English Shepherds are known for being watchful guardians of the home, alert to changes in the environment and ready to take action. The story below appeared in the June-July 1955 issue of the English Shepherd News Letter, published by Ed Emanuel.
Old Pup's legacy lives on in dogs like Buddy, pictured in the photos on this page. Several years ago, Buddy alerted his owners Bruce and Carol to a fire that had started on their ranch in northern California; thanks to the early warning, the fire was put out before serious damage was done.
"I am now 24 years old, but when I was 5 or 6 years old, my grandmother owned a black and white ring neck English Shepherd with tan dots over his eyes.
My grandmother owned a farm on the river and as it sometimes happened, the river overflowed the bank and drowned out the corn and caused a total loss of the crop for that year. This was going to hit her hard with 4 mules, cattle, hogs and chickens to feed. It also left other farmers short. A man came one day wanting to buy corn but my grandmother told him she couldn't spare any as she had to keep it to feed her stock.
My father and mother owned a small farm joining her farm. Grandmother was a widow and lived by herself. Sometimes she wanted us to spend the night with her. On the day the man had come to buy the corn, she had gone to town and bought a Victrola and a lot of records and she had some friends come that evening to listen to them because at that time a Victrola was a new thing around there. I always had to hit the hay and couldn't stay up late at night, but being we had the Victrola to listen to, my mother let me stay up until the rest went to bed.
Shortly after we went to bed, the dog began barking furiously. He would run from the barn to the house, barking with every breath. This English Shepherd was really raising a fuss, so my grandmother told my father that she believed something was wrong. How right she was, for the barn was on fire in the corn crib. In those days when people needed help, they always rang the dinner bell.
Grandmother kept work hands and they started pumping water from the well in the horse lot near the barn, carrying it and throwing it on the blaze. It was about to get into the hay when the boys got it out. In the meantime my dad was ringing the heck out of the old dinner bell, he was so scared.
If it hadn't been for that English Shepherd (Old Pup he was called), the 4 mules, and a lot of farm tools would surely have gone up in smoke. They got the law and the blood-hounds and the hounds went straight to the man that set the fire.
~ Argil Stover
Photos: Shepherd's Way Buddy
Photographer: Carol Verbeeck