Watching him climb trees
His off leash work
Playing in the snow
We adopted Howie at 5 years of age. He was a little reserve with us at the beginning, but once he knew he was here to stay (he had been through 5 different homes) he came out of his shell. He was an absolute genius, never in my life have I seen an animal(in some cases humans!) learn and pick up on things. I have literally taught him tricks or behavior related things in as short as 30 minutes! We took him to audition for the David Letterman Show when they had try outs here. I could write a laundry list of his tricks. He was very perceptive, was as laid back as you would want your dog to be. Only when we were in bed would he ever show any aggression. He was for the most part a very healthy dog, no real issues other than hot spots during the allergy seasons. When he got around his mid 13s, he did have epilepsy seizures. He lost his balance and had to learn to walk again, but eventually did but also had seizures again as he got older. The big tell was he would violently push away his food bowl and not eat. He was suffering mildly from hip dysplasia, more evident when he went to the bathroom and had trouble squatting. My only regret is that I didn't have him from the beginning and that he had to be rehomed so many times. I also write this because he is now passed, he was euthanized on New Years Eve of 2019. I miss him dearly. Never wanted a dog (grew up a cat person), now I can't stop wanting him back. My wife and I have tried unsuccessfully for about 7 months to find Howie's friend and partner, Meeka, a new companion. We have been given the opportunity to adopt a Dutch Shepard, a Border Collie and another mix breed. Meeka was so use to the calm demeanor of Howie. He got along with every dog he came in to contact with except one, and that dog attacked him.
My one hope is that maybe this post will inspire some breeders to think hard about doing some serious looking into making this dog more popular and start breeding. Howie was originally trained to be a special needs dog. He did not pass the attention part of his training and instead was turned into a therapy pet. This breed has such a great upside that I am astounded no one is trying to get the word out on this fantastic animal. I think the problem is that the AKC does not recognize them as a breed, but have seen other organizations do. Breeders wake up and do what is right!
Btw, Howie was a little over 70 pounds. He had a great mix of Aussie and Golden markings. He had a gold coat, his facial bone structure was Aussie, and was his tail and legs. He had the size and weight of a Golden, and the ears.