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Why Stillwater?

Why Stillwater English Shepherds? Back in 2010, when we were getting ready for our first English Shepherd, we had to come up with a name....first a registered name, then a call name. Actually, the call name came first.

Our puppy had a beautiful Irish white pattern in her sable coat and my husband decided that it looked like the big white collars worn years ago in Merry Olde England, interestingly enough called ruffs and often made of lace. (Also worn in most of Western Europe but he didn't know that!) So, she became Lacy. Pretty easy.

But what about her registered name? From my reading about English Shepherds, I learned that many were named for the geographical features, particularly the rivers, near their homes. These dogs are also distinguished by their owners' last names but I really like the river theme. Maine is laced with fresh water.....over 260 rivers and 10 times that many lakes, which, for a relatively small state, is a lot.

So, which rivers had been important to us? Well, we had canoed, camped, rafted and done a LOT of fishing on the Penobscot. (There's a spot near Mattawamkeag where my husband and son have caught some 60 bass a trip!) Jack and I had navigated the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (a 90 mile, 5 day trip) twice...once with our 11 year old son, his 15 year old cousin and our dog, Lady....and once with a group of friends. We'd rafted the Kennebec and the Dead, worked along the Kenduskeag and wrecked a boat on the Saco!

But the river where we'd spent the most time (although not actually ON the water) was the Stillwater, an offshoot of the mighty Penobscot. The Penobscot is the longest river system in Maine, draining some 8,600 square miles. All the islands in this waterway belong to the Penobscot Nation, a sovereign body belonging to the Wabanaki Confederacy, with the exception of Marsh Island, the home of the University of Maine, the only land grant university in the country located on an island.

Marsh Island is formed by the main branch of the Penobscot and its offshoot branch,the Stillwater. On the eastern bank of the Stillwater sits Alfond Arena, home of the UMaine Black Bear ice hockey team.....and a site where we, as a family, have spent of time! Hockey figured heavily into our lives for a number of years....first, as season ticket holders to the Black Bear games. (Hey....twice National Champions !!) Secondly, as home ice for our son Jeff's high school hockey team....not only games, but all those 5 am practices! We've been associated with the Alfond from the early 90s it made sense to me to choose the Stillwater as our "river".

So.....Lacy became Stillwater English Lace and Stillwater is now our kennel name. When Ginger arrived, her breeder had already filled in the first part of the registration with her own kennel name so she became Old Time Shepherds Ginger of Stillwater.

We live in another part of the state now so we only get back to the Stillwater occasionally, mostly in the fall, during football season (the football stadium is also near the river), which is when this picture was taken. I thought it appropriate to have two Stillwater dogs on the Stillwater!

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