Ryan’s family gave the moniker of “Sheepdog” to Ryan after watching a scene in the movie America Sniper where the Chris Kyle’s dad describes the world as having 3 types of people:

There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. Some people prefer to believe that evil doesn't exist in the world, and if it ever darkened their doorstep, they wouldn't know how to protect themselves. Those are the sheep.
Then you've got predators who use violence to prey on the weak. They're the wolves.
And then there are those blessed with the gift of aggression, an overpowering need to protect the flock. These men are the rare breed who live to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdog.

As a family, we have adopted the Old English Sheepdog as the representative sheepdog breed for Ryan given the characteristics that are described by the Old English Sheepdog Club of America. 

The Old English Sheepdog is by no means a rare breed, however the OES is still rather uncommon. He is big and hairy, robust yet easygoing, fun-loving to the point of being clownish and is credited with being one of the few breeds of dog with a sense of humor. The breed’s intelligence is great and although even-tempered, when provoked, he can gallantly dispatch any situation that may arise. He exhibits deep devotion to his friends and will bark at any unusual occurrence as a warning; however, the OES is not a true guard dog ... and definitely not adaptable to attack training. He is credited with having a mind of their own.

The Sheepdog Connection is focusing on the next-door-neighbor Sheepdog who is typically unarmed and does not have life and death encounters in his normal daily experience.  There are an overwhelming number of opportunities for men to be Sheepdogs.  

The Sheepdog reference in the movie American Sniper has been expanded by Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman in his book On Combat and in his other speaking engagements.  The focus on Grossman’s Sheepdog is from a military and/or police protective perspective in armed, life and death situations.

Sheepdog Connection is focusing on the “next-door-neighbor” Sheepdog who is typically unarmed and does not have life and death encounters in his normal daily experience.   It is intended to be a resource and a tool for men to understand how they can develop the skills, traits and thinking processes that are needed to be a Sheepdog.     

What type of a person steps in to help a friend or stranger when everyone else steps away, protects others from a bad or threatening situation, is kind to someone when everyone else ignores the person, encourages someone who lacks confidence to take action.  It's a unique person who exhibits these traits – he is what we call a Sheepdog. 

In today’s world we need more Sheepdogs who are ready to step forward when everyone else is running away or standing complacently by when another person needs help.  The “next-door neighbor” Sheepdog is a guy who will have a significant and lasting impact on his family, friends, community and the culture.  

The critical and essential element in the Sheepdog is to serve others before himself, its part of his DNA.