Shep came east from his birthplace in MN; just one of a number of puppies
sold off into the fretful puppy-broker world. A shy, honey eyed, English
Shepherd pup who
lived his first weeks after leaving the litter with a few other "farm
collies" in a roadside Barn "antique" Store in the Berkshire hills of
Massachusetts. He must have been grabbed out of the stall from overhead
dozens of times & that only further frightened him, adding to his wary
One late October day a nice, older, retired couple happened in; saw that
irresistibly cute, sable puppy, the only one left in the pen & they took
home. He was to be company for their 3+ yr. old, intact collie.
Shep had a hard time ahead in his good intentioned home; he was given
chance to get important socialization with a variety of people & had no
opportunity to meet other dogs. He & the collie lived in the house but
most of their lives as suburban backyard dogs. No excursions out on leash
walks or exciting woods & park runs. The older collie tolerated the
of Shep to the household and they were buddies while Shep was still young.
Shepster started to mature (around 16 - 20 months) the real trouble
Shep (also an intact male) began to challenge the older collie; he started
really turn up the heat at every opportunity; competing for attention
the only two people in his limited world & with little else to do became
on-duty barking front door guarder.
This was more than these good folks could handle. The collie was getting
paranoid; his personality was changing. The dog fighting was escalating
the front door zone was becoming awkward & unmanageable. These folks
loving, long time dog owners found the problems overwhelming. Seeing the
collie "changing" greatly disturbed them, they were unable to handle the
stress. With great reluctance after a few more weeks of dog posturing,
fighting & disruption they gave Shep up.
Here's the Good Part:
Shep was handed over to the local Shelter with his papers. The owners also
paid the shelter to guarantee that he would not be destroyed. The Shelter
held him for one week & then (protecting their cash assets; the shelter
pocketed the dough) contacted Marianne Dwight an ES breeder in the region.
Marianne picked up Shepherd & taxied him to Jan Hilborn (NESR) in Vt. Jan
him altered ASAP & started working to find him the right home.
Those few weeks of transfer & shuffle were sure hard on him but he handled
pretty well; lost some weight, lost some fur & lost his sense of
He luckily was handed off fairly quickly into the network of ES rescue;
caring dog-smart people many of us have connected through.
It was right around this time that Carla & I started a search for a new
companion pooch. My old guy Arlo; a Border Collie cross, had sadly passed
in November. The silence was killing me. The idea of a rescue seemed right
me; I felt Arlo would approve, he had been a secondhand dog. I soon found
NESR's web site and arranged to visit Christmas weekend. We drove up to
Northern Vt. to meet Shep, Jan & her pack. Sunday night we arrived back
with Shep; all three of us a bit jittery.
Shep is one happy boy now. Living Large in a One Dog household. Getting
of worldly experience, joy riding in the car, lots of one to one time with
his people loving him. Leash lessons; home-school agility & other fun. He
also has made many dog friends; has dog dates & an occasional doggie
sleep-over. His best friend is a 13 month old Airedale girl-amazon beauty
named Polar who thinks he's the best thing since bagels. It's so amazing
see the two of them flying through the dog door, chasing each other in a
run around; this from a boy who was afraid to jump up onto a rock when he
Being the only dog in our home; getting altered & building up Shep's
self-confidence through daily outings & fun training has turned Shepherd
a super guy. We do fill in his first family now & then; they are truly
delighted to know how well he is doing. We send them pictures & his latest
adventure story; the way you might keep a distant Auntie up on the news.
example, on a recent day trip to a State Park/Farm he met a few barnyard
critters for the very first time. Sheep! He was curious & gentle, never
a sound; nose to nose with a piglet. What a boy!
Our heartfelt thanks to: Marianne Dwight: Foxhill English Shepherds, MA
Jan Hilborn: NESR, VT
From Shep's proud & happy adopted family; Smokey Eule, Carla Burton
their friends. MA