Name: Quill
Age: 2 years
Breed: Australian Shepherd/Golden Retriever Mix
Gender: Male
Weight: ~50 (55 final weight estimate)

Check out a video of Quill here!

Say hello to Quill! Quill is a young adult Aussie mix (we think possibly Aussie/golden retriever) who found himself in rescue after – quite literally – escaping death at the hands of a cruel and negligent owner. Thanks to a village of dog lovers and rescue supporters, Quill made his way to safety (albeit with a good bit of baggage), and he is now almost ready to find his forever home!

We won’t prattle on about the details – you can read more about Quill’s story here on our blog. Suffice to say, Quill is an amazing young dog who will make one special family very, very happy. He has a few quirks, but don’t we all?

As mentioned, Quill is just a young boy – probably no older than two years. He’s a handsome blue merle with copper points, and has two marbled blue and brown eyes. His body style is much more akin to that of a retriever – lanky and long, with the softest, fluffiest tail and big warm eyes that will melt any heart. Currently, Quill weighs just under 50 pounds, but he is still a bit on the thin side, and we expect him to fill out around 55-60 pounds when all is said and done. He’s taller than your average Aussie, but not a huge dog by any means.

Quill has some mobility issues with his hind legs – there is nothing structurally wrong with him, and his veterinarians suspect that he has sustained some sort of neurological damage, or was born with a neurological deficit that causes his “handicaps.” Quill also has some vision impairments – he has been evaluated by a canine ophthalmologist, and was diagnosed with cataracts and optic nerve colobomas in both eyes. The good news is, his left eye is minimally affected, and the doctor does not strongly suspect that the cataract in that eye will grow or change. His right eye has a larger cataract which may or may not change in size, all we can do right now is monitor it. The colobomas – congenital defects where the eye did not form properly in utero – are static conditions that will not change over time. Looking ahead, it is possible that Quill may become further visually impaired, but it’s highly unlikely that he will ever become substantially blind, and he gets around just fine. We also had Quill’s hearing checked, just to be sure, and he has 100% capacity in both ears.

Quill also has some behavioral quirks that any prospective adopter will need to consider seriously. He has a bit of separation anxiety, though it’s not so bad that his foster parents can’t leave him for a few hours when necessary. However, Quill absolutely hates crates, and managed to break and escape two different crates in his first 24 hours in foster. We can’t say that we really blame him, and if we’re honest, his ability to escape a cage is likely the only reason he is still alive. Quill can also climb low fences, so he will need a very securely fenced yard – preferably a privacy fence – and cannot be left outside alone for extended periods of time. Since Quill is a young pup with all the energy you can expect from an adolescent Aussie mix, ensuring that he gets the necessary amount of exercise despite his mobility issues will be something that any adopter will need to keep in mind.

Now that we’ve got the disclaimers out of the way, we are happy to tell you that Quill is possibly the sweetest dog in the entire world. His foster parents are veterans when it comes to fostering all sorts of personalities, and they just adore this pup. He is very friendly, a master cuddle bug, completely housetrained, non-destructive, and both dog and cat friendly. He can be a little pushy with small dogs or young puppies, and likes to push buttons with the grumpy senior dog in the household, but he is very respectful of his foster siblings as a whole. Quill loves to romp and wrestle with his young Aussie, border collie, bull terrier, and giant muttdog friends, but he has to be monitored for his own safety, since his disabilities put him at a major disadvantage with the large energetic dogs he lives with. Lastly, Quill has shown zero aggression with cats, though if they run outside he will chase after them curiously. Quill has not been “officially” tested with small children yet, but he has seen them in passing and was beside himself wanting to visit and give kisses.

Quill loves toys, especially stuffed animals, and he carries them around in his mouth so gently and never destroys them. He also enjoys running around in the yard after balls and Frisbees. Quill is great in the car, and has built up enough muscle mass in the past couple of weeks that he can easily hop into lower cars and SUVs on his own. He is also very good on leash, however he has to be walked carefully, because his bag legs drag a bit and it can cause road-rash on his paws and wear his nails down. He would be a great companion for shorter off-road walks and hikes, but cannot do long-distance, as his mobility issues become a bit more pronounced as he gets tired.

All in all, Quill would make an amazing addition to most families. His perfect family would be one looking for the beauty and charm of an Aussie, without the hard edge of a purebred herding dog. He needs a securely fenced yard, and would not do well in an apartment for many reasons. While he can and does easily navigate stairs, consideration should be given to the fact that, long-term, he should not be expected to go up and down flights of stairs constantly. Quill would be fine with a dog-savvy feline housemate, and he would love at least one friendly sibling who will play with him, and who won’t be quick to become upset if Quill accidentally steps on them or knocks into them (he’s pretty clumsy). For that same reason, as well as his vision impairments, we don’t think Quill should go to a family with children under the age of four, but he would love older children to play with him and snuggle.

Quill is up to date on vaccinations, heartworm negative and receiving preventatives, microchipped, and he will be neutered the week of August 14. He has had multiple diagnostic tests run to determine the full extent of his health condition, and all of those records will travel with him to his new family. Quill will be ready to go home the weekend of August 26, assuming all goes well with his neuter. Quill is fostered in Durham, NC, and his adoption fee is $300.