How We Began
Wow! I have to share with you of how Kingdom Shepherds began. In December of 2005, a family trip to Pet Smart to purchase cat food for our Siamese cats resulted in a rescue of our beautiful Yellow Lab, Harbin. Harbin was approximately 10 months old and separated from his family during the wrath of Hurricane Katrina and was brought to Georgia by Dog Pack Rescue. Harbin found us as he was in a kennel with another Lab and insisted on coming out to say hi to our family. Well, to make a long story short, we returned home from shopping for cat food with a new family member.
Harbin brought so much joy to our home and at such a perfect time of year, Christmas. While we thought we were helping Harbin by giving him a new home, what actually happened was Harbin helped us, as our family had a common bond of joy that could be shared by all of us. In December of 2006, we celebrated Harbin’s 1st birthday with our family and began to think about getting him a companion. We felt he needed a sibling that could run, play, and sleep with him in times we could not.
The search then began for a German Shepherd. I had always had a passion for German Shepherds and thought now would be the time to seek my dream. After three months of searching, I became in contact with a breeder, Jarick Shepherds. I shared with them what I was looking for and it just so happened that they had a two-year-old female, Elsa, for me to meet.
March 13, 2007, I met Elsa and it was love at first sight. My heart was filled with such excitement. We soon introduced Harbin and Elsa and they were immediately bonded. There was no doubt that Elsa was meant to be part of our family. Jarick Shepherds stated that they wanted to breed Elsa and that I would need to agree to this if purchasing her. I agreed and felt so fortunate to have opportunity to purchase Elsa and her very first litter of puppies from a championship bloodline breeder.
VENUS & ZEUS
On August 9, 2007, Elsa whelped two beautiful puppies named Venus and Zeus. This ultimately became the start to my learning about the breeding process which gave me the encouragement and desire to begin Kingdom Shepherds. This also brought my husband, Sheldon, into the German Shepherd world as a very special bond was established between him and Zeus.
Kingdom Shepherds Became Our Family Ministry
As the years ensued and my heart for Kingdom Shepherd’s grew, it became clearer to me the true vision for Kingdom Shepherds was to be a ministry. This further lead me to not just breeding dogs, but to have a level of accountability in doing so. This meant learning more about the show arena and to have dogs that were bred according to the American Kennel Club standard. Also, health testing, sound minded temperament and confidence in the puppies bred by Kingdom Shepherds was the upmost importance. I committed myself to making sure Kingdom Shepherds was best known for quality and health and doing my best to contribute to and improve the GSD breed. On September 11, 2012, I whelped my very first Kingdom Shepherds litter.
As my breeding knowledge and show experience continued, Kingdom Shepherds began to shift from being my personal ministry, to a Jones family ministry. My daughter Heather began to attend dog shows for fun and share the process of learning about the conformation show ring while she was in high school. When going away to college, Heather brought 3 Kingdom family dogs to live with her which further grew Heather's heart for the breed.
When returning home from 4 years at college, Heather began to initiate an interest in handling some of the Kingdom dogs. She would practice with our dogs while at home and began to find mentors to guide her through the handler process.
Fast forward 3 years in time and Heather made her debut handling a Kingdom Shepherd dog, Kingdom's Holy Fire, Ruger, in the show ring. Since this time Heather is now sharing the Kingdom Shepherd vision with me, and routinely traveling to dogs shows handling and finishing champions, while also assisting in earning performance coursing titles.
Now when persons in the German Shepherd world think about Kingdom Shepherds, it is associated with Michelle and Heather! My daughter Lauren has also joined the ministry vision and owns 2 Kingdom Shepherds, Ami and Victor. Lauren attends dog shows from time to time, and helps behind the scenes with caring for the dogs while at shows, taking pictures, ideas for social media and even made the first ever Kingdom Shepherds TikTok!!! But most importantly Lauren just supports our ministry and vision, always being there to encourage Heather and I with our aspirations for our dogs.
My son Kevin has also become involved with the ministry behind the scenes, by building whelping boxes, setting up outside areas for puppies to play and train, and has worked with making our Mercedes Sprinter van compatible for safe traveling with the dogs to shows. Kevin has also assisted with obtaining items such as generators, power cords, awning installation on the Sprinter van; etc to make sure Heather has everything needed at dog shows.
Lastly, God moved in a huge way with my Husband, Sheldon in early 2021 at which time he retired from his full time job and became the full time kennel manager and caretaker of all the Kingdom Shepherd dogs. Just WOW! Sheldon handles the daily caretaking, veterinary appointments, and all aspects of the kennel management for Kingdom Shepherds. Whatever the dogs need, you name it and Sheldon handles it! What a huge blessing this is, as it truly takes a village to serve God in this ministry and to meet the high standards I hold for Kingdom Shepherds in doing so. I am humbly grateful.
As of July 2022, Kingdom Shepherds has 10 AKC conformation champions, 9 TC temperament titles from the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, 10 AKC performance titled dogs, and is known to serve in both the conformation and performance arenas.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story and this special gift to my life.
To God Be the Glory,