makes us laugh, we take her on hikes and she surely has brought LOVE into our lives!!!

Nancy Hum


  Jade adopted from the Arizona Animal Welfare League, Phoenix, AZ

Back in January, we had the wonderful opportunity to adopt a beautiful little 3month old Lethal White named Jade. Jade was born completely blind but has near perfect hearing. This was our first puppy, and we were a little nervous about taking on a special needs dog. The first couple of times we watched her walk into a wall or a chair had me in tears. We realized, she was perfectly capable of being a "normal" dog...she just needed extra guidance.
We started to become very vocal with her. She is very active, so we needed to give her opportunities to feel safe to run. We started taking her out to open fields and would have her run back and forth between us following the sound of our voices. She also can play catch! She will bring toy to play a quick game of "tug-of-war", then once we have it, we will throw it, and tell her to 'go get it'. She starts off in little circles, and gradually moves outward until she finds it! The most amazing thing is, she will always bring back the toy that was thrown, even if she comes across one of her other toys. She always knows which one we were just playing with.
Jade has become and absolute joy to our house. She has taught us that she is not disabled, but gifted. She has never had sight, so she doesn't miss it, and people are always surprised to find out she is blind because of her happy outgoing nature.  She has trained us well!


Her "Seeing-Eye" Family
Gene, Ali and Alex Ganssle


This "story" was not submitted as a Lucky Lethal Story.  This is an actual email sent to Lorraine, which is a happy ending to yet another story that began in a kill shelter!

  Ice rescued by "Diann H" from a kill shelter in Iowa (now residing in Arkansas)

Dear Lorraine,

Thank you for forwarding to me the "URGENT" memo regarding "Ice", the deaf Lethal White Aussie that was in the "Kill Shelter" in Waterloo, Iowa.  I went to Iowa this weekend, picked him up at Diann's,  and brought him back here to Langley, Arkansas where he will live out the rest of his life with me and the rest of our "pack" of once homeless and abandoned creatures. Ice is a wonderful dog. He has already made friends with the other seven dogs, and is behaving himself (as well as a year old pup can). He withstood the 14 hour car ride to Arkansas quite well, with the aid of a few bites of the  McDonald's "Quarter Pounders" and french fries that he managed to "talk" me out of during the trip. He had to have his first good bathing immediately upon our arrival, as he was smelling a little bad from his stay in the shelter, and he cooperated really well. It was late when we finally got to our home in Arkansas, so we went straight to bed after the bath. Sometime during the night, Ice apparently decided that the spot on the carpet right next to my bed where he had chosen to sleep wasn't good enough, so he climbed up on the bed and made himself at home. I awakened sometime during the night to find myself sharing part of my pillow with a still damp doggie. I figured that he had been a little chilly and decided that the bed would be a bit warmer. I didn't mind, and just tucked the covers in around his darling, furry neck, and went back to sleep. I am going to attach a photo that I took of Ice this morning, it will probably take forever to download, as it was taken with my Kodak DX3700 digital camera using the highest resolution setting (it takes up more memory space, but the photos come out much better). As you can see in the photo, Ice is really a beautiful pup, and I can't thank you enough for introducing him to me. I still miss my Little Gus, but now that Ice has been rescued from the shelter and been brought into my (our) life, Little Gus's terrible demise has  produced at least one good thing! His death has saved the life of another Lethal White Aussie who otherwise might have been put to sleep. Had I not met and loved Little Gus, I never would have been introduced to these unfortunate creatures. I just wish that I had the money to save ALL of the abandoned and un-loved furry creatures that are put down each and every day in our cruel world, but I don't. I do help the one's I can though, and if everyone else would sacrifice just a little of their time and money too, maybe all of those poor and unfortunate creatures could experience the joy of being loved. It breaks my heart to think of even one helpless little puppy, kitten, or any other creature suffering and dying without being loved by someone. They are the truly "innocent" ones, and should be cherished instead of ignored and neglected.  Maybe someday in the future we will evolve into a more caring and understanding human race who recognizes that even the smallest of God's creatures deserve the respect that all living "beings" are entitled to. Please keep up the wonderful work you are doing. I hope that you can continue to find wonderful "forever" homes for these Aussies that are brought to your attention, and hopefully, once people learn about Lethal Whites, people will learn not to breed the Merles together and produce litters of these blind and/or deaf puppies! Have you ever thought of contacting the folks that produce "Animal Planet" (a satellite TV channel all about animals)? Perhaps they would be willing to produce a show about these Aussies, and that would certainly expand the public knowledge regarding the pitfalls of breeding Merle Aussies. It might even help with the adoption of existing Lethals that still need forever homes. It was just a thought. I am going to close for now, as I must go and "show off" my new boy! Thanks again (and again, and again!)
Warm Regards,
Mark Hansen, (and the "Furs": Ice, Pitchpatch, Bootsie, Queenie, Bonnie, Rusty, Coalie, Spottie, Purris and Spooky-Padooky)



Last year an accidental Merle-to-Merle breeding resulted in the birth of 2 Lethals: a little girl who could see and hear and a little boy who was deaf.  The Breeder (Lynn), who is very responsible and reputable, contacted Mark & Luanna Lawrence (through the Vet who cares for their doggies) for help in finding the little deaf boy a home.  His name is Mouse because he is so very white :-)  Please know that Stormy (the little girl) has a wonderful home with 2 children that love her and think there is no greater dog in the world :-)

Before I continue with Mouse's story, please know that Lynn LOVES all of her litters and does NOT practice or condone Merle-to-Merle breeding...but accidents do happen!  All of her pups are microchipped, including Mouse (with her information) before going to their forever homes.

When Mark contacted me after speaking with Lynn, we were all working on finding him a loving home...and Lynn continued to do the same.  Lynn sent the following email about Mouse to Luanna and gave her permission for us to share with you.

Hi Luanna, (Beautiful name)
The other white girl is fine ~ She can hear and see!  She is in Laughlin, NV. with a wonderful family having two children who love her like there is no other dog in the world as her own private herd. Her name is Stormy.
And the most wonderful thing happened for Mouse. For no apparent reason my Mom mentioned Mouse to the Gentleman that she buys her hay cubes from (Alex) and Alex is a member of a church (in East Bakersfield) that has a sizable deaf and hearing impaired congregation of approximately 60 people. And Alex told the hearing impaired Pastor (Mark) about Mouse, then when Mark told his congregation about Mouse and asked if any one was interested 60 hands went up! Well, to solve the problem of so many families wanting this one puppy they did a ballet on who each person thought should have Mouse and no one could vote for themselves. Anyway the majority of the people voted on a retired deaf Gentleman named Earl who had just lost his 15 year old Deaf Aussie! What a blessing.
So, the Friday before Christmas my 10 year old daughter Jillian and I met Alex, Mark, Marks two sons, and Earl at a feed store in Tehachapi and gave Mouse to Earl. Mark assured me that Mouse and Earl will have all the support of their Church behind them to raise Mouse. And the report I received from Alex yesterday, was that everyone is doing wonderfully.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year.
I look forward to talking Aussie with you in the future,
May God keep you and yours,

Here are a few pictures (not real good quality, but we'll be getting better ones) of Pastor Mark, Mouse and Mouse & Earl.  Enjoy!!!

Be sure to check back for new pics and updates!


Cocoa's Story (formerly Kissin' Kate)

Late at night, into early next morning on October 16, 2003, a litter of 8 Australian Shepherds were born in Apache Junction, AZ.  The next day, the breeder called her Vet to schedule an appointment to have 4 tails docked…and 4 pups euthanized.   Lucky for those 4 pups, the Vet was on vacation!  The 4 beautiful pups whose lives were to end, without a second thought, were Lethal Whites (deaf and/or blind in varying degrees), a common result from a Merle-to-Merle breeding.  The “average” percentage is 25%, but in many cases, such as this one, it certainly can be more.

 Enter a kind soul who could not bear to see these pups put to sleep, brings us to the wonderful, heartwarming story of what love, compassion and dedication can accomplish.  This story is about Cheyenne, Dakota and Cocoa…and their loving family, Mark & Luanna Lawrence, who sought professional help when challenged beyond their capabilities.

 Cheyenne is deaf and sight impaired; Dakota has slight sight impairment; Cocoa is deaf and has slight sight impairment.  On 1/31/04, Dakota and Cheyenne were adopted by Mark & Luanna, who made the trip from Rosamond, CA to Mesa, AZ with all canine residents in tow to meet these precious babies.  All went well, and they soon began their new life together.  Not unfamiliar with Aussies, Luanna soon realized that Cheyenne’s deafness did create some obstacles not easily overcome.  Determined to find a solution, Luanna searched for training opportunities that would address her concerns in communicating with a deaf dog.  Luanna & Mark had criteria in mind when selecting a trainer: familiarity with deaf dogs; only positive reinforcement; availability of in-home training; and a trainer that would recognize the potential hidden inside them and appreciate them for what they are capable of.

They found exactly what they were looking for in a trainer when they contacted Uncle Matty, where they met Nikki (Nickol Litwin).  She helped change all their lives!

 While Cheyenne and Dakota were growing up in a loving, secure home, Cocoa (Kissin’ Kate) had already been adopted and returned to foster care, living again with her brother Magnus.  She already had some issues (submissive peeing), but was coming along.  Soon, Cocoa and Magnus were adopted by a wonderful couple who were soon to be married.  Life’s unexpected turns sometimes creates chaos for others involved.  The marriage plans fell through and Cocoa’s life, once again, was in upheaval.  She became too difficult to handle, so she was, once again, in need of a new home.

Enter a wonderful family whose love and dedication made such a positive difference in the lives of 2 sweet Lethals, destined to die, brings us to yet another happy ending for a little girl, confused and bewildered, wondering where exactly she belonged.  No better place than with her siblings and a family very familiar in training a deaf dog!  On 1/11/05, Cocoa was officially adopted by Mark and Luanna and her life was about to change forever!  She has joined Cheyenne and Dakota in their weekly obedience lessons and is doing great.  Nikki thinks she is very smart and is quickly learning what is “expected” of her, even though she has never had to “do” anything she didn’t want to. J

With a little direction and a lot of love and patience, Cocoa is becoming the lady she was destined to be.  There are always options for the deaf dog…sign language; and for the deaf and blind…touch commands.  Don’t give up on the impaired…find a solution!  As a guardian, you owe it to them to let them be the best that they can.  The possibilities are endless!

 Cheyenne, Dakota and Cocoa…in training!

Cyndi Cunico  AussieLads Lethal White Aussie Rescue


Update 1/01/08  Hello, I have been meaning to write to send an update on Kellen. I wrote you a few years ago shortly after adopting Kellen and in fact you still have his story posted (Colorado)! Kellen is almost 6 years old now and he doing wonderful! He completely lost his sight in August 2006 due to the congenital retina problems he was born with, but has adapted beautifully. I am sending an updated picture with his ball. He still plays ball and fetches like a champ. That definitely is his "job" that brings him so much enjoyment! As you can see from his picture, he is happy and always smiling.

I appreciate your mission and the help that you provide these special dogs. The exposure that Aussie Lads offers to people to (hopefully) educate them about poor breeding that leads to the congenital disorders these wonderful dogs have to live with the rest of their lives. That is so important!! Kellen is the best dog we have ever had....and that's a strong statement. Having him has made me a better person; more patient and understanding. Plus, the reward I get by having a fantastic companion and friend. He is truly a perfect angel.

Thank you for all you do!

Warm regards,
Cheryl Valdez and Kellen


Hi Cyndi, I just found the website on "Lethal Whites" recently and am thrilled and thankful there is such a wonderful resource for humans who are blessed to come in touch with one of these dogs.
My name is Cheryl Valdez and I adopted my dog Kellen (like "Helen Keller") almost 2 years ago from a no-kill shelter in Denver, Colorado. Kellen was approximately 9 months old at the time.  He is profoundly deaf and 70% blind.  His right eye never developed at all and his left eye has only about 30% sight - per his ophthalmologist.  I had recently lost my beloved German Shepherd after 15 years just  three months prior and was looking for another dog.  When I laid eyes on Kellen in the shelter, I immediately fell in love.  He was strikingly beautiful and pitiful at the same time.  He was quarantined because he had kennel cough.  He had been returned to the shelter twice in the three months he lived there and was very depressed.  I knew nothing about having a deaf and blind dog, but thought I would be a good candidate to have him because I could sign (ASL), am sensitive to deaf culture, have a blind friend and no kids so I could spend lots of time with him.  I thought "I could do this"!  I went back to that shelter everyday for two weeks to make friends and establish a relationship with Kellen.  He was so excited to see me and learned quickly that I was kind to him and paid him some attention.  I knew his nose worked just fine, because he would sniff out the treats in my pockets!  Kellen and I quickly became great friends.  In the meantime, I read everything I could get my hands on about these dogs, met with another human and her dog that is also a deaf/blind Aussie mix and talked to my vet.  I knew if I adopted Kellen and things did not go smoothly, it would not be an option to return him. He would be mine forever regardless of the bumps in the road I may encounter and I would never give him up regardless of his special needs. I get deeply attached and would have the same commitment to any dog that I would end up adopting.  Further, Kellen tended to get picked on by other dogs because they sensed his vulnerability.   I knew the special human that adopts Kellen needed to be sensitive to his needs and give him a safe environment.  I did not think anyone could take care of him as good as I could.  So I took my husband to the shelter to meet Kellen.  My husband was a bit reluctant to adopt him, but supported my decision.  I know now that his reluctance was ignorance despite the fact that he is a animal lover.  He thought Kellen would be "dumb" because he could not hear anything or see very well.  Do we think humans that are deaf or blind or dumb because of their disability? This is a common myth, but I knew different.
We adopted Kellen on October 16, 2002.  He adapted very well to his new home.  He now has a safe and loving environment.  Since he cannot see very well, I could not use conventional ASL signs to communicate with him.  I began to use taps and big hand signals which he responded to very well.  I also stomp on the floor and use lights to get his attention. He is very sensitive to vibration and has a keen sense of smell.  Kellen also has a strong herding instinct, so I supervised him carefully around my two cats.  My cats learned quickly that Kellen was different,  but they all became one happy family soon enough.  We enrolled Kellen into a puppy class and he graduated with top honors!  Kellen learned how to shake and sit the first week we had him.  His special needs do not limit his intelligence and strong learning drive and is very eager to please.  Typical of Aussies to be extremely bright. Kellen is very attentive and is reliant on his humans.  He gets lots of touch and massage and loves his teeth brushed. As you can see from his picture, he is very happy and is always grinning with his pink lips!
Shortly after adopting Kellen, he developed internal bleeding in his eye.  We learned that he could not play or romp with other dogs because his eye and face would tend to get bumped that would cause the eye bruising/internal bleeding.  A small sacrifice to preserve the limited vision he has, especially since that is all he has.  Kellen's eye has been stable with no problems for over one year now.
We have had him almost two years now and my husband has absolutely no regrets adopting him and says Kellen is the best dog we ever had. Kellen is not destructive, does not chew, make any messes, he rides in the car great and is perfect in every way.  He has several jobs that keep him busy.  He loves his fluorescent ball.  He may not be able to see it very well, but he loves to play fetch.  Kellen is lucky to have a big fenced yard to run and play.  He sniffs out the squirrels and Mag Pies birds out of the yard.  In fact, his sense of smell is so good that he knows when I come home before I can make it to the backdoor to greet him.  We play hide and seek with Kellen and he gets a kick out of trying to locate you or the treat you hide for him.  Kellen never lets me forget to give him his eye drop and pill each morning or brush his teeth at bedtime.  Kellen sleeps on the bed and loves to take a bath and be blow-dried.  He loves the Colorado mountain smells and goes often on road trips.  Kellen wears a backpack and leather foot protection when we
hike with him.  He thinks he is so important (which he is to us!!) when he is wearing his gear.  People tell us how lucky Kellen is to have such a good home, but we are the lucky ones.
I will definitely seek out another "lethal white" dog when I lose Kellen.  There are so many dogs that need good homes, but especially these dogs that are born with a bad deck of cards against them already. Not every human is willing  to take on the extra responsibility it takes (or worthy) to have a special needs dog.  He was heaven sent.
Thanks for letting me tell my story.  I love your website.  
Love and Peace,
Cheryl Valdez and the "Kellenator"


  Grace adopted from Private Rescue, Monique Kramer (now residing in Maine)

Hi, My name is Grace. In a previous existence I was Karma/Dharma on the SNAP website.
I was rescued in Tennessee off a highway and wound up in Georgia after being rescued by a Veterinary student (now a Doctor) who does a lot of rescue work. She was fostering me and brought me to UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital to have my eyes and ears checked out. Bad News. We found out that I am totally deaf and partially blind. But Good News! I found my forever Mom that day. My forever Mom works at UGA and saw me in the arms of my foster mom.
My forever parents had an Aussie (which they soon discovered was a Lethal also but could did not have the drastic sight and hearing problems that I have) that had seizures starting at 6 months of age. Luckily she had two parents that loved her and she got to live a good life until the age of 9 years.
My Forever Dad came to meet me and fell in love. Although he had said "No No" to having more dogs or cats (since there were 2 cats and 2 other dogs both Lab Mixes at the home already) he couldn't resist me. I got a Forever Home in May 2003 and got 3 brothers (2 cats and 1 dog) and a sister (the other dog). Now I live in Georgia with my brothers and sister and I am very much loved.

"Thank you Monique!"

Love, Grace
I think all of you are doing a great job and I hope someday to be in a position that I can adopt more Lethals.
Deb Tillman



Snowshoe adopted from Private Rescue, Monique Kramer (now residing in Maine)

This past February my wife Mandi was searching Petfinder.com to see if we could find a friend for Zazu, our eight year old Black Tri Australian Shepherd.  That was when we first saw Snowshoe and heard about his story.  Snowshoe is blind and deaf.  He was found in the woods in North Carolina left for dead.  He was starved nearly to death, was dirty and little more than skin and bones.  He eventually was turned over to the people at Pup & Cat Co. and found his way to Monique, a veterinary student at the time.

Neither Mandi nor I had ever heard the term, "Lethal White" before we decided to adopt Snowshoe. His story touched our hearts and after some thought about taking on a special needs dog, we decided that we would go see about Snowshoe.  Mandi contacted Monique and set up a meeting to see how Zazu would react to another dog. The first meeting at the Petsmart was a success.  We agreed to the adoption. A week later we brought Snowshoe to our home in Cumming. We had no idea what a blessing this dog would be in our lives.

Snowshoe took to our house very quickly.  In the finest of Southern traditions, nobody goes hungry around here.  In the last nine months, Snowshoe has gained seventeen pounds and now weighs fifty pounds.  His favorite treat is Frost Paws, frozen treats for dogs. Snowshoe is a quick study and soon had the layout of the house memorized.  Now he navigates about the furniture with ease. Still, Snowshoe is all Australian Shepherd and is rambunctious and full of energy.  His brother Zazu still is not sure what to think.  Just as any other younger brother, Snowshoe loves to torment his older brother. Snowshoe will nip at or sit on Zazu until he gets his older brother to play with him.  When the two boys are not chasing each other around, they just nap on the sofa.

Snowshoe has other canine friends.  Next door is Bella, a beautiful black German Shepherd. Also, there is Tripod, a three legged Australian Shepherd who lives with the couple that watch Snowshoe and Zazu when Mandi and I are out of town.  Snowshoe likes the cats, but the cats do not like him, or any other dog for that matter.  Snowshoe loves to go for a walk. He usually grabs the lead with his mouth and takes the lead. When goes out in the yard he loves to run circles round and about, then slows down to prance like a Lipizzaner Stallion.

Snowshoe loves to ride in the car, but only in daylight.  At night, he likes to get in the driver’s lap.  Snowshoe made a trip to Florida this past spring.  Though we never made it to the beach due to the rain, he was the star at his hotel.  The staff at the Fernandina Beach Veterinary Clinic were sad to see him go.

Snowshoe is a great source of inspiration in my life.  Despite his handicaps and early raising, Snowshoe has a great zest for life.  This little daredevil shows no fear and is always happy. Spending time with Snowshoe will melt the stress away.

Eric Ballinger



Radar & Riley

My name is Laura Liebenow and I have a Lethal White Miniature Australian Shepherd.  First, I want to commend you on all that you are doing for Lethal Whites; I would like to open an Animal Rescue in my community and I appreciate what you are accomplishing.  Second, I wanted to share with you the story of my Lethal White and how we got to where we are now.  In January of 2005, my families longtime pet, a Cocker Spaniel, passed away at 16 years old.  I am only 21, so she was a major part of my growing up and losing her was very hard on my family.  My parents were dead-set against getting another dog.  They claimed my schedule was too hectic and the responsibility would fall to them. (I was working 2 full time jobs, taking 6 classes in college, and volunteering at the local youth center 30+ hours a week).  When the semester ended and it was time to register for classes, I cut it back to 3, quit one job, and cut my volunteering to 15 hours a week.  They were shocked that I was willing to change my life that much. I explained to them that there is no other pet like a dog and I needed a dog in my life. I did tons of research on different dogs; I've never had a dog that was mine, all mine before.  I finally settled on the Miniature Australian Shepherd and contacted over a dozen breeders.  I settled on a breeder in California, who had one litter and another litter planned to whelp at the end of August. She matched my life to that of the personality of a puppy, Riley.  Because I live in Massachusetts and my puppy was in California, I decided to fly out in order to meet Riley's mother, the breeder, and his siblings. When I was there she had 2 litters that were 2 weeks old.  One litter was due to one of her very intelligent dogs who got loose and was accidentally bred; unfortunately this was an accidental Merle-to-Merle breeding. There were 2 Lethal White's, one of them died at 36 hours after she struggled to keep him alive and the other was thriving.  She did not list him online because she was not going to charge for him; but instead was looking for a home for him with someone who already had one of her puppies because they would know the breed.  I told her I would take him.  I went home and did research on Lethal Whites and came across your website.  The website provided me with lost of information about Lethal Whites and helped me to prepare for bringing home my second puppy.  I flew out to California again on November 3rd to bring Radar home.  Radar is mostly white with some merling on one side, one back leg, part of his face and both of his ears.  He has all of his hearing and some vision.  I don't know how bad his vision is (he has sunburst pupils), but I know he is sensitive to light and sometime's has trouble focusing in, but he can see.  Radar has some other problems as well, but I am thankful that he is mine.  He is six months old now and he is thriving.  He is extremely lovable; always at my feet, following me, and is the first to come when I call for him and Riley.  He is always happy and loves to share kisses.
I wanted to share our story to show that not all breeders are as cruel to Lethal Whites as a majority of those who caused the Lethal Whites on your site.  The breeder I received Radar from is a good example of that because when she found that her dog had been accidently bred, she was heartbroken and hoping that nothing bad came of it.  When there were Lethal Whites in the litter, it wasn't a matter of how do I get rid of them; instead she did everything in her power to help them live. Unfortunately one died, Radar lived and in that I was blessed with him.  She believed Radar deserved a chance at life.  I hope that people like you, myself, and other Lethal White owners can educate people, so this stops happening.   
I have attached a picture of Radar and you are more than welcome to include that and our story on your site. Good luck on your quest of educating the world; I will do my part to educate as many as I can.
~Laura Liebenow, Greenfield MA


Short but sweet ... Abbey has a new friend!! She went with me to get him. His name is Syd Caesar. A deaf JRT from a local shelter. He was a "revolving door dog". Turned in by his owners, adopted and returned twice. Everyone said he was "untrainable" and totally out of control. Maybe he would have been easier to train if someone had noticed the poor guy was deaf!!!! 

Anyway, he is quite a handful, but he is wonderful to boot. He has very little in the way of manners, and he already understands to "look away, look away!!!" when he doesn't want to "hear" you!!!   Little brat! :-)

Abbey went with me to the shelter as a little Deafie Ambassador to show the shelter staff what deafies can be about. They needed to see that they are not untrainable, nor are they impossible, when given a chance to learn that someone is trying to speak to them in ways they can understand. I had Syd sitting in no time for cookies.
I basically took Abbey for that and one other reason. They claimed Syd could not play with other dogs because he was "too much dog" for most. A little tank, and very pushy and bossy. Almost aggressive in play and had a very hard mouth. With Abbey being six months old and full of hell herself, I thought maybe she could tame the savage beast! LOL! (pics of Abbey below)

They played wonderfully within minutes and he learned right quick how much crap and hard biting she would NOT be taking from him!  It frustrated him at first because he couldn't understand her sudden attacks. But he learned and now he plays with every dog in my house, including some JRT's that are smaller than he is. Here he is with Abbey once we got him home ...
He has been a pleasure to have in the house. He is good about going outside, he is a charmer to everyone he meets because he loves everyone and thinks people are his playthings. He loves to cuddle and sit on your lap while you watch TV. But he is typical and true to his breed in many ways too. A Holy Terror on four legs when he gets going, he gets into everything and makes me constantly get up and down to correct him. Believe it or not, a basket of tennis balls works wonders for grabbing his attention from across a room to correct him with signs instead of getting up every five seconds. I bounce one off the floor so it bumps him in the rump and he looks up like "what the heck was THAT"?   Now he has decided that every tennis ball must NOT have fuzz anymore and he is methodically using his front teeth to remove all of the fuzz a little at a time.
Abbey is growing and is more beautiful every day. When I went to the shelter to look at Syd the girl behind the counter came out and put her hand out to me as if I was to hand her change or something. I just looked at her baffled at first and then suddenly realized she thought I was there to turn my dog in!!!!  I was mortified!!!  I instinctively bent down and covered her back with my arms, hugging her close. All I could think to say was "No way"!!! LOL!  The girl looked at me with a puzzled expression and then realized I was there for some other purpose. I told her no one could PAY me enough to have Abbey, let alone ever see her in a shelter!!!  She was the hit of the day there though, let me tell you what. She was sweet and sat beautifully for all of her petting and loving from total strangers.
At home, she is more and more a lady. Polite and now housebroken, she gathers toys for herself and spends her days gnawing anything she can find within reason. I can leave her out at night IF I am sure everything is put away and the gate is closed to the kitchen. She sleeps well through the night and waits patiently for her breakfast.  Her limited vision is less and less a problem as she matures. She compensates beautifully and does a great job at "listening" when she can see you. Her hair is growing long and beautifully silky smooth.
I just adore this dog and cannot imagine not having her here in my home! She even plays with all of those thousands of dollars in toys ... you know the ones I am sure ... that I bought and the other dogs look at me like I am stupid. She looks at me gratefully and takes it and plays with it ... almost as if she knows it pleases me. She plays with very toy the other dogs will not touch for whatever reason!
Angela Woodruff
Wing and A Prayer Dog Rescue And Referral, Inc
Foster Home Coordinator
Transport Aide


UPDATE 12/26/10

Hey everyone at AussieLads/Lass' all fur faces also included here please. I am so very glad to see you are still doing such wonderful, loving and often challenging work.

You may or may not remember me, then simply click on "Stories USA" scroll to Pennsylvania and there we are! My beautiful girls Kira and Angel. A very long way they have come from the fuzzy, furriness of the challenging puppy-hood days! Gosh they were so darn cute.

I thought it past time to let all you guys know how awesome they are and to again thank you guys for all the loving guidance you gave me so freely when I first rescued these balls of fluff. I was terrified I would have no idea how to care for Angel especially, since she was blind and deaf. A double whammy and major challenge to my idea's of normal mommie/pet communication skills. But you guys helped me understand this was a not an impossible challenge, just one that required a different approach, and one that in the end would leave me awed beyond belief. So right all of you were. There were days when I would get so frustrated while trying to teach Angel direction via touch, that I would simply give up out of shear frustration. It wasn't her fault, it was me.. I was a failure I thought and had nearly convinced myself of that very thing. She'd try very hard most days and other times when I would touch her more than a few times, she would decide.. cool it's time to play right? (Some days she still does this, but now after all these years I figure it's her way of telling me "Come on Mom, what the heck, I got it now so let's have fun too okay?") My Angel, the incurable lap dog, ever a love, always compelled to nap and sleep while touching one of us considered her pack mate. At night, jeez, only way I can sleep is with a nose full of Angel hair because she has a thing for my pillows and curling right against me.

Kira, awesome, if not a bit over the edge on her need to always be my companion and know exactly what is happening at any given moment. From cat in litter box, to house bunny where she shouldn't be, to neighborhood dogs that get walked at specific times each day.. Kira is there and KNOWS everything! Nothing gets past her. She reminds me of the nosy neighbor.. always at the door, on the porch, the steps or in the yard keeping track of everyone's goings on.

We no longer live in PA. We moved to the Outer Banks of NC several years ago. I have to say Kira.. very in her glory here. She loves running on the beach, but for the life of me I simply can not get her into the ocean. You can get her to the edge where the waves roll after breaking but even then she runs at them and when the water rolls towards her.. she's gone.. lol She's hysterically funny, a blast to watch and the most loyal a dog that has ever owned me. Though she does seriously suffer from a massive Princess complex. Too many years of people telling her how beautiful she is I guess. Gone to her head in a really big way.

Anyway please keep doing what you all have been doing. Aussies are intelligent, amazing, incredible and wonderfully variable in their personalities. My life has been turned upside down but so incredibly blessed because of my Aussie Gals. They have a way of getting into your heart and under your skin and make you a happy and willing member of their pack. So much so that Angel always gets her personal pillow to the right of me and Kira the best spot in the small of my back when bedtime rolls around. Which is exactly as all three of us like it.

I love all the pics you have on the site, so I am attaching a few of my favorite Aussie Gals pics so you can see how they have grown since their original posted baby pics on your site. Even including a picture of Kira's favorite pastime.. Bunnies and Bunnysitting!

Happy Holidays to all the Aussie Lads Gang from the girls and I,



Angel & Kira rescued from Monticello, KY (now living in Harrisburg, PA)

My sisters and I recently rescued a litter of 4 incredibly beautiful 6 week old Aussies while visiting my Mother in Monticello, Kentucky.   The environment they were in was terrible.  When we rescued them they were half starved and filled with worms, fleas and ticks.  With time, attention, food and love the two little boys got their clean bill of health from my vet and now have a home together for life.  The situation is different for my little girls.  Angel is what you call a lethal white (double merle).  The original owner kept her isolated from the rest of the litter and was planning in drowning her because she was useless.  Her right eye is undeveloped and she is blind in her left.  During her recent visit to my Vet I received a confirmation that she is deaf also.  Thankfully her little heart is good and strong and no murmur is present.  She is an absolutely wonderful girl and had my heart and lifetime loyalty the first day I saw her isolated, alone in her dark, silent world.  Incredibly she is very social, although she does sleep more than the others, and all in all I feel we saved her before it could totally affect her behavior.  Her sister Kira is a lovely Blue and the sweetest thing.  She has taken to being my constant companion when I am home and where ever I go she is usually not far behind.  Even if it's laying near my bed at night.  My Veterinarian tested her and says she has a vision problem also and it will progressively worsen until one day she will no longer see even a shadow.  Her hearing is good and strong so I have that to work with over time.  I have been unable to locate any books that addresses the combination of deafness and blindness, but I refuse to give up.  I have started using vibration and smell with her and it works.  Unfortunately, this is a first time experience for Angel and I both.  I am currently a Veterinarian technician student so I have no difficulty accepting the responsibility and love for Angel and Kira to do this.  In the short time I have had them they have become such a part of me, my life that I thank god for putting them in my life as he has.  I feel special to be chosen but not sure of the direction at the same time.  I have started a journal all about this and hope to one day look back on it and say look girls, look how far we have come.

I love this breed and find it so difficult the accept that they can be treated so terribly.  They are such a proud, loveable, loyal and regal animal that if I could I would have many more. 

Any help I can be to the Aussie Rescue will be given 100%.  I live in Pennsylvania (the Harrisburg Area) and can help out when you need me to.  Be it rescuing, caring or even driving please ask. 
Thanks for your time in reading this long worded note.  I look forward to meeting and getting to know people that have the same deep awareness, love and respect for any creatures be they societally acceptable or what many feel are disposable because of disability.  We are all in it together and it takes lots of love from but a few, to make up for the hurt and insensitivity of many.
Thanks for all the incredible work you do, as trying as it can be I know you do it out of love.
Teresa, Angel & Kira


Stevie & Oso

Hello AussieLads,  This is my beautiful boy Stevie and his big brother Oso. They take really good care of each other and of me. I rescued Stevie about a year and a half ago. He was a mess. He is doing better than I could have expected. I walk them without a leash and Stevie does whatever Oso does. Even though Stevie is deaf and mostly blind, Oso is great with voice commands and a wonderful model for Stevie as to what is expected on our walks. Oso is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Keep up the good work.  Charlie Thieriot


      Scout adopted from Angels for Animals

9/8/04 UPDATE:  Some new pics sent by his mom :-)

Scout is the newest member of our family, he was adopted two months a go (February 10, 2004) but it seems like there has never been a time without him.

Scout was found by Angels for Animals as a puppy wondering around southern Utah.  They noticed that his eyes didn't look right and took him to a vet. 
A week after they got him he was put up for adoption and soon after he was adopted by a nice family who knew that his vision problems could get worse with the possibility of loss of sight.  They loved him dearly but when he was six months old they returned him saying that a family member was in the military and they didn't know what their housing arrangements would be like in the near future.  AFA gladly took him back; and he quickly became all of the volunteer's favorite.  When he was returned at six months his eye-sight had deteriorated so that he was completely blind in one eye and had tunnel vision in the other. 
When Scout was just under a year old I visited AFA with Toby a mixed breed I adopted as a puppy from them in December 2002; and with Ginger my Golden Retriever...on that visit I met Scout for the first time I instantly fell in love with him, but I knew that I would be going to college in late 2004 and wouldn't financially be able to care for three dogs.
Very sadly my Golden passed away in October 2003...and although I miss her terribly, I knew that eventually I would get another dog to help fill the void.  Four months later we again made the four hour drive to Veyo, to visit Angels for Animals with Toby again this time with the intention to adopt Scout...
To make a long story short Toby and Scout hit it off almost immediately...at first Toby was a little apprehensive, I'm sure he knew that something was "different" about Scout but all apprehension diminished within five minutes and they even started to play.
By the time we adopted Scout his eye-sight had deteriorated further so that he was completely blind in one eye and we believe he can differentiate between bright light and complete darkness in the other larger eye (he has anthropthalmia or small eyes).  Scout is also deaf in one ear and has limited hearing in the other.
Scout had now settled in completely and loved to play with Toby and my families three Mini Poodles, however Scout's favorite animal by far is our three cat's, he is extremely fascinated by them he would never hurt them just likes to give them lots of kisses and cuddle with them. :)  I will be going to college in August in Twin Falls, ID to train as a Veterinary Technician, both Toby and Scout will be coming with me and they will soon have another 'doggy play-mate' as my future room-mate will also be bringing her Springer Spaniel with her.  And for Scout after spending a year in foster care spending most of his day's in a kennel, he is extremely happy to be in his forever home; and to be a house dog! :)
Richfield, Utah
The first picture that I have attached is of Scout playing with Toby my mix breed, and A.J. one of the Mini Poodles.  The second picture was taken a few minutes after getting home. just after getting back from the four hour trip from Veyo back to Richfield.  And the third was taken a few weeks after "adoption day".


Willow is Scout's new companion.  I adopted her last Friday the 8th of October, 2004.

Not much is known about Willow's past; she was found as a stray wondering around Cedar City, Utah where she was picked up by animal control.  The staff soon realized that Willow was "stone deaf".  The policy in Utah is that all strays must be held for 72 hours after that they are either euthanized or put up for adoption.  Lucky for Willow the staff fell in love with her and were determined to find her a home; she quickly earned the name of "Wiggly Wilma" do to the way she wiggles her whole body when she's excited. 
I first saw Willow (than "Wiggly Wilma") on petfinder.com; since I was not currently searching for another dog I put her in the back of my mind until three days later when I received an e-mail from a friend about this very dog.  Saying how she was in a high kill shelter.  I quickly called the shelter to find out more about her and to find out if she was at risk of being put down.  They told me that they loved her and were keeping her for as long as they could, but she was indeed in danger of being euthanized.  After they heard about Scout they urged me to consider adopting her or to contact anyone I knew that could help in getting her into a forever home, or even a foster home until a forever home could be found.  A friend and I asked everyone we could think of but no one was willing to foster a dog "like her".  Most were scared off because of her deafness.
So four weeks later; After constant e-mails and phone calls between the shelter and I; I finally told them I would adopt her, and not a moment too soon; they had kept Willow for a month and a half by this time, the usual holding period is 3-7 days sometimes longer if they have the room.  They could not continue to keep her there as other dogs were having to be euthanized to allowed the space for her....her time would of been up the following week...
Scout came with me when I went to meet Willow; they hit it off immediately not a problem between them; so Willow came home with us; she was very good in the car with the exception of getting car sick twice on the way. (turns out she had eaten a large breakfast!).  Willow is a very unique color I've been told that it is called a "Sable merle".  I have never seen and Aussie of that coloring before so I am taking the word of the shelter and of an Aussie breeder on that.
Willow has been her new home since October 8, 2004; she is settling in nicely and has already learned a sign for her name (ASL Letter "W") and "Good"; we are also working on "Sit" and "Off". (off since she enjoys jumping on everyone and everything!)  We will be adding more signs/commands to her 'vocabulary' after she has mastered these. 
Richfield, Utah


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