Guelph, Canada

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Artist's Description

This is the official introduction of Sam the Cowdog’s new partner in crime and dogbrother!

Tucker was in a shelter we rescue from at Christmastime. My contact there’s first message was, “Hey Jen! Interested in a growly Australian Cattle Dog?”. And growly he was! Not aggressive – but very lost, and just grumbly with everyone. I lost my Austin 2 years ago and still hadn’t found the right one to take his space (not his place), but I know I got really lucky with Sam the Cowdog, and wasn’t expecting much. A dog in my home has to be good with dogs, cats, and all people, and have the capacity to do stuff – Sam does obedience, tricks, herding, therapy, demo dog, bite prevention, and he’s our rescue test dog for shelter dogs.

Well Tucker (whose name in the shelter, ironically, was Austin) surprised me. He was definitely grumbly, but not aggressive. A very serious, overwhelmed, defensive 2yo Australian Cattle Dog. He grumbled at every dog and even with people initially. He was a real lost soul. Sam, who can get any dog to play, read him quickly and just avoided him. Tucker weirded him out.

When Tucker arrived, for weeks I told people he is the most serious dog I’ve ever met. He had no sense of humour, and wanted nothing to do with the other dogs. I still had a feeling…I’d taken a few dogs into foster with the hope they might be my next one, but in two years none had been right. Despite his seriousness, and his grouchiness, I thought he could be the one. He stopped grumbling at people fairly quick – within a week. He even quickly became the typical velcro cowdog. He and Sam coexisted peacefully; in fact he shadowed Sam everywhere. He was so intuitive and responsive, he got offlead privileges after a week at our park. The only thing I wished was different was my secret wish that he and Sam could be BUDDIES, not just roommates. Finally…after 14 days, it happened. Out of the blue, upon waking up one day, he initiated play with Sam. Sam was a bit wigged out, he’d learned to just avoid Tucker. It took 2 weeks and was only once, but that sealed the deal – Tucker would stay.

Over the next 3 weeks, they played maybe 3 or 4 more times. Tucker was slowly becoming less serious, but he still seemed to surprise himself with these playful bursts. He’d check himself quickly. It was 6 weeks in, a Thursday morning. He initiated play in the living room, but it lasted. Sam finally relaxed and they played – and played – and played. From that moment, Tucker seemed to just surrender that he doesn’t have to be so serious, and they played many times a day from that magic moment. They’ve become serious buddies, they do everything together, they fetch cooperatively, I throw Tucker’s fave toy, the Pink Piggy, and they move in synchrony, often both catching an end in mid-air and then having some good hearted tugfests. They eat a foot away from each other and Tucker licks his big brother’s mouth and lips. He’s still more serious than Sam, but even his face is different – he’s relaxed, and happy. He still grumbles at new dogs and I’m still trying to figure out what his niche will be (he is NOT a trick dog), but he’s the one that we waited 2 years for. He’s home.

I’ll post a clip of him and Sam in comments. I am so lucky to have this pair. They are pretty close to perfect.

Not the greatest photo, but I’m missing my zoom lens and just wanted to get him up here for now.

Feel free to email me at for direct purchases.

NIKON 50 mm lens
1/1250 at F4.0
ISO 200
April 7, 2012, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Artwork Comments

  • Karen  Betts
  • SamTheCowdog
  • photofairy
  • SamTheCowdog
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