Operation New Beginnings Dogs at the 2014 NY Gathering
It's been five years since the ONB dogs journeyed away from their temporary home in Billings. Throughout the United States they meet again. Do they recognize each other? We think so. It is so rewarding to see these healthy, happy, and productive dogs. English Shepherd lovers are a strong community of caring people who focused on changing the lives of these dogs. Thank you!
Operation New Beginnings 2013 Reunion
What's more fun than a dog with a brand new squeaky toy? Thirty English
Shepherds chasing each other silly at the Animal Lodge in Laurel, Montana,
while their people watched, picnicked, chatted and bragged about their dogs.
The occasion was the 4th annual reunion of the ONB graduates. These dogs
were part of a group of 200+ English Shepherds rescued by Yellowsone
County, cared for by Montana volunteers, and brought into the National English
Shepherd Rescue in 2009.
This picture of Jaye Butler surrounded by 7 sitting, politely begging, and
leashless ONB's would have been unimaginable at the time of the 1st reunion
in 2010. Unbelievable progress had already occured with less than a year in
their forever and foster homes. My own dog, Sparky, is a good example of the
progress that continues with these dogs.
Once virtually a feral dog, he put the past behind him as he particpated,
unleashed, in Barb Berry's nosework session, confident enough to trust her, and
to stick his nose in a box even though there was a crowd of strangers watching
just a couple of yards away.
To those who have seen the image of the "before" Harry, turning blue with
terror, emaciated, and covered with mud and feces, the sight of this now
beautiful dog, safe, secure, and loved, symbolizes what NESR is all about, and
a testament to the amazing efforts of the Billings volunteers who made the
Thank you, Billings organizers of the event: NESR's Barb Berry and Rachel
Roper; and Carla van Sicclen and Aleta Zahorodny, with help from Georgia
Peters and Sheila Ruble. Thank you, Bob Ruble, for the great photographs.
We hope everyone can come to beautiful Montana for the 5th ONB reunion and ES Gathering!
Over 200 English Shepherd Dogs Released for Adoption
Billings, Montana 2009
The Yellowstone County
Commissioners and National English Shepherd Rescue (NESR)
have entered into an agreement for the adoption and further
rehabilitation of over 200 English shepherds and other dogs
that were seized from Shady Lane Kennels in Ballantine, MT
in December 2008.
The conviction of the dogs'
former owner, Linda Kapsa, for felony animal cruelty has
allowed the majority of the dogs being held in Billings to
be released from their status as criminal evidence, paving
the way for their adoptions. This event marks the
conclusion of Yellowstone County's Operation New Beginnings
(ONB), and the commencement of a national collective effort
to give every victim a home: Project Next Steps.
The dogs will continue to be
cared for by the committed volunteers who have devoted
thousands of hours to their rehabilitation while NESR
representatives conduct evaluations of each dog's needs and
abilities. Those dogs not adopted by their special
volunteers will be available for adoption by members of the
public. Many dogs will be placed in foster homes for
additional training before being adopted. All potential
adopters and new foster volunteers will be screened for
their commitment and ability to care for a formerly
neglected English shepherd dog who will still need many
months of patient training.
NESR and its volunteer
personnel have been providing financial support and
personnel to Yellowstone County and the ONB staff and
volunteers since December 2008, in form of expert advice,
training and behavior consultation, equipment, corporate
donations of dog food, vaccines, medical supplies, and other
necessities. The small but devoted worldwide community of
English shepherd owners and fans has stepped up to the plate
with fundraisers and donations on an unprecedented scale.
The English shepherd community regards this effort as the
Hurricane Katrina of breed rescues.
The English shepherd is a
traditional American farm dog, selected for hundreds of
years to work stock, protect his master, his family, his
property and animals, hunt game, dispatch pests, and do any
job that his master might find for him. They have not been
selected to be show dogs or to live in kennels. The English
shepherd is a highly intelligent, bossy, sensitive,
energetic animal who requires strong human leadership and a
job to call his own. When indulged, untrained, bullied or
neglected, they become very troublesome to their owners.
Given a job and a fair boss, the English shepherd will
display unparalleled devotion, loyalty, and obedience
balanced with initiative.
National English Shepherd
Rescue is a 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit operated entirely
by unpaid volunteers. Our mission is to ensure that all
English shepherds in need have homes where they are
cherished, and where they can fulfill their potential as
good canine citizens. NESR redeems English shepherds from
pounds and shelters, as well as accepting English shepherds
relinquished by owners who can no longer care for them. We
provide temporary homes, retraining, health care,
rehabilitation and evaluation through our network of foster
care volunteers, and place the dogs we foster into permanent
homes. We also provide advice and support for English
shepherd owners who are experiencing challenges with their
dogs, in order to keep those dogs in their original homes
and help them become better family members.
Because the English shepherd
is an uncommon breed, NESR's volunteer network and the
entire community of devoted English shepherd owners has been
challenged by the sheer numbers and special needs of the
over two hundred dogs who have been cared for by
Billings-area volunteers for over six months. The number of
dogs needing placement from this one source is approximately
eight times NESR's typical annual case load of English
shepherds in need nationwide.
NESR’s primary concern is that
we place the right dog in the right home; that concern
guides all our decisions with respect to the dogs that pass
thru our program. That is why we require *all* prospective
foster homes and adoptive homes to complete an application
for any dog in our program. Even NESR board members have
completed such an application and adoption contracts! All
applications and contract forms can be found on our website
www.nesr.info . This process allows us to evaluate a number
of factors to place the dog in the right home and consider
hardship cases with respect to requesting adoption
NESR never charges an adoption “fee”. We typically request
an adoption donation of $200 to help cover the costs of
re-homing a dog. However, no adoption donations will be
requested from Operation New Beginnings volunteers who apply
to adopt a dog. The ONB volunteers have “donated” the chance
of a new life to the animals in their care; we can never
thank them enough for those efforts. We also recognize that
Operation New Beginnings was a community effort and the
citizens of Yellowstone County have incurred tremendous
expenses for these deserving dogs. As such, we will be
asking for a donation of only $100 from any Yellowstone
County citizen who is selected to adopt a dog. Our “right
dog in the right home” criteria, as always, will apply.
NESR, the English Shepherd community, and those who love
dogs (breed clubs, agility clubs, community foundations,
etc.) have contributed thousands of hours and thousands of
dollars toward Yellowstone County’s effort to care for these
dogs. While NESR will continue to incur thousands of dollars
of expenses, we are honored to escort these dogs on the next
steps of their long journey to new and rewarding lives.