All about Mattie the Aussie...
Matilda a/k/a Mattie is Nina Fleet's right-hand dog in the Georgia B&B Mystery Series. She's an Australian Shepherd rescue -- Nina adopted her from the local shelter when she was a year old, so she's now two in human years when the series begins.
Mattie is what is called a blue merle, meaning her coat is a combination of white and gray and black with touches of brown. She's got a docked tail which is traditional for working dogs like Aussies. Oh, and she has one blue eye and one brown.
Mattie is not the typical animal sleuth you find in some cozies mysteries (like Hamlet the cat in the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series). However, she does lend a paw as Nina tries to discover who in Cymbeline is a murderer. And all of Mattie's stunts are things that Anna Gerard's own Aussies have done (because Aussies are some of the smartest pups out there!).
So if Mattie is an Aussie, why is the dog on the Georgia B&B Mystery series covers a Border Collie?
Oops! We were hoping you wouldn't notice. :) The simple answer is that the author doesn't have control of the book cover design. Of course, Anna provided a description of Mattie from the book, but apparently the cover artist mixed up Border Collies (also herding dogs) with Aussies. And by the time Anna saw the full cover, the design was too far into the process to correct the error. So for all the future covers, Mattie will continue to be played by a stunt dog. On the bright side, Mattie's "stand-in" is pretty darned cute, too.
Meet Prince Harry Winston a/k/a Winston...
Winston is Anna Gerard's real-life pup. He's a Miniature Australian Shepherd (technically an "American Shepherd" since the AKC doesn't currently recognize the breed). He's what's known as a Red Tri-Color because of that gorgeous red and brown and white fur. And he has pretty amber-colored eyes instead of brown or blue. He was born 2/19/19, so he'll be celebrating his first birthday soon!
Winston has many nicknames including Winnie Pooh, Red Bull (because he charges through doors), and the Red-Headed Stepdog (because his canine brother and sisters are all Italian Greyhounds). Winston's hobbies are tearing up stuffies and books, and chasing his dog sister, Nina, around the yard.
[Yes, Nina. You see, coincidentally, Mr. Anna Gerard named his new Italian Greyhound pup Nina (pronounced NeeNah) not knowing at the time that Nina (pronounced NineAh) Fleet was the name of Anna's new fictional sleuth. And so Anna must be careful whose name she's yelling when she's calling the dogs!]
(Top Left) Winston as a puppy
(Bottom Left) Winston graduating dog school
(Right) Winston's "cover dog" look!
Winston isn't the only aussie in anna's life. check back soon for more pictures including photos of her "angel" dogs, oliver and the original mattie.
About the Australian Shepherd (from AKC.org)...
The Australian Shepherd, the cowboy’s herding dog of choice, is a medium-sized worker with a keen, penetrating gaze in the eye. Aussie coats offer different looks, including merle (a mottled pattern with contrasting shades of blue or red). In all ways, they’re the picture of rugged and agile movers of stock. Aussies exhibit an irresistible impulse to herd, anything: birds, dogs, kids. This strong work drive can make Aussies too much dog for a sedentary pet owner. Aussies are remarkably intelligent, quite capable of hoodwinking an unsuspecting novice owner. In short, this isn’t the pet for everyone. But if you’re looking for a brainy, tireless, and trainable partner for work or sport, your search might end here.
Looking for an Aussie of your own? Here's an Aussie rescue you might contact: Australian Shepherds Furever is a 501 (c) 3 non profit national Aussie rescue incorporated in the State of California. We have rescued over 2,500 Aussies in need nationwide! We are always looking for foster homes, come join us!