Great Dane month is over but this month I have TWO pawesome, raw fed , non-vaxedEnglish Shepherds with me!!! I’ve never had any English Shepherds share space with me before on Bark N Blog so it’s very much an honor for me to introduce these two dogs…AND their cat (sigh I have to bepaws after all they ARE carnivores too) to you all this month.
My mom met their mom, Krystal, on the Natural Health Care for Dogs Group – maybe some of you would like to come join us and meet all these naturally rearing dog folks too?
Kicking the month off is my new friend, Eoin – pretty pawsome name isn’t it? As you can see, Eoin is the epitome of natural rearing! And soon he and his roommate will be living off-the-grid with their humans in a true dog’s life, WOOF!
Here’s what his mom, Krystal Beers, had to say about him AND the breed: Breed Info The English Shepherd is a very old, all-purpose, working breed. Calm and steady, energetic and athletic, yet gentle, noted for their good judgment. English Shepherds love people, being a natural combination with children, and are wonderful companions for all ages. They are practical working partners in homes where their intelligence and spirit are understood and appreciated. If you are looking for that old-style farm collie to help with chores on the homestead, keep varmints out of the garden and henhouse, hold the hogs at bay, yet tenderly watch over the children at play, smart as a whip, a constant companion, content to curl up at your feet when the day is done, then the English Shepherd just might be the breed for you! The versatile English Shepherd has continued to work on farms, yet many dog fanciers are not familiar with the breed. This is changing as English Shepherds are excelling in the newer dog competitions such as Agility, Flyball, Frisbee, Tracking, and Obedience Trials. Many are entering the field of Therapy Dog and Search & Rescue, as well.
The English Shepherd dog is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. According to legend, the English Shepherd is almost pure Roman sheep and cattle dog, originally brought to the British Isles by Caesar when he invaded in 55 BC. He used these dogs to herd the livestock brought along to feed his troops. As the livestock was depleted, extra dogs were left along the way and interbred with existing types of dogs with similar “herding” talents to intensify those instincts. These dogs became part of the Great Britain Highland herding dog tradition, then known as Shepherd’s Dogs. English Shepherds today are descendants of the Shepherds’ Dogs of Scotland and Northern England bearing a resemblance to that genetic group both physically and in spirit. These shepherds with the “loose eye” were called Farm Shepherds or Farm Collies. The term ‘collie‘ meant black; the black-faced highland sheep were called collie sheep.
The first English settlers in the American colonies brought with them the finest Shepherds Dogs. It was here in America that they were given the name “English Shepherd“. Most long-haired working breeds carry English Shepherd blood. For generations, English Shepherds have been bred for all-around abilities, useful on a small to large farm. These range from herding and protecting livestock to vermin control, to companion and guardian of the home and family. The English Shepherd is considered an American dog.
EoinNicknames: Freckle Face Boy, Fuzzy Head, Big Dog, Pup. Eoin came to us by airplane as a 12 week old pup all the way from Louisiana, USA; he was such a brave little guy. One look in his adorable face and we were smitten! I mean, who could resist a freckle face like that! His name is Scottish Gaelic for ‘John‘ and is pronounced OH- in. He’s always had an easy going personality, very intelligent and a quick learner, and quite the Prince Charming with all strangers – two and four-legged; yet he has a take-charge side that is very rules-oriented. He shows good instincts to work livestock and has been a help around our rabbitry, when we had chickens, and on the farms of friends. I am limited with autoimmune disorders; Eoin has been a wonderful companion and protector, my husband doesn’t worry as much about me while at work with Eoin on the job! He is our right hand man, a terrific watch dog, and awesome varmint-gitter!
Eoin would like to say “thank you, Shadrach and Dr. Kim for having our family on your blog! I am so happy my mom and dad feed me good food fitting for a carnivore, cause I feel better and it sure beats those little dried pieces of stuff! I am also relieved that I’ll never have to feel sick after another needle jab from the nice lady in the white coat. Whew! I’m glad Greer is part of our family now. I really miss my chickens, but mom and dad said we’re going to get lots more, plus cows and sheep, too. I can’t wait!”
NR Our journey to Natural Rearing began with the arrival of our puppy Eoin. I first heard about raw food diets from a DVD I borrowed from the library about natural cat health. The daily blending of veggies and supplements seemed a bit complicated so we put it out of our minds. We hadn’t been “believe-everything-a-person-in-a-white-lab-coat-says” people for quite some time, but didn’t realize this applied to allopathic animal care as well. So, when darling Eoin joined the family he received the usual puppy shots and kibble diet. Pretty much right from the beginning he had issues – anywhere from constipation to diarrhea, lots of stinky gas, plenty of itching yet no parasites found, poor appetite, not thirsty.
In trying to find the source of his symptoms, the veterinarian suggested food allergies, so we switched him to a high-end, grain-free, human-grade ingredient, “holistic” kibble, which helped somewhat, but not any where near enough. During this time we began hearing about, and looking into, the prey model raw diet, aka Species Appropriate Raw Food (SARF). It made complete sense and sounded so much less complicated, dare I say ‘easy’. Then came time for Eoin’s last set of puppy shots and first rabies vaccine at 4 months old. Oh boy, did his symptoms ever worsen!!! After tests, all the veterinarian had to offer was “I don’t know” and a shoulder shrug. Right about then came the pet food scare of 2007. Even though ‘our‘ brand wasn’t on any of the recall lists, we knew without doubt it was time to take the leap over to SARF. We didn’t even finish the bag of kibble! And we switched my kitty Chanel to raw the same day. That was 3 years ago; Eoin was 5 months old.
Since that very first week we saw big improvement in Eoin – great appetite, firm stool and less of it, decreased gas and not as stinky, much less scratching, freely drinking water. For the first time we didn’t have to coax him to eat or drink. To see our sweet boy eagerly anticipate and devour his meals with gusto was priceless, actually made me teary-eyed! He continued to improve until all the ’symptoms’ were gone.
Already having reservations about vaccines, when the reminder cards arrived in the mailbox we put off an office visit. In the meantime, our interest in raising livestock for healthy meat was revealing information on avoiding vaccines for animals, but as of yet we hadn’t researched that area specifically. That all changed last fall when the rabies booster came due. We had also gotten another ES puppy, Greer, and the veterinarian wanted her vaccinated with the usual combo cocktail. It was definitely time to do the bookwork. That’s when I found Dr. Kim and Dr. Jeannie at the NHCFD, and also the justsayno2vacc, Yahoo! Groups. We are grateful everyday for finding them!
We agonized over the decision. Finally, I spent two days completely immersed in reading all the studies, data, ebooks, research, websites I could find, and asking questions of all the knowledgeable caring folks. The “light bulb moment” was reading the list of common adverse reactions to vaccines. I happened to be keeping a journal of Eoin’s development and looked back to the date, then compared it with his medical records. There, in black and white, was all the proof we needed – within three days of that last set of vaccines is when his ’symptoms’ really worsened. He had an adverse vaccination event! I have to tell you, my heart sank and I wept mournful tears to think of the quiet suffering our sweet boy endured. And then, the dark clouds of remorse lifted in gratitude that we heeded our inner misgivings about further vaccines and spared him a lifetime of misery. The relief I felt having finally come to a well-researched decision was profound. It was as if I could breath again. And another pearl of great value that resulted – because of Natural Rearing our new puppy is spared, as will their pups, and so on, and so on. We have the exciting opportunity to erase the genetic damage caused by vaccinations in future generations of English Shepherds. With this increased knowledge we feel it’s also a responsibility as thoughtful stewards of the breed. What a truly awesome prospect!
Hey Eoin, it’s been totally MY pleasure to have you come on the blog this month to share your pawesome journey into natural health – so glad your humans were listening to your teaching my man! And to the readers Greer will follow next week and Chanel the week after so stay tuned for more ventures into natural rearing, WOOF! Visit Eoin & Greer’s website at http://englishshepherds.webs.com/