|ENGLISH SHEPHERDS OF WOA
Pictures of our dogs at the bottom of the page.
My grandfather used to always say, "you can take a smart dog and train him to do anything that any other
dog can do."
This being said I chose a herding dog and turned them into tracking and therapy dogs.
Wiley's Outdoor Adventures is a commercial hunting business specializing in hunts for terminally ill
children, people with disabilities, and military personnel.
We also offer hunting to the average hunter. Our hunting property in south central Alabama and is heavily
wooded. With that said if the game animal, primarily deer, does not drop in it's track after being shot then
the search for the animal can be trying and difficult due to the heavy timber and foliage. Adding to this is
the fact that the best game movement and shot opportunities come late in the evening just before dark.
This is where a very good tracking dog is tremendously valuable. That explains the reason for training my
ES's to track. The second responsibility for my ES's, and arguably the most important, is the ability to
bring smiles to the physically, and mentally, challenged children that we entertain. When these participants
are in the woods and hunting their focus is the anticipation of seeing the animal they are pursuing. Once
back at the lodge the focus is shifted to having as much fun as possible to take their minds, as well as their
parents minds, off the illness and situation they are forced to live with. There have been many studies that
have proven the effect an animals love can have on a person and the therapy it offers. This is what my
ES's excel in! They have been trained to track. The blood lines that our dogs have naturally have the
disposition to charm the pants right off of you. Duke was my first and therefore has the most training.
Kate was my second and she is following Duke's lead. Ruth is my youngest and also proving to have all the
qualities we strive for in our operation. All 3 of my dogs came from herding backgrounds. They still have
those traits. But due to the eagerness to please and learn these 3 dogs have evolved into working dogs of
a different kind.
In all that is listed below remember that Duke is my oldest and has had the opportunity to be involved
longer so naturally he is the best of the 3. Kate and Ruth are coming on strong though. Duke is the most
exceptional dog I have ever seen and I have had many in my 45 years of working with dogs. His ability to
reason, and his ability to understand, is nothing short of scary. I have said to many people describing
Duke, "one day he is going to call me by my name and the funny thing is I won't be shocked or surprised!"
Now a description of exactly what my dogs do for us.
We often blood trail wounded game. Sometimes it is in the daylight hours and sometimes it is after dark.
Remember that many of our hunters are physically challenged and not always the best marksmen. There is
nothing more challenging than to have a dog on a leash eagerly trying to find his prey and wanting to go one
way in thick briers and brush and you not being able to follow the same path. During night tracking I have
trained Duke to do the most amazing thing. During tracking he is always on leash. When he is on trail and
we come to a place that I can not follow him I have trained him on my command to break the trail and follow
the path that I chosen with the flashlight beam. In other words if we come to a place that he is able to go
being close to the ground, but that I can not being a big man, I use the flashlight to look for a path I can go
around the obstacle and pick the trail up on the other side. I can tell Duke to break trail and follow the
light. Amazingly enough he does it like he were another person with me. Kate and Ruth are learning the
task but Duke is the master.
During the many hours we are not hunting we are at the lodge sharing stories and trying to entertain these
children and adults. We look for anything that will be fun. Nothing we have ever done has brought as many
hugs, laughter, and tears of joy as my dogs sharing affection with these guests. There is simply no way to
explain the comfort a challenged person gets when one of my dogs gives them love. My dogs are always the
hit of the party and one of the most remembered things from the visit of our guests. They do all the
standard tricks dogs do like retrieving, sitting, shaking, and various other commands but there is one that
has become the icon of them all. Duke started this pretty much on his own and we simply gave it a name so
he would know when we asked for it on special occasions. Duke from a very early age would come to me if I
were sitting and put his head under my chin offering without a doubt his show of love. So we named this
action, "Duke giving love." Now when we have the children, and adults, around the lodge I will point to
someone, tell Duke to "go give them some love," and Duke works his magic. Kate and Ruth are following
suit and almost have it down. Again, I can not do justice telling you how much emotion is shared between
these people and my dogs. I guess in a sense I should have described my dogs as tracking dogs and
therapy dogs. That is really what they are.
Like my grandfather said, "you can take a smart dog and train him to do anything." That was true. I was just
lucky in choosing one of the best breeds, from a couple of very good breeders, to do this with.
My dogs are working dogs in my line of work.
(Click on the picture to enlarge)
John Wayne the "Duke" esc-622
Springhill's Kate esc-1360
Springhill's Ruth esc-1340
We have a litter from Duke and Ruth due July 4, 2013
If you are interested in a fine English Shepherd puppy please let us
Our newest female. Delilah. What a cutie!