Rescue Success Stories: Shep

Shep's Story
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 nature.

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 him 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 little 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 spent most of their lives as suburban backyard dogs. No excursions out on leash walks or exciting woods & park runs. The older collie tolerated the addition of Shep to the household and they were buddies while Shep was still young. As Shepster started to mature (around 16 - 20 months) the real trouble started. Shep (also an intact male) began to challenge the older collie; he started to really turn up the heat at every opportunity; competing for attention from the only two people in his limited world & with little else to do became an 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 and the front door zone was becoming awkward & unmanageable. These folks though 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 had 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 it pretty well; lost some weight, lost some fur & lost his sense of belonging. He luckily was handed off fairly quickly into the network of ES rescue; the 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 on in November. The silence was killing me. The idea of a rescue seemed right to 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 home with Shep; all three of us a bit jittery.

Shep is one happy boy now. Living Large in a One Dog household. Getting lots 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 to see the two of them flying through the dog door, chasing each other in a wild run around; this from a boy who was afraid to jump up onto a rock when he first arrived.

Being the only dog in our home; getting altered & building up Shep's self-confidence through daily outings & fun training has turned Shepherd into 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. For 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 made a sound; nose to nose with a piglet. What a boy!

Our heartfelt thanks to: Marianne Dwight: Foxhill English Shepherds, MA and Jan Hilborn: NESR, VT

From Shep's proud & happy adopted family; Smokey Eule, Carla Burton & all their friends. MA

Read more Adoption Success Stories

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