Storm’s Story ~ and his very full teacup of happiness
Sue Forrester, Victoria
A journey of love, of sadness and illness, of isolation, of a random internet advertisement, and of a whole new life for one very special Airedale named Storm.
Listed on the internet (Gumtree) in July this year, a flurry of enquiries from several AireNetters succeeded in identifying Storm as bred by Meg Downie in Victoria in 2007, and sold as a puppy to his new owner in Adelaide, South Australia.
Storm and his owner lived a great life together, until illness forced a tragic change in both their circumstances one year ago. Storm was despatched to relatives of the owner in Victoria, living now in isolation from all that was familiar and secure. A year of misery and confusion followed. Things however were about to change radically, with that Gumtree ad. The Airespirits were watching out for him.
He was collected by Liz & Mike Walsh one Saturday in July, simply handed over at the end of a rope with the comment ‘glad to be rid of him’ as a farewell gesture. Storm was a mess of anxieties, uncertainties and confusions. He took offence at young Atticus, Liz and Mike’s sweet young Airedale, and clearly that wasn’t looking too good for the relationship that had been hoped for.
Whilst it was traumatic for all involved, the real need was to have Storm fostered in a secure environment so that we could genuinely assess his behavioural needs, get his health thoroughly vetted (he had a really nasty old wound, partly healed, between his shoulders), get him cleaned up (Liz and Mike had bathed him twice already, dismayed at his filthy coat), and in general see what we had in the way of an Airedale. He had been recently de-sexed, after fathering a litter of mixed-breed puppies ~ yet another black mark against the supposed carers of Storm. (Those puppies too had been advertised on Gumtree, and heaven knows where they have ended up).
After three days of heavy duty searching for the right place to board Storm, the magic button kicked in and my brain started working … I telephoned Porscha Juwa, Manager of Blue Cross Animal Society Shelter in Wonga Park, Victoria, and put the story to her. Porscha is a great friend of many years and her expertise in both animal behaviour and in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation is second to none, in my book.
The upshot was that Storm was delivered to Blue Cross and into the kind hands of the wonderful staff there, to embark on a bootcamp boarding school for the next seven weeks. He quickly became the Blue Cross pin up boy and loved by everyone (except Murray the C*T) and found himself among many furfriends, large and small, fast and slow, all shapes and sizes.
His training sessions were well planned and designed with plenty of obediense and socialising built in to their structure. Every day was a work day, so he had no time to be bored or lonely, and his muscle tone improved within the first week. We all felt that perhaps a four week stay would have him ready for his next adventure, this time a Forever Home. There were several applications for him to be sifted through.
The next few days unfortunately revealed a problem for poor Storm that could not be magick-ed away. In the thorough vet examination that we arranged with the Blue Cross vet, Storm was diagnosed with a sarcoma of his right ear, and that sadly meant an amputation of the whole ear flap. After the initial shock, of course we realised there was no option, so the surgery was done, and Storm found himself waking up with a large cone fixed around his head to prevent any damage to the sutures. And thanks to so many generous AireNetters, the costs of his surgery and board were met by donations and two Fund Raisers ~ for this wonderful generosity, please accept Storm’s gratitude, multiple licks and pawslaps.
Storm took very little notice of this thing around his head, and on the principle that life is to be lived, he simply got on with the job. Missing one ear flap merely added to his appeal.
He charmed the entire Blue Cross staff, learned his lessons well, ate and slept and played like there is no tomorrow, and in the seven weeks of his ‘bootcamp’, he found that life still contained happiness and security and company.
Pronounced ready to go from Blue Cross to his new Forever Home at last, his new Mum, Nicole Smith, arrived for their first meeting, and it was love at first sight.
Whilst his surgery site healed, Nicole and Storm developed a bond as his education continued.
Part of each day was devoted to C*T therapy. Muzza (Murray) participated willingly in telling Storm in no uncertain terms that he was a mere dog.
And on September 20, 2013, the great day arrived. Groomed beautifully, wearing a vivid orange harness & leash, new collar & tags, Storm said his farewells to Blue Cross, his wonderful home over the past seven weeks.
Storm now travels in a nifty BMW, attends Doggie Day Care two days a week, goes to school on Saturdays, goes dogpark visiting on Sundays, and has the undivided attention of an adoring Mum whose heart was aching for another Airedale in her life. Between the pair of them, they’ve made each other’s life complete.