Over the course of the past 2-3 years I have been researching breeds of dogs for our large family, property and livestock needs. We had our beloved Darby when we moved to Plymouth Rock Ranch, but she really needed help protecting our 20 acres and our livestock.
In February 2010, when the 2 older boys and I were all in Washington together, the 3 of us went and met an English Shepherd breeder. We wanted to meet English Shepherds in person and talk to her about any possible future litters she might have. We loved her dogs and became convinced that English Shepherds were what we were looking for.
I joined a couple of English Shepherd online groups to continue learning. It was from those contacts that Copper came to live with us.
PRR Z-Best Copper
The First Picture We Saw of Copper – We Just HAD To Go Meet Him!
Copper was a rescue of sorts, as he had spent most of his first year of life living in a backyard without much attention or training. Working dogs need work and he didn’t have any, so he was returned to his breeder. English Shepherds are very affectionate family dogs that need love and attention. Copper wasn’t getting near enough work, love or affection and he craved them all.
Once he came to PRR we loved on him and worked with him. He sooooo wants to please…..and be loved……and herd the chickens……and keep the free ranging animals away from our living area. Yeah!
Our plan was to eventually breed English Shepherds for other homesteading families like ours who need both a farm and family dog, aka faRmily dog, for their homestead. To do that we needed a female English Shepherd.
I checked the Washington breeder’s blog to see when her puppies were due, but sadly found a note that due to a timing issue, they wouldn’t be breeding this year ; ( I sent her an email telling her how sad I was to see her note. Very quickly, she called me and told me that she had rescued a brother-sister pair of English Shepherds the day before and wanted to know if we were interested! I love it when God moves in an unmistakable way!
Rick went and met Ruby and fell in love with her. Rick was going to be driving home at the end of June so the timing seemed perfect. We arranged to add Ruby to our family.
When I arrived to help Rick pack and drive back to Texas, we picked Ruby up and brought her to live with us in the apartment. She and I bonded very quickly and I became hers. She became my velcro dog who protected me and didn’t let me out of her sight. Rick was now second fiddle and tried coaxing and wooing her to no avail.
We finally realized that if she was alone with Rick, she was fine. If she was alone with me, she was fine. But when we were both together, she paced and watched and paced and watched, unless she could be in-between the two of us. As soon as she got her chance to get back between us, she was there by my side protecting me. English Shepherds are known for their instinctive protection of their loved ones. She was definitely protective of me……not in a forceful way…….but in an observant velcro way.
Then Boeing changed their mind about Rick returning to Texas, so instead of Rick, Ruby and I driving from Washington to Texas in the little S-10 pickup truck, Ruby and I flew home. Having now made that trip in the S-10 with just Rick, I am v.e.r.y. glad that Ruby flew home instead of driving with us. It would have been a l.o.n.g. cramped week in that little truck, that’s for sure!
Ruby was greeted by many anxious hearts and arms wanting to love her and see if they could woo her into being their dog instead of mine ; ) I was a little concerned about how she would respond to our older boys as they are men and she was obviously distrustful of men. She sized them up and warmed up quickly to them. They did have to do some wooing and sweet talking to do to earn her trust. ; )
She quickly went from a skittish dog who had been bounced around from farm to apartment, to temporary farm to our apartment, into a sweet, loving, outgoing, faithful addition at Plymouth Rock Ranch. She is still attached to me, has adopted Galilee as her 2nd love, but has welcomed everyone else with lots of wiggles and licks too.
I was interested to see how she would welcome Rick back into the mix of the entire family when he came home for his week’s vacation back in September. She barked at him when he first drove up, was a little shy, but after he loved on her a little and reassured her, she welcomed him into the fold.
She loved on our Nubian doeling after we disbudded her, licking and nudging and trying to make her feel better. She is enthralled with our new little Jersey heifer. Mama cow is not enthralled with Ruby though! She charges the fence at the dogs whenever they come near. Ruby will make a great mother to her own babies as well as the livestock babies that she loves ; )
Copper is friendly with anyone and everyone, thinking everyone should want to love on him and have him either lean on their legs or jump into their laps. We’re working on that one! He’s a bit like an 8 year old boy, wanting to obey, but finding it oh so hard to remember until its too late ; ) But then he is very repentant and gives us those big dark brown, I’m soooooo sorry eyes that one must forgive him, but keep on training ; ) Once we have his attention, he obeys promptly looking at us for approval.
Ruby is more reserved, wants to get to know you before she says that you’re ok around her people and her animals. When I tell her someone new is ok, she accepts it but still watches them until she’s totally convinced. She seems to have a little more of the English Shepherd guarding instincts than Copper, but that could change as Copper matures. She is very ladylike, crossing her legs in front of her when she lies down. She is very playful, very loving and has settled into her new life here at Plymouth Rock Ranch very quickly, more quickly than I anticipated.
So, in the past year, the Lord has given us Copper, our precious metal, and Ruby, our precious gemstone, to add to our family and homestead and to start our English Shepherd breeding. They came to us with their names which compliment each other beautifully. I think God named them very appropriately ; ) and thank Him for bringing them to us.
We are excited to announce that Copper and Ruby are expecting their first litter the first week or so of February 2010 and will be looking for their forever homes come April.
But Don’t Let His Relaxed Look Fool You! He’s Listening and Keeping Track of Everything Going on Around Him.
When we first brought Copper home, he would run around the diesel truck when we started it, barking at the tires.
It looks like he’s become friends with those pesky tires now ; )