Ryan and Meagan Cheney began RMC Shepherds three years ago when they adopted Hazel, a pure blood German Shepherd dog. Hazel’s easy temperament and ability to tag along with them on their many outdoor adventures caused Ryan and Meagan to think about breeding her. “She was such a blessing to our family, that we thought maybe we could offer that to others.”

Ryan and Meagan set out to find a male dog that had the same characteristics that they had grown to love in Hazel. Hazel is friendly, calm, bright, and has a love of the outdoors that matched their own. Ryan and Meagan are both avid hunters and living outside of Powell, Wyoming means that there are plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy the vast Wyoming views and rugged terrain that surrounds them. “It was important to us that we were breeding dogs that would be safe and happy living with families.” While Ryan and Meagan don’t have any children of their own yet (their first child is due in July) they have many friends with children and understand the importance of a dog you can trust around kids. When they finally found the right breeder to work with, they formed RMC Shepherds.

It wasn’t until Hazel had her first litter of puppies that Ryan and Meagan realized that their puppies could be more than companions. A childhood friend of Ryan’s has a daughter with spinal bifida. After hearing about the toll surgeries and recovery had taken on both her body and spirit, Ryan and Meagan began to look into the possibility of donating one of their puppies to be Lily’s service dog. “Meagan did most of the research and when we realized that we truly had an opportunity to help, we knew we had to.” Training for service dogs can run upwards of $30,000 and Ryan and Meagan knew that their friends would be unable to afford this cost, so they began to make phone calls.

“We started with family and friends,” said Meagan “and then I reached out to trainers in Laramie and explained the situation. Between their generosity and the generosity of our local vet (who donated all the cost of shots and care for the puppy) and community fundraisers, we were able to raise enough money to cover all the expenses.” When Lily received her puppy, she wasn’t the only one who was overjoyed. Her parents were so grateful that they were brought to tears.

They named the puppy Willow and she and Lily have a bond that can clearly be seen. Willow has given Lily a new-found confidence and will allow her to walk and play like any other child her age. The comfort and companionship that Willow offers Lily is just as important as the physical support she offers.

“When we saw the difference this one puppy made, we knew we had to continue. When our rescue German Shepherd Tawny had her first litter with us, we began to search for another person in need of help.” Through word of mouth RMC Shepherds was connected to a boy in Laramie. He suffered from seizures that left him unable to have the level of independence he desired. Once again, through the generosity of others, Ryan and Meagan were able to cover all the cost necessary to provide him with a service dog. “What was great about this,” said Ryan “is it wasn’t just about helping one person. Having this dog not only allowed him to become independent so he can attend college in the future, but gave his family a piece of mind that they had never had before.”

Ryan and Meagan had no doubt that Wyoming is where they will stay to raise their family, and what they have seen through RMC Shepherds has only affirmed this. “We’ve noticed that as soon as one person steps up to the plate it causes a ripple effect. People in Wyoming are always ready to help each other out, to make a positive difference in the lives of others.” Ryan and Meagan both agree that this is unique to Wyoming’s small towns and something that makes them proud to live here.

When asked what their hopes are for the future of RMC Shepherds, their answer was simple. To keep breeding dogs that honor the German Shepherd breed and become a blessing to their families, just like Tawny and Hazel have been to them.

Currently RMC Shepherds have two litters of puppies a year, and they are looking for Wyomingites that have a need for their puppies. You can contact them through their Facebook Page.

'Wyoming's Worthy' are Wyomingites that make us proud to call this wild and wonderful state our home.