A tail of three Airedale rescues…..
Our first rescue was gorgeous, huge Jesse with soft silky hair. The local paper said ‘free to a good home’ and I said, ‘I’ll just go and have a look’. I came home with Jessie (actually her name was Gerry but that didn’t work for us so we tweaked it). Jessie was a brilliant introduction to the world of Airedales, easy going, loveable and funny.
A short time later a limp, which the vet first thought was arthritis, turned out to be cancer in her spine (he suspects the previous owners might have known). After much investigation with specialists, the decision was made to nurse her at home. We only had her for another 6 months and I cried for a week when we had to make the awful decision. Such a huge impact for such a short time….we were hooked.
Our second rescue. My husband’s birthday was coming up and I called the Airedale Terrier Association to enquire if any dogs were available. We had perfect timing! We pick up 18 month old Rio from Balmain. Her owner was a lovely old bloke who’d had a stroke and was finding it difficult to manage her. ‘She’s a bit of an escape artist, scared of storms and fireworks’. She was from good pedigree (Strongfort) and had even had a litter of pups (her son Geoffrey even lived around the corner).
Rio was a much loved part of the family for over 11 years, happily coming to all my sons sporting events and we coped with her Houdini-like escapes whenever there was a storm. We had many many adventures in the world of Rio, including opening locked windows and standing on a window ledge 2 stories up, commando climbing over 6 foot fences and running kilometers away. She even clambered up an 8 foot high bookcase and fell into a 6 inch crevice behind it…which required us taking out all the books to be able to get to her, after figuring out where she actually was!
She squeezed out of a petstore-bought cage designed for large dogs (she bent the wire and sustained terrible injuries in the process) and we eventually had a weldmesh cage built for the worst weather times…Rio was certainly a fair weather girl!
She did have terrible skin allergies (which responded very well to lovingly home cooked food), but otherwise she was healthy until a couple of illnesses late in life (pancreatitis and cancer). We again had much sadness when we had to make the awful decision.
And the Third rescue, our amazing 6 year old boy Curly. Not sure if we’ll ever have another one like him…what a huge character!
A very bad message-to-text translation on my phone had me scratching my head and only after some Sherlock Holmes style investigation, I figured out that it might be the Airedale Terrier Association where I had left my name over 6 months ago. I found the AireNet Facebook page and there was notification of an Airedale at the Katoomba pound. After conversations with Denise, there was an anxious wait over the Australia Day holiday as the pound was closed.
Then a trip up to the mountains to see the dog described as an ‘escape artist with ear infection, skin infection & eye infection’. I said ‘no, I won’t be bringing him home as they need to do a site inspection’ and I arrived to find this huge big bear having a bath and of course, I fell in love. They said, ‘well, seeing as you’ve had experience with Airedales and particularly an escape artist, you’re fine, he’s all yours to take home…NOW’.
Curly was also a Strongfort-bred boy with papers, just like Rio. With love, grooming and good food, all infections cleared up immediately and the ‘escape artist’ would happily lie on the front porch watching the world go by. He would wait patiently for the cat to eat before getting his share, even ignore any potential burglars if he was having a snooze.
Curly loved his cuddly toys but was so gentle. Every evening he would throw them around to himself to catch in the air, squeak his squeaky toys over and over and eventually, every night send himself off to sleep mouthing his favourite cuddly toy…Doggy (a toy Dulux paint sheepdog), in his mouth as he nodded off into a trance.
He made us laugh every single day as he would sing us songs (which we could participate in) and he would watch the tv intently and respond to any animal with hilarious carrying on. He would do the Airedale bunny hop run around the house when he was excited and play chasey with my sons around the house.
Curly would come for long runs and especially loved the Curl Curl dog park (although it was a bit embarrasing calling his name while at Curly beach). Over the past year he developed a herniated disc in his spine causing excruitiating pain and really knocking him about. We thought we were going to lose him several times over 2014, when he developed a chronic bleeding nose. The vet thought cancer (no not again), but finally the nose bleeding stopped and we had the pain managed with daily medication, to the point where he was happy going for shorter walks just around the block and along the creek behind our house. Nothing too strenuous but he was doing really well.
Until the tick season. Advantix didn’t stop them and his medication seemed to mask the symptoms of a tick bite, until it was too late. So he didn’t respond to the anti tick serum well, vomiting into his lungs. My husband and I were away and my 2 sons desperately tried to do all they could. They had to make the worst decision of all.
Our poor darling Curly, we only had him for just short of 3 years, but his was the biggest personality of all our dogs. The funniest, the sweetest, the most gentle, delightful boy we could ever hope for. We miss him terribly every day and just writing this brings tears to my eyes again.
If only it could have been a different ending.