Congratulations on your purchase of your Gen Sheppard (Sheppardus nohankypankius.) Within 24 hours of purchase, you should put your Sheppard next to a Rodney McKay, a Ronon, a Caldwell, a Lorne, some firefighters etc and look for signs of attraction. If you see any, then you have been supplied with a Slash Sheppard (Sheppardus Manlovius) by mistake. You can swap him free of charge within 24 hours, but you will receive no compensation for damage done by or to your Sheppard after that period has elapsed. To be especially sure, you should try your Sheppard with a large range of possible mates, since many Slash Sheppards are of the OTP variety (Sheppardus onetruelifebondedloveius) and remain unmoved in the presence of the wrong partner.
After unwrapping, you should remove the proof of purchase tag from the back of his boxers. When you have three, you can exchange them for... Well, you can't exchange them for anything, but we are sure you will enjoy the experience of removing it.
Gen Sheppards come in many varieties, and it is not possible to tell which you have acquired until you take them out of the wrapping and watch their behaviour. This adds a delightful element of surprise to Sheppard ownership, and unwanted types can always be swapped in the online Shepswapping community.
Your Sheppard is not fussy about habitat and is able to flourish well, whether in deserts or in polar climes. A spacious bachelor pad is his preferred housing choice, but he knows that this is too good to be true, and will be content even with a small room.
The most widely studied type of Sheppard, Sheppardus canonicus, is often to be found sleeping on a bed that is too short for him. It is not known whether this is a matter of preference or of necessity. Why not try your Sheppard with a spacious king-sized bed and see if his little eyes light up. You could always volunteer to show it to him personally.
Your Sheppard will be easy-going about food, and is remarkably unfussy. He is fond of beer, but drinks it sparingly. When bugs are present, he might express a taste for medicinal alcohol, and show an aversion to salt water. If you also own a Rodney McKay, care should be taken when feeding your Sheppard citrus, though, since Bad Things can sometimes result. Experts speculate that the staple diet of wild and undomesticated Sheppards is the lollipop, but this is not confirmed.
Scientists speculate that the Sheppard is distantly related to the hamster, since they show a similar fondness for going round in wheels - Ferris wheels, in the Sheppard's case. However, more even than wheels, Sheppards like to fly. If possible, try to ensure that your Sheppard has a plane he can go up in most days. If the cost of this exceeds your budget, give him some paper and let him make paper planes, or push him out of trees and off cliffs every now and then. Sheppards are also fond of trying to blow themselves up with nuclear bombs while saving the world. Please do not encourage this behaviour if you live in a built-up area.
Your Gen Sheppard will get on well with many other pets, especially Rodney McKays, Ronons or Teylas. Care should be taken, though, if your McKay is of the Rodneus McSheppius OTP variety, because this is a combination that leads only to heartache. Sheppards do not mix well with authority figures, any type of bug, Kolyas, Wraith Queens or clowns.
Question: "My Sheppard has strange hair. I've spent a fortune at the hairdresser, I've bought expensive hair care products, I've worked my fingers to the bone trying to style it, and it just. won't. stay. flat."
Answer: Your Sheppard's hair is supposed to look like that. This is one of the main distinguishing characteristics of a Sheppard. Trying to change it is like buying a tiger, and complaining that it has stripes. If you don't like it, you will just have to sell your Sheppard on eBay to the countless of people who appreciate the glory of Teh Hair.
Question: "But my Sheppard's hair can be styled. My Sheppard has long golden locks. They look lovely."
Answer: Your Sheppard is clearly not a Sheppard at all. Check his body. If he has curves, then you have, in fact, bought a Barbie with a Sheppard mask on. Remember: a true Sheppard cannot ever have anything other than spiky hair.
Question: "My Sheppard keeps getting hurt. He trips over specks of dust and breaks his arm. He chokes on ice cream. Cute bunny rabbits keep getting the urge to tear his throat out. I arranged a birthday treat for him last week, and he came out of it with four broken ribs and a tube down his throat. How can I stop this from happening?"
Answer: Your Sheppard is clearly of the All Whump All The Time variety (Sheppardus oopsadaisius). This is standard behaviour for this type of Sheppard, and nothing can be done about it. You should, though, add an intubation kit and an infirmary blanket to your Sheppard-care supplies. If you wish, you can encourage these tendencies by planting subtle death traps behind the gentle facade of his home.
Question: "But won't the International Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sheppards take action against me? I don't want to go to prison."
Answer: There is no International Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sheppards. There is, however, a Society for the Propagation of Shep Whump. Make them your friends.
Question: "My Sheppard is going around with a sword sticking out of his shoulder and his arm half off, but whenever I ask him if he's all right, he says he's "good" or "fine." Also, whenever I try to repair him, he runs away. He's quite inventive in his methods of avoiding medical care. What can I do?"
Answer: Your Sheppard must be of the type Sheppardus whumpus fanficcii. They do this. Get used to it.
Question: My Sheppard is looking quiet and mopey and grim, and I can't cheer him up.
Answer: Do you have a Rodney McKay, a Ronon, a Teyla, or any member of the Atlantis military contingent? Have they recently suffered an injury? If so, you have yourself a Sheppardus leavenomanbehindius, who takes these things seriously. Your Sheppard likes to protect people, so why not give him his own little job - protecting your goldfish, for example. As long as the goldfish is safe, you will have a happy Sheppard.
Question: "My Sheppard's gone blue and scaly!"
Answer: Oh dear. You have a Sheppardus bugifidius. Somebody has to.
Question: "And mine's gone all thin and grey and wrinkly!"
Answer: You have a Sheppardus toddifidius. Buy a Wraith immediately, who, if given suitable incentive and some common ground, will help you transform him, like a caterpillar to a butterfly, into a Sheppardus thunkus maximus.
Question: "My Sheppard likes to be tied up."
Answer: And you're complaining?
Question: "My Sheppard's gone through a portal and..."
Answer: Stop right now! Call our 24 hour helpline NOW, or your Sheppard will get wounded and healed off-camera, and will get tempted by other women, and will be in danger of turning into a irreversible case of Sheppardus toddifidius, all in the blinking of an eye. Get him out now! Our trained operatives will help you.
Question: My Sheppard keeps on flirting with every women in sight, and wants to show them what this thing called love is.
Answer: Your Sheppard is no true Sheppard. The so-called Sheppardus Tiberius is now known to be mythical. If your Sheppard claims to be such a species, he is a forgery. Return him now.
Question: "My Sheppard appears to be trying to commune with chairs and lamp-posts."
Answer: Your have Super-ATA-gene Sheppard (Sheppardus lightupius). They're increasingly rare. Cherish him.
If you have any further questions about the care and feeding of your Sheppard, you can submit them via our forum. We hope you have many happy years with him.