|I was introduced to the Australian Shepherd breed when I was in high school in the late 1970's. A girlfriend of mine, Stephenie,
had Aussies, and bred them whenever her dad would say it was OK. Her dad always worried about having pups that they couldn't
find homes for.
The Australian Shepherd had not yet been recognized by AKC as an official breed. This wouldn't happen until 1991, after
establishing a 100 year linage.
Kathie's sister had been given an Aussie named "Free". Free was a beautiful Black Tri female, with all of the typical Aussie traits.
She was bold and agile, she was gentle and kind, she was protective, and she was confident. She was simply a great dog.
As fate would have it, about that time, Kathie's sister could no longer keep Free. She had to move out of state, and had to find a
home for Free.
Much to my surprise, coming home from work one afternoon, I was greeted in my kitchen by a very confused "Free". Kathie's
sister had run out of options, and for all practical purposes, dropped Free at our door step and took off running. Free was our first
We loved Free from the start. She was so amazing with our Daughter, Jessica, who was only two years old at the time. Free
proved to be the ultimate four legged babysitter. As Jess grew, Free seemed to understand her needs, and her boundaries. As
time went on, we had complete confidence that if we let Jess go out and play in our back yard, with Free, we knew that she would
During the time that we had Free, we were always being asked what breed of dog she was. We could take Free to all of the
community events with absolutely no concern about her misbehaving in any way. We knew that we had the perfect family dog.
Free lived to be 13 years old.
Kathie gave me Logan for Valentine's Day in February 2003. Logan was a very handsome Red-Tri Aussie male. As Logan grew,
we often thought about all of the people that would ask us where they could find one just like him. At this point, breeding was the
furthest thing from our mind.
The following year, 2004, Kathie gave our daughter, Jessica, her very own Aussie. Jess named her "Watts" after the character in
the John Hughes movie, "Pretty in Pink".
As time went on, and the two pups matured, the idea of having a litter began to be the topic of conversation around the dinner
table. I have to admit that I was the one that kept shutting down the idea. We didn't know a thing about breeding, and what would
we do with all of these pups. The internet was nothing more than a way to get email. Websites were something that big
companies could afford - not average people that were thinking of breeding dogs.
We decided to go for it anyway, and in April 2006, Watts and Logan had our very first litter. We decided to name the pups after
country music singers. We had Waylon, and Willie, Gretchen and Dolly, Merle, Johnny, and others that I just can't remember.
Loving these cute little pups was the easy part, marketing them was the challenge that was firmly placed in my lap. We would take
the pups to farmer's markets, sit outside grocery stores, and even put ads in the Chicago Tribune and the Sun Times. We had
pups that were 7 months old before they found homes.
It was also a lesson in Aussie genetics. Two Red-Tri's will only produce Red-Tri's.
The feedback from the first pup owners was overwhelmingly positive. Everyone loved their new pups.
In an effort to spread the joy, Kathie gave our daughter, Tara, an Aussie who she would name "Beckham". Beckhan was a Black-
Tri male. Tara was fine with Beckham siring a litter, but we also found out that if we bred Beckham with Watts, they would only
produce Black-Tri's. (The black gene is dominant to the red gene, and the merle is dominant over the Tri, which is dominant over
the Bi, and so on and so forth.)
So, Kathie brought "Lady" into the breeding mix. Lady was a beautiful Red Merle. Beckham and Lady had a litter of Blue Merles,
Red Merles, Black-Tri's and Red-Tri's. It was really cool.
Tara, who is much more computer savy than us old folks, came across a website building program called Yahoo Site Builder. Tara
gets all of the credit for taking the initiative to start what would become our website - kingsgateaussies.com.
It started as one page that basically let people know that we had Aussie pups. I have caught some flack over the years from family
members insinuating that I took the website away from Tara. That was not my intention. I saw some really cool potential in
expanding the website into something that people could spend some time surfing around, learning about the Aussie breed, and
learning about us, as breeders.
As the website grew, so did our reputation. Kathie was always looking for the best temperament in future breeders - both males
and females. Her vision was much more grand then mine. Kathie is, and will always be, the vision, the love, and the success of
King's Gate Australian Shepherds.
So, now here we are. Eleven years since our first litter. Thirteen years since we sat around the kitchen table and decided to take
the leap of faith to be breeders of this outstanding breed. We have retired thirty five breeders, who have gone on to have amazing
lives with their new families. We have produced hundreds of pups that have not only blessed their new families, but have also
blessed us in countless friendships over the years.
It humbles us to think that about 80% of all of the pup owners still keep in touch with us, at least once a year - usually on the pups
birthday. We've been at it long enough that a few of the first litter have passed on, after giving their families the best years that a
dog could give.
Any of us who have come to know Kathie, know the passion that she has in her heart for the Australian Shepherd breed. I can't
imagine any other person that has loved these little bob-tailed dogs more, and has dedicated so many years to blessing others
How did you come up with the name King's Gate?
The name King's Gate comes from two verses in scripture. The first is Revelation 19:16, where John is describing Christ coming
down from heaven on a white horse. This verse reads - On His robe and thigh was written this title: King of Kings and Lord of
Lords (NLT). The second is John 10:9 where Christ says, "Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved.
Wherever they go, they will find green pastures." (NLT)
We are a Christian family. While we were trying to decide whether or not to buy this property, I (Joe) was studying the Gospel of
John. I came across this verse and really felt that it spoke about this property, after all, the property has a front gate...and green
pastures. I went to Kathie and told her that I felt we should buy the property and call it "The Gate". She thought it was a stupid
name, but we bought the property anyway. We kicked around names like, "Gateway" (which sounded too much like a computer),
and "Green Pastures" (which sounded too much like Green Acres). We thought about, "Sheep's Gate", and "Lamb's Gate", but it
didn't seem to fit. Then I came across Rev 19:16 and thought, "What an awesome name for our Lord and Savior - King of Kings
and Lord of Lords." So, Kathie suggested, "Why don't we call it King's Gate." We think it has a nice ring to it. And after all, all of
what we do in our lives is for His glory.
Joe recently updated his online bible study and devotional
ministry, appropriately named "Average Joe Ministries". It now
features a segment on Joe, & his daughter Jessica's, baptism in
Lake Michigan, Joe's personal testimony, and a link to Joe's
newest Blog - "The Random Acts Project".
There is still a link to a small collection of Joe's bible studies that
we hope will bless you and encourage you.
Click on the logo to the right to check it out.