Guild of Shepherds & Collies

Shoot, Score, Adopt!

Mark Lukas took the time to talk to Guild of Shepherds and Collies about his experience with border collies, his business, and the painful time in his life that turned into inspiration.

In 2003, Mark Lukas lost everything. He lost his son in a personal watercraft accident, and in the wake of his son’s death, he lost his marriage and his relationship with his daughter. Lukas was lost, with no idea where to go or what to do next. Suddenly, out-of-the blue, he remembered a game he went to with his son Zack, who at the time was 10 years-old. Before the game started, a woman walked onto the field with a border collie, and with a couple of swift movements, had the collie controlling and moving a soccer ball. Lukas was so impressed with this display that he tried to get his family on board to adopt a collie, but at the time they were too busy.

In 2004, it seemed, he had all the time in the world.

Lukas attributes God’s hand in the path that led him to ultimately forming Soccer Collies, its success, and its next step.  So, remembering that game with his son, he went off to find his own collie. His path led to Mrs. Z (pronounced “Miss-Z”) – named in Zack’s memory. Mrs. Z would soon grab the attention of everyone she met, as Lukas would use a ball to keep her occupied when guests came to visit.

“To Mrs. Z, everyone was a soccer player,” said Mark Lukas, “and to everyone who knew her, Mrs. Z was a soccer player.” Putting all his faith and his money into this new passion, Lukas was able to give life to Soccer Collies.

After a 10 year successful run, Mark Lukas then developed Soccer Collies into what he believes it was ultimately meant to be: the Soccer Collie Adoption Program. Generally, border collies are high-maintenance and high-energy dogs, and finding suitable homes is often a challenging job. Mark works to keep collies off the roster to be euthanized, providing a dynamic place where they can exert their true nature, socialize, train, and eventually join a family unit. The dogs are rescued, then appear at events showing off their soccer skills.

When asked about the benefits of a Soccer Collie, Lukas says it keeps him physically fit and motivated to make a difference in their (the dogs) lives. Dogs, he believes, were sent to make a difference in his life during his loneliest hour. Though he immediately made it clear he did not want the focus on him. “This is not about me,” said Lukas, “this is about the dogs, the kids, and soccer.”

You can visit the Soccer Collies website here.

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