Desert Willow Aussies was developed out of love of our Aussie's and appreciation for the "Dog World" in general has been within me my entire life. As a child being told I had a gift with Dogs, Cats, Horses, Birds, Squirrels, Chickens, Geese and anything else with four legs, fur, feathers or an attitude. My attraction to the most temperamental personality of any animal drove me to find connections with them at a very young age. My mother was terrified that I'd be bit by the enormous German Shepherd down the street who hated children, but as always I'd find a way into the heart of the animal and be the only child in the neighborhood who could pet that dog (Sticking my face up against the chain link for a kiss caused me to be grounded on several occasions). Being one of those little girls that never had much interest in playing with Dolls, I would rather play kickball with the neighborhood kids or with my animals and put a personality and a VOICE (yes I puppet everything and still do). My personal enjoyment is watching each one to discover what makes them unique in their personality, even our Chickens died of old age and my heart was devastated. I wanted to be a Vet my whole life, but having no confidence in my math abilities to follow my zest for the animals, it was a hindrance in my own mind, so figuring I could never make it through Vet school. Today my heart knows that is not truth, just immaturity as a youngster and how I would give anything to go back and get through school to become a Holistic Vet! So the closest I've found is becoming a breeder Australian Shepherds and have vigorously studied Holistic principles for animals and applied them to how we raise the puppies, kittens, cats and dogs (Kids too!). My true enjoyment comes from the teaching side to what we do. We are a teaching Kennel and want to help you become an expert in your breed "The Australian Shepherd". The Show world means little or nothing to me personally. What matters most to us is health, longevity and temperaments to fit beside your life style and these are our complete focus.
My first encounter with an Australian Shepherd was at 15 years old, when living in Abiquiu, New Mexico. We had just moved there from California (from which I was born and raised) and my father purchased 15 acres for us to build, live and ride my horses. We had this sweet dog named "KIWI" and she was beautiful, so smart and she was never tied up or put in a run, yet she never EVER left our property. She just would walk it (or Trot) around and around as if she were patrolling and monitoring. I did not realize that her beauty and brains were genetic, I just figured we got lucky and found a really awesome dog (partly true)! It amazed me how she continually moved forward and around our fence line, never leaving the property, even with the driveway gate wide open! She learned my schedule and when I'd arrive home from school on the bus, she'd be waiting there ready to frolic. Her loyalty has stayed within me all these years later. My heart will never forget her and her that funny joy in her ability to herd our Geese that were continually trying to nip us on the buttocks (Ozzie and Harriet).
My next encounter with Aussie's was in Hollywood, where I worked in the Entertainment Industry (behind the scenes for both Television Commercials and Still Shoot Photography). My freelance jobs put me in front of many different types of talent both Human and Animals. It was there my eyes saw a dog that looked exactly like KIWI walk onto the set with long flowing locks, wiggle butt with no tail and that familiar focus to her trainer that I had personally experienced with my dog. It was the Presence of Royalty sincerely, and now I realized that she was not just an ordinary dog, Kiwi was an Aussie! I began to understand that their intelligence was the make up of this breed and her eye contact with the handler amazed beyond what words could describe. The only way to explain is you could actually SEE this wonderful animal looking into the eyes of her handler trying to "PLEASE" him, and just living for it as though it was her only hearts desire! I was both stunned and sad to have no clue at 15 years old what an honor it was to own a dog of this caliber. Knowing this now I would have been all over the 4-H world for Agility.
Years later a friend introduced me to her mother, who was a breeder of Aussies. At the time my husband, Mel and I had adopted a Lab/Aussie mix and was/is completely in love knowing I had a piece of an Aussie. Again, the intelligence of Duffy, along with her sharpness of mind, and even stubbornness to do things her own way has been the joy of our family for years. She is a "mutt" of sorts because she is not purebred but a beautiful, and unique friend none the less. She has been the Shepherd of our children Travis & Julianna her entire life and today in 2013 - 2014 she was just 16 years young when we lost her this year to an accident that took her too soon. We fully believe she would have made it to 18 with the Food and Immune Boost System he had her on. She had continually stayed beside us and has plenty of spunk left in her for being a seasoned old girl. Mel and I and the kids have been her world and her career as she carefully watched over especially the kids, and protected them all the way to the Rainbow Bridge. We loved her deeply and had hoped she has a few more years left on her. It's always too soon to lose them.
I was reintroduced to the this amazing breed and the Purebred-blood lines and beauty of these amazing dogs. My friends Mother hired me to care for her dogs while away on vacation and quite honestly it felt like my heart was home around all these wonderful dogs, and was amazed they let me be apart of their pack! Each was so beautifully unique, not only in color, but how they communicated and bonded with me and eachother. It was during each of these encounters I began to get a huge desire to understand these dogs more intimately, and was taken away with the grace and beauty and independence, making this the doorway of how I became a breeder of Aussies. But if I were to do this my heart was to do this correctly and focus on the animal, not the notoriety of the Show World.
Side Note:I met up with my Husband in 1990 at our 10 year Class Reunion (we were married 8 months later) and moved from Sherman Oaks, California back to New Mexico and have spent 19 years together with our two awesome Children (Travis & Julianna) who are our constant helpers in our Kennel. They both attend Private school and are helping to provide for their education by working beside us in our adventure. We are teaching them to work for their education and hope to develop that work ethic that so many young people lack now a days. We are in the process of renovations and then moving into our new facility this year with more room and fun to run for the Aussie's. This adventure has been key in bringing our family up as Desert Willow Holistic Pets.
We started with 2 dogs and they are the foundation of our Kennel and my husband Mel and I sit back and marvel over how this all happened? Our lives will never be the same and the friendships we have with our Kennel parents are so deep we know they will last a life time. We've gained a whole new family and they come stay with us, fellowship with us and love on our kids - boggles the brain in a big way! We just sort of stand here and scratch our heads, ears and the tips of our noses while trying to figure out how all this happened? I know! Heaven decided to send us angels in the form of Aussie's and Puppy Parents! God is sooooooo good - Thank you Lord!
About 4 years ago my Father passed away and the kids and I wanted to give my mom a dog of her own so we put our funds together to purchase her a Toy Poodle. We named him "Peedie" and wrapped him up and proudly presented him to my Mom. Well, our excitement soon turned to gloom because she was not overly thrilled to have a dog around her cats (note to self: make sure to ask before one buys) so we are now the proud owners of Peedie the Toy Poodle.
14 Aussie's and a Toy Poodle? What did I do!....hmmmmm
Because we all have a job around here we had to come up with a job for Peedie. He is now the official "Pre-Big Dog Socializing Committee" and the Chairman of the board. He goes into the Whelping Pens with the puppies at 4 weeks and gets them to play until his heart (and theirs) are plum worn out (for hours mind you). The puppies just adore him, and he walks on water among them as they treat him like he is their Uncle Peedie and follow him around like the King. So know your Aussie's will be socialized to Kids, Big Dogs, Adults, Cats and Uncle Peedie, the Toy Snoodle. By the way, we love Peedie beyond words and he is totally apart of our family and has his own wardrobe in Julianna's closet! I never knew how much clothing is out there for little dogs until now! Oh brother....
Our dream is for all our dogs live a healthy happy life with you as your constant companion. We prefer them not to be bred and to save the breeding for the breeder! I pray you understand. The "Show Ring" or championship standings are wonderful, but to know they are "Herding Cattle & Sheep", "Helping the Blind to cross the street", visiting Nursing homes or a Hospital Pediatrics Ward to bring a smile to someone who is very sick as a "Service Friend", helping to find the lost who are missing in the mountains as a "Search and Rescue Partner", Running through a tunnel in an "Agility" course, Jumping off a dock into a lake full of cool mountain water in the "Dock Jumping Sport" and/or finding their Need for Speed in "Fly Ball" and flying through the air with the greatest of ease a lips length from a "Frisbee" with the ability to run as fast as they can, now that is what makes my "Clock Tick" if you catch my drift..
These dogs have a zest for life and need to have opportunity to please and shepherd those he/she loves, and the way they do this is by working for you, laying beside you, watching over you from the car as you make your way into the supermarket and keeping your feet warm as they wrap themselves around your chilly toes in the early morning while you sip in a hot cup of joe! You are their first love and you'll never be loved as you'll be adored by your Aussie.
Today our joy as a family comes from breeding and raising these magnificent dogs and experiencing the gift of sharing in their magic! Our puppies are an extension of our family (from our arms to yours), as we carefully screen and choose their new families. During their puppy-hood weeks, and the time spent with us is very important, as we spend a lot of time socializing and preparing the pups to go onto live a wonderfully healthy and peaceful life with their new owners. Our children are a huge part of our team, and as a family we tend to the needs of each pup. These dogs have helped to raise our family and bring us closer, and through this experience we look forward to sharing our treasures with you!