I wasn't familiar with English Shepherds until Lucky Buddy Bear came into our lives as a little pup (oh my gosh was he cute), but Joe used to have an Australian Shepherd named Kassie who was an all around wonderful girl. So when the donkey peddling cowboy called one day and asked if we were interested in a stock dog puppy whose mother was an English Shepherd and father was an excellent working Australian Shepherd (this is the short version of the story), of course we couldn't resist. Bear will be nine years old in January, and I can't tell you how much joy—and how many smiles—he's brought us.
English Shepherds are an obscure breed of farm dogs that vary in appearance because they haven't been bred as show dogs. This means they're often misidentified as border collies, Australian shepherds, rottweiler mixes, collies, or mutts when they end up in pounds and shelters. The National English Shepherd Rescue (NESR) is a non-profit organization that works to help place English Shepherds and English Shepherd crosses who need new homes.
NESR is made up of a small volunteer Board of Directors, volunteers from the English Shepherd Club, and a network of wonderful people all across the country who are willing to visit and evaluate dogs in shelters, provide transportation, and offer long and short term foster care.
In addition to rescuing about 50 dogs a year, NESR works with shelters and other rescues to place English Shepherds and English Shepherd crosses in their care, and also works with owners and breeders to try to prevent English Shepherds from needing rescue. "We would love to put ourselves out of business," says the NESR website, "but with the breed's increasing popularity that dream seems unlikely."
Do you love dogs and food—or have loved ones on your holiday gift list who do? The new NESR cookbook makes a great gift! Shepherds in the Kitchen: 402 Recipes to the Rescue costs just $20.00 including shipping, with all proceeds going directly to NESR. If you place your order by Monday November 8th (sorry for the short notice), it's guaranteed to arrive in time for Christmas. They'll even include a special English Shepherd "do not open 'til Christmas" sticker if you'd like a copy delivered as a long distance gift.
This special cookbook is full of time tested recipes from generations of English Shepherd owners and their friends and families. Recipe categories include appetizers, soups, salads, veggies/side dishes, main dishes, desserts/breads, for your dog (how sweet is that?), preserving/canning, and beverages. You may even find one or two of my favorite recipes in there.
You can order Shepherds in the Kitchen online via PayPal here, or you can print out this order form and mail in your payment. Quantities are limited, so order soon! And don't miss the other NESR items for sale in their online store.
NESR also has English Shepherds available around the country for adoption (we're waiting to hear back about one of them!). You can find out more about the adoption process, as well as how you can foster for NESR, here, and see the English Shepherds who are currently awaiting forever homes here (warning: serious cute alert).
One of the many things we love about Bear is that he's so doggone photogenic: