ARTICLES »Versatility Triumphs

-November 2006 by Audrey Harrison

The ISSDC is very proud to pay tribute to Ch Dakota's Nyssa MD Shiloh Star, CD, CGC, SAR, TT, TDI, HIC, HCT, JHD, USDAA (1st Leg), PENN, OFA, ROM. Nyssa is one of those very rare & remarkable dogs who is actually a "living legend" in her own time! This incomparable Shiloh Shepherd is currently the most titled working dog in the breed's history! She is owned by Michelle Pelescak and the foundation female of MD Shiloh Star. These two are truly an ultimate team in so many ways!

Michelle knew she had to begin socialization early on with her as a young puppy. She concentrated on developing Nyssa's obedience skills, good manners, trust and comfort in multiple circumstances. As Nyssa matured into an adult, they proceeded with physical and mental conditioning as well as agility exercises. Michelle attributes Nyssa's excellent health and long lasting stamina to their two mile jogging routine and a nutritional raw diet.

In the beginning of their amazing career, Nyssa breezed through the requirements for the Canine Good Citizen Award, Therapy Dog and the Temperament Test (ATTs). She acheived her very first leg toward her Companion Dog Obedience Title with an outstanding performance - winning High In Trial trophy from the American Rare Breed Association! She earned her second leg with another excellent score of 193, taking the Third Place ribbon amongst a group of 19 dogs. They continued to compete in the Novice Class several times, gaining multiple legs in excess of the three required - consistantly scoring in the 190's out of a possible 200 points.

Taking on yet another challenge, Michelle and Nyssa entered regulation Agility competition. At their very first USDAA trial, not only did they qualify with a fantastic run, earning their leg - but also won First Place! To date, Nyssa is the first Shiloh reported by an ISSDC member to have obtained a leg toward an Agility title.

All the while, these two partners had been preparing for an even more serious and sometimes dangerous task, Search and Rescue work. After months of training, their final field evaluation was a test on 160 acres where two subjects were hidden - they found them both in 5 hours. Nyssa is certified by Mid Atlantic SAR Dogs and is active in both airscent and cadaver operations.

Ready to take another stride to prove the Shiloh's overall versatility, this superlative team moved forward into the shepherds' natural origin - sheep herding. Right away, Nyssa displayed her inherited capabilities and passed the AHBA Herding Instinct Test with ease on the first attempt. Michelle explains, "When I saw how most Shilohs took immediately to the sheep, it emphasized how important it is to develop their herding tendancies. Obtaining recognition with the American Herding Breeding Association, an organization devoted to 'true' herding breeds was an incredible step in the right direction!"

And so it was that Michelle decided to take an active role in this special mission. She dedicated hours to working with Susan Rhoades, AHBA Judge/Instructor & owner of Keepstone Farm in Berryville, VA. As a matter of fact, Michelle engaged in lessons for both Nyssa, and her daughter (Amy) who is formally registered as arCh MDSSk's Amphissa Maxima, TT, TDI, CGC, HIC, HCT, JHD. They were further joined by the strong support of Lyda Phillips (owner of Cid, son of Nyssa) and her incredible boy named Dibby Hill's El Cid Of MDSSk, CGC, HIC, HCT, JHD, HTAD. Nyssa, Amy & Cid - all three MD Shiloh Star Dogs quickly proved they excelled in herding and went on to be awarded the much needed titles of HCT and JHD during their united efforts to secure official AHBA recognition. Amy and Cid were amongst the first five to qualify (required by AHBA) and therefore were particularly instrumental. They are now known as members of the fantastic "FAB FIVE"! Cid is quickly making his own personal mark in the history books as he has also become the first Shiloh to earn a Herding Trial Arena Dog title and a leg in the AHBA Ranch Dog Division!

As a breeder, Michelle encourages all her "puppy people" to bring their dogs to their full potential. She says, "I love seeing working dogs, especially shepherds! Despite most Shilohs being pampered pets and show dogs, they do have good basic working abilities that must be preserved. A shepherd of this size that is not capable of any sort of work is a travesty. The qualifications of versatility are what defines a shepherd!"

Nyssa is a two time conformation Champion, in both Breed Club and IABCA. She is also the dam of 3 litters, a total of 21 puppies. To her credit - together they have collected.... 4 2x Chs, 1 Ch Ptd, 2 TTs, 5 TDIs, 9 CGCs with gunfire, 4 CGCs, 2 SAR, (3 more in training), 1st leg on a CD, CI & HIT, 4 HICs, 3 HCTs, 2 JHDs. Nyssa is an ideal represenative of the breed in several respects and is a true inspiration to those working Shilohs that will follow. In addition, she has made the most important contribution of all by passing on these worthy characteristics to her progeny. Nyssa's legacy will continue to serve the breed for generations to come!

CH Dakota's Nyssa MD Shiloh Star, CD, CGC, SAR, TT, TDI, HIC, HCT, JHD, USDAA (1st Leg) PENN, OFA, ROM and Michelle Pelescak... WE SALUTE YOU!