Sweetpea’s Story ~ Sally Martin, Victoria
In November 2011, AireNet Australia was alerted to a Gumtree.com.au listing advertising ‘Airedale Free to a Good Home’. The amazing thing about this was that we were told about the ad by Airedale Rescue friends living in New Mexico and in Denmark! ‘Airedale Free to a Good Home’ lived fairly close to my house in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia! You’ve got to love the internet!
Sue Forrester contacted the advertiser and I volunteered to go on an investigative mission – a visit to get all the information we needed to place Sweetpea in the best new home. There was no urgency, we could assess the situation and determine the best re-home path.
I arranged a meeting with her owners for the Sunday before Melbourne Cup Day. The exact day is only important because it was an unofficial long weekend – so lots of people were away enjoying an extended break.
This was to be my first ‘official’ rescue/re-home job with AireNet. We had ‘rescued’ an Airedale (Doug’s Story) previously – before we even knew what Airedales were or that there was such a thing as a ‘re-homing or rescuing’, and we also adopted Senior Milo when his family were no longer able to keep him … but this was my first true ‘mission’.
But, as often happens, the urgency grew. Sweetpea became ill. I arranged to meet Sweetpea’s family at the vet’s – if things were looking too dire I wanted to be able to offer Sweetpea and her family support. There were concerns for her health and tests arranged but it was such a relief to the family that I could assure them that no matter what, there was a line of people who would happily give her a new home. **
It became obvious that her family absolutely adored Sweetpea but their current living situation made it impossible for them to keep her. So, the following day, after a chance for the whole family to say goodbye to their gorgeous girl, she was placed gently in the back of my wagon and we headed for home.
My first mission had changed from investigative to foster! I had tried the night before to find a more suitable foster home but unfortunately no one was available on this weekend to offer an alternative/better temporary placement. My first thoughts were that our home had all the things Sweetpea did not need: steps in and out, polished boards and a 4 year Airedale, Wesley, overly friendly and way too boisterous for the rather frail, not too secure on her legs, small Aire-girl.
But it was home we drove, knowing that these concerns all had solutions. Dog introductions were made carefully. It was a cool day so we got Sweetpea out of the wagon, put Wesley in, and took her inside to meet our 12 year old Airedale, Milo. Milo instantly assessed her as inedible and therefore of no interest to him whatsoever. She happily investigated the garden and seemed relaxed enough in this new environment for the Wesley introduction. Keeping him on his lead we let the smellings begin. Sweetpea was instantly taken with Wesley and was keen to get to know him. Wesley checked her out thoroughly, decided she was not going to be any fun to play with (and that she wasn’t edible) and knew the best course of action was to ignore her and go and find a ball to play with.
Sweetpea will turn 12 in December 2011. She is a feisty little thing with bad hips, arthritis and low grade heart murmur but a strong determination that enables her to give a pretty hefty pull on the lead when she wants! She stands like a tripod – back legs together and front legs spread for balance. She gets around pretty well (albeit a bit wobbly) and I’m sure she likes to re-live her youth by following Wesley, hoping he will get into some sort of mischief that she can at least enjoy watching even if she is not able to join in.
It became apparent after a couple of days that although this was not the ‘perfect’ new home for Sweetpea it was where she needed to stay – forever. She was content. Greg had fallen in love with her and was not going to let her go! Wesley and Milo were helping to give her that extra spark of life and were happy for her to be here – even though it meant sharing things by 3! I had developed a good relationship with her family and living so close they will be easily able to visit ‘their girl’.
We have been praised for taking on an old Airedale with on-going medical expenses but it is not really us who deserve this praise – her first family offered to cover her medical expenses. It is they who deserve the praise because they made the very difficult decision to re-home their girl because they felt it was in her best interests. We are the lucky ones because we have the delight of Sweetpea – her cutest happy dances, her smiling face and her loving licks.
Sally Martin and Greg Richards & Wesley & Milo
Sweetpea crossed the Rainbow Bridge on 18 November, 2014
** PawNote: AireNet Australia has a commitment to helping Airedales of all ages, puppies to Seniors. Unless medical conditions advise otherwise (and euthanasia becomes the kindest option), a Senior Airedale is as important to us for rehoming as any younger Airedale. We have approved homes-in-waiting just for them.