Who is "Us"?
We are Lucas and Kierra Peters, the owners of Smokey Row Australian Shepherds. I'm (Kierra) often times the person you'll hear from if you reach out to us and primarily the "crazy" Aussie person, but I am blessed to have my best friend and husband by my side to help me raise our dogs, unexpectantly assist in whelping a litter, stay home with AND drive a litter of puppies 8 hours round-trip for my mentors to evaluate at nationals, and load/unload my car for dog shows (and even setup/tear down at shows if he's willing/able to come along) . I often joke with him that he's the reason our life is so wrapped around dogs (see below section) and he does not take kindly to it. I've had a lot of wonderful breeders come alongside me and help show me the ropes, but I truly don't think I'd be pursuing the show world and raising Aussies if I didn't have his support along the way. He's been known to say, "Just give me a warning if you're bringing home a puppy," "I think you should buy that dog suit," and, "That's above my paygrade, give Terry a call." He plays a much larger role than most people realize.
Besides the sentimental details, we both work full-time; Lucas runs my parents business alongside my dad and I work in Finance. We often joke that we're working hard to give our dogs a better life. Lucas frequently reminds me of my "extremely expensive hobby" and insists that not everything I buy for the dogs is actually for the dogs (he seems to think I have an obsession with expensive dog-related items, but I'm not sure where he's getting that).
How We Got Started
Although many would assume this all started with me (Kierra) since I'm the one who attends shows, connects with potential puppy homes, and does a lot of the puppy rearing here at Smokey Row, Lucas is ironically the reason we began our journey in Aussies. We got married in July of 2016 and he inherited my sweet Pomeranian, Lola. He insisted she is not a dog and he needed a "real dog." I grew up with a chihuahua so the idea of anything larger was quite difficult for me to wrap my mind around. He tossed around a couple large breeds and they were just too big for my liking. He then suggested an Australian Shepherd and I agreed to let him get one so long as I could pick the color and the puppy. Little did I know at that time our lives would soon be taken over by this amazing breed.
In fall of 2016 we brought home our first ever Aussie, Harper (a black tri girl), and she not only changed my viewpoint on "big" dogs but ultimately changed our lives. She is a once-in-a-lifetime dog and I don't think there will ever be a dog that can measure up to her.
Growing up I always had a passion for animals. I begged my parents for my childhood chihuahua when I was 9 and my mom is still resentful I was able to convince my dad it was a good move (she's still living with them 18 years later and is truly my dad's dog). I tried several times after this to ask for another dog and my mom often told me, "When you grow up and get your own house someday, you can have as many animals as you want!" I didn't realize at that time where that passion would take me (nor just how many dogs we would end up having).
Admittedly, we are fairly new to the Aussie world compared to others who have been in this for decades, but I have always been passionate about animals, have an all-or-nothing mentality, and am a quick-learner. Although I am far from being classified as an expert, I spent 4 years before having our first litter to get involved with showing and to find mentors who so graciously took me under their wing and showed me the importance of breeding with a purpose, studying movement, structure, and pedigrees. This time also allowed us to make sure we were actually committed to preserving the breed, carefully choose the dogs we wanted to start our program with, and to find the perfect home with land where we can raise them and give them the space they need.
I fully recognize there are plenty of dogs in shelters and humane societies that need homes (and fully support anyone that chooses a rescue dog instead of buying from a breeder, as each of us have different needs and desires for our family pets) and it's important to me that if I'm producing puppies, I'm doing it to the best of my ability and not contributing to the number of dogs in shelters. We only have 1-2 litters a year so we can devote the time and attention needed to produce healthy, sound minded, and well-socialized puppies. Our intention for breeding is for ourselves - we want to be able to keep something to grow up, show, and continue our program with while producing excellent quality puppies for our Smokey Row families. We carefully plan each breeding and don't look just for the sires that are closest (or even the most popular), and work hard at finding the dog that best matches what we are searching to improve on our girls with the end goal of producing puppies that are a beautiful exemplification of the breed standard.