I use that title with affection and respect for a lady that has touched most of our lives in a profound way. Breeding German Shepherds properly is as much Divine Providence as it is skill and experience, passion or pleasure. If you own an Omorrow bred GSD, you know that Rhonda has all of those things helping her everyday. Although she credits her Puppy Owners with much of the credit as good dog owners, she has earned all of the accolades she receives regularly on her very popular Facebook page, her Omorrow website, and other outlets. Word of Mouth is a huge way to learn about Omorrow and it’s owner. Omorrow GSD owners won’t stop talking about their dogs to anybody, anywhere, anytime!!! Something that great, has to be shared…
This interview was going on as Rhonda waited for 3 new litters of pups to hit the ground, so you’ll experience that while you’re reading!!!
GSA: You have been a Breeder for quite awhile Rhonda! What Pairing of dogs do you think of as the first “Omorrow” dogs, that started your bloodlines?
RHONDA: I have bred on a much smaller and random scale for many years, but I would have to say that the “Omorrow” was born with Cayman’s Sunshine (Sunny) and Rommel Wolfgang Panzer about 14 yrs ago. There was a gap between Shepherds for me for a few years after losing my last one in Florida in the mid 90s. Then came Rommel.. then Sunny followed
GSA: Where were Rommel and Sunny from?
RHONDA: Both were “chance” finds, and not from a regular breeder, as a matter of fact, Sunny was not a young puppy, and an old school friend’s aunt had her and could not keep her.Were they imports?…smile
No they were actually found fairly locally. Rommel was my absolute best bud..
GSA: You always speak so fondly of both those dogs…They really touched your heart and created quite a future for you…Have you personally imported a dog from Germany, Hungary, or Czech,?
RHONDA: No, although Blitz’s parents were both Hungarian Imports.Of course I know there are reputable importers, but I am more comfortable interacting with litters and picking my own!
GSA: How do you decide which dogs to breed together? What process did you use to choose your pairings in the beginning?
RHONDA: LOL..It all started with Sunny and Rommel..I kept two females from them. They produced size, confirmation and a sweetness that I had not seen in many years. They both had an incredible love for ALL kids, scary intelligence, major ball drive, and I swear the ability to read my mind! All the things I remembered as a kid with the sheps my grandfather raised, theydang near raised me! Their girls, Tillie and Heidi were the same.
GSA: Since I have a Blitz son, (Hans) that I think is the greatest dog ever born, and since he seems to be a foundation stud for your bloodline, tell us about Octume vom Blitzkrieg…
RHONDA: I found Blitz from a small breeder on the Michigan/Ohio line almost 11 yrs ago. Actually Brian MADE me buy Blitz..lol..he wanted a black. When I went to see the litter, I was NOT impressed, you could not get near either parent. His sire was an absolutely STUNNING black and red, but mama was a small, not pretty sable, and surly..and Blitz himself was a scrawny little thing, with a lousy thin coat, and not at all like any pup I had ever owned..It had to be divine intervention..which happens alot around here, because..well…I got BLITZ! No dog will ever come close to having the impact on my life that Blitz has had. Who knew that that boy would produce the exact thing with my girls that I wanted to put out there! Funny about some of the grandparent throwbacks, as I refer to them, sometimes we have lost a little size (blaming Blitz’s dam) in a few of the gals, but all in all, they put out a pretty consistant great dog, NONE of the “bad” and the subsequent generations are doing the same! I chalk it up to not knowing how those imports were handled.
GSA: Well, I can certainly attest that Blitz’ pedigree is absolutely filled by many champions, and many of the major building blocks of the German Shepherd breed, all the way back to 1899. Researching his ancestry has occupied many hours of pleasurable time for me. Soon I’ll do a special edition here at GSA on him…Has the process of choosing who to breed changed over the years for you as you’ve gained experience ?
RHONDA: I guess it has developed into a process of sorts, I have things I look for in new members of the pack, you know I am not a pedigree chaser at all, although I love what you have done in your research!!I study the parents of any pups I choose and actually get a “feel” for them; personality, look, interaction, movement..etc, and Robert, I seriously pray alot. With my adults I pick the pairings that I feel will complement each other in all respects..For instance, Artic is a bit of a one person boy, not aggressive at all, just a bit more aloof and wary with those he does not know well, and with an intense loyalty and crazy smart brains, then take Gypsy who loves anyone and everyone, as does Gerta…and paired with Artic you get pups like Grey, Tank, and Remi with alot of laid back self confidence, and clownish actions. Very stable, loving and trustworthy. Those pups in the right enviroment are excellent therapy dogs, very social pups..very suited for families with children or as companions. Do they still have working ability? Of course it’s a GSD!
GSA: Don’t sweat the pedigrees! Your instincts are serving you very well! Captain Von Stephanitz would be proud of what you’ve accomplished, because you’ve stayed true to his vision…Omorrow dogs are SO healthy and energetic! That requires the help of a Great Veterinarian…Describe a typical vet visit to Omorrow farm. Or do you load them all in the truck and take them? (LOL!!) I’d love to see a van with 10 or 15 GSD’s pull up to her office!
RHONDA: I have Heidi, who comes to the farm…she has been coming here for about 9 years now…I LOVE her and so do my dogs! There are also a couple of other vets I also regard highly that I use for emergencies, or when we need a clinic or hospital,x-rays etc. I can never stress enough the importance of finding a vet that you can not only communicate well with, but one who also loves the breed! It was a grueling process for me with Veterinarians, especially as I gained experience..
GSA: In fact, Heidi is one of the Omorrow Pack…Great Job Heidi! You are an AKC registered Breeder/Kennel…What happens during a visit by that organization to update your registration?
RHONDA: AKC inspects annually. They check records, of course the kennel itself and the condition of the dogs, and the dna of any puppies available.
GSA: Do you have a favorite breeding pair? (past or present?)
RHONDA: Good Lord Robert! It would depend on the moment you asked! (Tess just had a pup…black female!) Each is an idividual and all my pairs are awesome in their own right, I AM that crazy dog- lady, and I suppose I may have some favorites, but that can even fluctuate ….I truly LOVE them all! A past favorite was Stuka/Fokker because they produced so many “Fokkers” together..He is a mama’s boy you know..lol. To say I really have a favorite pairing…no, I am amazed at each litter!
GSA: You’ve really jumped into the internet to keep Omorrow advertised and communicating with your puppy owners…How has that changed your business?
RHONDA: I have been on the internet since 2001 but not on a large scale. Facebook has changed things dramatically…wonderfully so!!I not only get to stay in closer contact with my owners and get to watch the puppies grow, I can stay abreast of any problems going on out there with my dogs. This is way better than an annual update! I am only as good as what I put out there, and it really helps me to know! I have the BEST dog owners out there they have enriched my life. You my dear Robert have been a godsend!
GSA: Thanks Rhonda. I’m a firm believer that something as good as Omorrow really needs to be shared…my small contribution to Omorrow is a labor of Love and Gratitude…Being part of the Omorrow Online community is really enjoyable! You’ve gathered some real characters on Facebook! The annual reunion has gotten to be a milestone for many of us!
GSA: Omorrow is REALLY a family owned business, tell us about their involvement the Omorrow farm…
RHONDA: Well, besides my grandaughter being chief puppy socializer( a title once held by nephews!) Tara, my sister, is here no less than 3 days per week helping maintain the dogs, and puppies, and she is also the transitional puppy trainer for some of my owners. My aunt Ellen has also dived into the puppy training field this year! Of course there is my husband Brian who takes a more passive role in the breeding and puppy business, except when he is telling me who to buy!! LOL He actually is helping me plan an online store as well as a small store at the farm just for basic puppy supplies, dog foods I endorse.
GSA: Wow…Dog food has gotten to be a major topic on your FB page! What are you currently doing in the feed department?
RHONDA: I now feed Nutrisource to my entire kennel! Primarily the grain free chicken or lamb, and the large breed puppy of course. Had some really bad results with Diamond and all they produce..I suspect chemicals added by suppliers. None the less they were never honest with me, and after years of feeding the naturals line to Taste of the wild, and the Chicken Soup line, I will NEVER feed anything produced in a diamond plant again. All of my re-occuring “cow patties” are now gone, my heats have stablized and my dogs look incredible.Their inconsistancy is scary!
GSA: What about RAW diets?
RHONDA: I do supplement my dogs with homemade and meaty bones, but I am unable to find the never ending trustworthy protein source to totally feed mine without kibble. I would need between 65 and 80 lbs per day, of meat alone. So…I set out talking to dog food manufacturers. Most are less than honest, Diamond is one of the worst. Nutrisource was one of the more open companies willing to provide me answers in WRITING concerning suppliers and ingredients. After trying their grain free, it has made a huge difference in my dogs as a whole. I still feed some of my own recipes, but I need a decent kibble as back up. I do not claim to be a dog food expert, nor do I think any dry kibble is sufficient alone. There may be others out there that are “good” kibble, and alot more than just Diamond made products that are not, but as a whole, I am at least satisfied that Nutrisource is not killing my dogs!
GSA: It’s a lot of work, but your research is paying off for your new puppy owners! Any BIG plans for the immediate future? .
RHONDA: We hope to expand our indoor areas this year, as well as revamp some of our kennel and fenced areas. Hopefully we will be able to host some events eventually and have some puppy classes. Of course we will be doing a new calendar and the online store, and this year’s reunion! I do have dog food now for sale here as well as some puppy items..(I guess I already answered this above, huh?..lol) Robert, alot depends on our funds this year as to when it will all come to pass))
Tess had another pup, another black female…lol, and Gerta is busy ripping up her bedding in the other room…gonna be a long one!
GSA: Rhonda, THANK YOU so much for taking a few minutes with us! You are the reason that so many of us find ourselves being taken into the Omorrow Pack! It is a reflection of your experience, passion, and Wonderful dogs!! We all thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!