On August 18th, 2013, Mark woke up to find that Max had passed away. The vet believed it had to do with his heart murmur. Max was buried here on our 14 acre farm.
Aussies are suppose to be reserved, however he was not. He was shy, scared and very protective of our family. Too protective of our family. We would have to crate him when having visitors over and could not bring him to kids soccer games any longer. As he got a little older, he became more aggressive towards anyone who was not apart of our family. He seemed always stressed out as he was always constantly running around or pacing.
Well things never got better as far as with other people, but we gave him the best home we possibly could.
I brought our little guy home and had all kinds of training with him. Crate training, socializing, and we brought him with us to as many places as possible. As he got older he didn't look like the blue merle I thought he was going to look like. His ears began to prick and after he finished growing, he weighed maybe 30lbs. I thought this breed was bigger?
A year before Max passed away, Mark and I talked about everything we did wrong in how we went about in looking for our new family member. Knowing what we know now, everything we did, knew, or thought we knew was wrong.
When Max's parents were bred, I'm sure their owners didn't take under consideration important aspects such as the sire and dam's health clearances and temperaments. Both two issues that Max suffered the consequences of. As our family gave him the best life possible, if he belonged to any other family, they probably would have given up on him and he would have ended up in a shelter. With his temperament, no one could have been able to come near him and he wouldn't have stood a chance in finding another home.
In 2012, we decided to get another Aussie. From a reputable breeder. Even though the $1500 was WAY more than the measly $250 that I spent on Max, I figured it would be worth it.
After attending a few dog shows and researching breeders websites, I ran across Debbie Mill's of Milwin Kennel located in Haywood, VA. I sent her an email inquiring about a show prospect as Mark and I decided to maybe take a shot at what it was like to own a show dog. Debbie replied back that she had a blue merle female available and the rest was history! We quickly were bit by the show bug and later added two more older dogs to our family!
Ellie and Max spent 8 months together before he passed away. Even though Max did not like other people, he had no problems with other dogs and took her under his wing for the short time they had together.
Ellie has a wonderful temperament and sweet disposition. Something Max lacked of...
We feel it's very important to ensure that our dogs have a sound temperament and be clear of any major health issues. Our dogs are Certified with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals at 2 years of age and eyes are cleared annually. Additionally our dogs have other testing done such as MDR1 and HSF4.
A lot like other aussie lovers, we have a love for horses as well. As Mark and I have different stories of how we fell in love with the "little blue dog", the stories both come from our our background in horses. Growing up in Gloucester, VA and attending horseback riding lessons is when I first encountered the Australian Shepherd. Mark has been into horses for over 35 years. He has a lot of background in horse showing and rodeos and often attended the Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio yearly.
The aussies willingness to please their owners made me realize soon after encountering with them, that this was the dog for me and my family. They are kind, loving, and devoted to those they know. They are very loyal to their owners, and are rewarding dogs if treated well.
After moving into my own home and getting my feet on the ground, I decided to purchase my first Australian Shepherd. I looked in my local paper in the pet classified section and found an ad for Australian Shepherd puppies that were about an hour away. I jumped in the car and drove to meet our new family member. When I got there, there were 2 blue merle boys left. A family was playing with one, and the other...was hiding in a garage under a work bench. I crawled under to get him out and placed him in the yard to meet my kids. As soon as I let him go, he ran straight back to under the work bench. I thought to myself that he was a little scared, but with some socializing he could be fixed! I wrote my check for $250 on off we went with our new blue-eyed blue merle, Max!
Our dogs are raised in our home and socialized with children, cats, and our other dogs. They are NOT kennel dogs and are members of our family. They are first our pets, and second...show dogs.
Our dogs travel with us not only to dog shows, but also if we go out of town to Ocracoke or the Outer Banks of North Carolina. If we could bring them with us on trips to the Caribbean we would! (They have also been to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier!)
We always welcome future puppy owners to our home to meet our dogs and see where and how are dogs are raised.
So welcome to our home on the web. We hope that you enjoy it and check back often as it's a constant work in progress!