Saturday, December 16, 2017

Gavin Ehringer & Onda

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Gavin Ehringer, a journalist and author, and he’s Onda, my 8-year-old Aussie shepherd...and truly my best friend. We’re inseparable.

What's brewing?

Black coffee for me, water served in stainless steel for Onda. We keep it simple.

Any treats for you or Onda on this occasion?

I like carrot cake, and always keep cheese-flavored Charlie Bear treats in my pocket for Onda.

How were you and Onda united?

He was bred by Las Rocosa Australian Shepherds - the Hartnagle family were foundation breeders of Aussies, and I’ve been a family friend for 30 years. All eight of my dogs have come from their farm.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Onda means “wave” in Spanish. I first saw Aussies at the beach in California as a kid. I called them “surfer dogs,” because I didn’t know their breed! Later, I encountered them in Colorado. This one’s actually Onda No. 2.

Please tell us about your new book.

Leaving The Wild, The Unnatural History of Dogs, Cats, Cows and Horses considers how these animals became domesticated, and what they got and gave up in return. It’s really an examination of how animal breeding influences animals’ lives, for good and bad.

Skateboard? Really?

Yes! Onda rides a Dogtown-brand Slateboard, as well as competes in Frisbee, agility, dog shows and herding. I worked at teaching him to ride off-and-on for nearly two years before he mastered it.

Is it true that Onda is not shy about performing in public?

Yes, he’s not. He often does agility and “trick” demos for charity, and we do tricks in front of coffee shops and outdoor restaurants to amuse people...He’s like a street busker, and can draw a crowd.

Who is Onda's best pet-pal?

Well, we have a new puppy named Whammo! (with an exclamation mark). They’re pretty close, despite the age difference.

What is Onda's best quality?

Gosh, he has so many! He’s just laid back and happy, and always eager to learn new things.

Where is Onda's favorite outdoor destination?

He likes going to the farm where he was born, to herd sheep. He also likes the beach, as one would expect of a surfer dog.

If Onda could change one thing about Coloradans, what would it be?

Well, the Aussie actually should be the official state dog, in his opinion. The state played a big role in the breed’s development, and I think he’d be grateful for some recognition of that. Aussies aren’t really from Australia.

If Onda could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

Well, he’s trained to understand Spanish! I suppose I’d ask him, “Estas muy contento?” (Are you happy?) He’d answer “Si!”

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Onda could speak, who should voice him?

Matt Damon. Like Matt, Onda is smart, talented and has a great sense of humor. And he’s ruggedly handsome.

What advice would Onda give if asked?

I’d probably ask him for advice. He’s the brains in this partnership.

Visit Gavin Ehringer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. What a handsome fella...and the upright isn't bad either. 😊

  2. Thanks for your kind compliments. Onda and I are doing a book signing and reading at Tattered Cover, Colfax Ave., on Jan. 24 at 7 pm. Why don’t you come and say hello!

    1. Would love to catch your reading at the Tattered Cover. Congrats on booking the signing. Always love it when a fellow Coloradoan hits the big time. Have been out of town lately but should be able to make it. Look forward to meeting in person.