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Oliver is the Airedale Canine Companion of Sally, member of AIREDALE LIST & ADTLOVERS LIST, and Ron. On 1 NOVEMBER 1998, she writes: "Two weeks ago tomorrow, Ron and I rescued an Airedale. I was notified by Carol Domeracki, Midwest Regional Rescue , late Saturday that there was an urgent situation in St. Louis. Though I tried all day Sunday, by involving my vet, who is a pretty well-known animal activist and respected member of the St. Louis veterinary network, there was just nothing we could do until Monday morning. At that point, we didn't even know if the dog was still alive.

"The details are sketchy, but a woman (and yes, I know her name) brought the Airedale to the shelter, representing herself as being associated with Airedale Rescue. She evidently wanted the dog for stud purposes, but when she found out how sick he was, she dumped him at the shelter. She would take him back if the shelter made him well and did not neuter him. The woman made the shelter manager so mad that the determination was made to put the dog down immediately.

"Carol sent a fax to the manager Sunday night and was on the phone to her at 8:00 Monday morning. And yes, he was scheduled for Monday to be euthanized. When I got the word from Carol at 8:15, I, too called the shelter manager and made arrangements to pick the dog up at 11:30. It was a matter of coordinating it with the vet.

"This was not the main dog pound. It's a really nasty-looking place in a not-nice part of south St. Louis, near the brewery (Anheuser-Busch). There were bars on the windows and, and it looked like a prison. The manager was out to lunch. It appeared that most of the people there spent the majority of their time 'out to lunch.' At first they were uninterested and slow-moving. I threw the manager's name around like we were bosom-buddies and did a lot of fast talking since I didn't have a 'neutering certificate' from the vet with me. (I'd never done this before.)

"Then I heard the magic words over the intercom, 'The Airedale is being rescued.'

"When they brought him to the lobby, my heart leapt to my throat. Ron walked out the front door. We were shocked. Never have we seen such a pathetic creature. While they re-microchipped him (the first one didn't scan), I paid the $18 and started throwing money around - which immediately ended their foot dragging. They lightened up and stopped pondering the neutering question.

"This dog was nothing but protruding bones. A rather large Airedale with dull eyes and obviously very ill - though even then he held his head high in true Airedale majesty. They had shaved his body, but left long, stringy, ugly hair on his head and lower legs. His head looked gigantic compared with the rest of his body. And he smellllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeddddddddd something awful!

"We drove straight to the vet's. I was in tears, and Ron had that look of seething anger on his face. And the vet's face, when she saw him, told a story, too. I felt sure that we were going to have to put him down.

"By the way folks, my vet had coached me with great care as to how to handle this dog. I was prepared for a snarling, biting, man-eater -- and since we'd be picking him up in my little convertible - no crate - I did take a number of precautions. But no need. The dog, whom I named Oliver, sat like a statue in the back seat. He was disoriented, ill and off in La-La Land somewhere. He was so weak that he fell or was thrown around a bit every time we made a turn or stopped.

"We left Oliver at the vet's, and I came home and e-mailed Carol in Michigan to be prepared for the worst. Smart woman, this Carol. She gave me a cyber-slap in a return note, telling me to BUCK UP!

"I was to return to the vet's at 4:30, and I managed to only bug them twice during the afternoon with phone calls. When I got there, I slumped down on the bench in the waiting room determined that Oliver would not die alone - that I would be with him.

"After a while (busy afternoon at the vet's), Caroline (Dr. Tress) came out and told me that the rushed lab results looked 'pretty good' and she was 75% sure he would pull through. His preliminary heartworm test was negative. Heartworm is up in Missouri 680% over the past 18 months, and the shelter had indicated he might have it.

"Here were his problems: His white blood cell count was in orbit, meaning heavy-duty infection (which she said had been with him for quite some time), cuts, scrapes and bruises all over, FLEAS, terrible ear problems - filth and mites, respiratory problems, bleeding from his penis and the inevitable worms. Plus he has either a tumor or a hernia (she suspects the latter) near his stomach. His stools were totally liquid, and, of course, he was starving.

"He was highly contagious, and she had isolated him immediately. But she let me take him out for a walk, during which I treated him to nearly an entire box of dog biscuits which I had brought. Then I got the hose out and gave him a nice, long drink.

"While walking, I discovered that he had obviously never been on a leash before. Then, all of a sudden, he broke into that good ol' Airedale prance - and I started crying again.

"He stayed at the clinic until Tuesday late afternoon, during which time, they ran further tests, bathed him (Caroline did it herself) and tried to trim off some of that God-awful hair.They started him off with a massive dose of antibiotics, FrontLine, and tried to work on his ears. But when they worked on his ears and mouth, he became very aggressive. They had to muzzle him.

"By his teeth, he appears to be about four years old, but for some reason, I think he's younger. His tail is very long, though it has been docked, but he still has his dew claws. Caroline thinks he was kept in a cage since he did not hesitate to potty in one while at the clinic, and other reasons. Anyway, there are signs of extreme neglect, if not abuse.

"For this reason, I opted not to bring him home to a crate. Instead, I cleared everything out of the hall bathroom, child-proofed the cabinet under the sink and put sheets and his new bankie down. The first thing I discovered was that he's a climber. He was all over that bathroom - on the counter, in the tub. And I quickly had to add an upper-level gate, fortified with a heavier chair. It's working, and there is a door I can close if and when the need arises.

"My biggest problem was Indy and Rodney. Not only was there a threat of contagion, but Indy is an aggressive male. So I have gates and barricades all over the house, separating them by some 30 feet or more. So far, so good. I've tried to be extremely careful to avoid 'direct contact' - I wash my hands with antibacterial soap every time I touch Oliver; I scald his bowls; I walk him in a field behind my house and don't let him anywhere near the dog yard.

"Here's a list of points which I consider Good News:

"1.  Oliver has not had one accident in the house. The first two days, I walked him every 2-3 hours round the clock That way, he got used to going outside. Then out of pure exhaustion, I suspended the midnight to 6 a.m. walks - and he made it. I continue to walk him seven times a day, but we are now into a very good routine. Now he actually lets me know when he wants to go out.

"2.  He let me put medicine in his ears from the very first, after becoming aggressive at the vet's when they messed with his ears.

"3.  On that first Friday, I knew the antibiotics were working because he got his sense of smell back. Prior to that, he had not sniffed at anything. Now he's a sniffing fool!

"4.  He had his first chewie which took a number of hours for him to figure out it was to chew, his first ears which he loves, his first hoof which he can take or leave, his first teddy bear and ball which he ignores. From the start, I began a 'you and me' period, right before bedtime when I go in, sit on the edge of the tub and give him strokes, good-boy talk and vanilla wafers. He now seems to know that he is to go night-night right after these sessions. On that first Saturday, he gave me a hug, and I hugged him back. You see, before that I couldn't bring myself to touch his bony body - just his head.

"5.  On day eight, we went back the vet's. He had gained 12.5 pounds!!! We couldn't believe it, so we weighed him three times. His congestion had cleared, though he still has a little cough. So we changed medication. His ears still need a lot of work. While there, I heard the vet on the phone talking to another vet. She told the other vet that this was the worst case of emaciation she'd ever seen.

"6.  He has no skills, but we're working on that. He now knows what a loud, sharp 'NO' means. He is doing a lot better on the leash, though he does bolt at other dogs dogs and people. He hates c*ts! Yesterday, we started working on SIT. And he's just starting to look up when I say his new name.

"7.  He's already saved my life. Day before yesterday, while walking in the field, a foot-long - NO - a 20-foot - no, a 60-foot-long, man-eating snake slithered in front of us, and he handled it in true Airedale fashion.

"8.  Then yesterday, while again in that field, he tried to play. He danced around and twirled in circles and then flopped down and exposed his belly to me. It was a Kodak moment.

"Oliver is getting well. He has a lovely face, and is one of the sweetest dogs I've ever known. Of course, I would be on my best behavior, too, if I were in his situation. He has a really superior intelligence, but I won't delve into how I know this here.

"The other Sally in Florida said something to me that couldn't be more true: 'No one will be good enough for this dog' when it comes times for him to go to his new home.' Yes, it will break my heart, but I have to be pragmatic and consider Indy and Rodney first. I just don't see that Indy and Oliver can ever be friends.

"I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank Shelley DeMerchant for being there when I needed her to answer a million panic questions. And, of course, I must give high praise to my vet, Dr. Caroline Tress, who was available night and day throughout all this. There should be a Veterinarian Hall of Fame for those vets who work so diligently to help us."


"Oliver - named after Oliver Twist, who also had a rough beginning, but went on to have a happy ending. Rescued Ocober 19 [1998]. After 32 hours at the vet's, Oliver came home with me. This picture was taken some hours after he came here. He had to be (and still does) in his own room, well separated from Indy & Rodney because he's full of infection from nose to toe. At first, I thought we would have to put him down because he was sooooo sick."


"Day Five of Rescue: I don't know if you can really tell just how emaciated Oliver is. Emaciated is an understatement. His spine is fully outlined through his flesh. His back above his hips is 4.5 inches wide. I could feel every rib, every bone in his body. And for several days, I could not touch any part of him but his head because it nauseated me."


"Here we are in front of my house. He looks so much better than he did a few days ago. He is really a very sweet boy, though he has no skills whatsoever. Because I've been able attend to him 24 hours a day, he has not had one accident in the house. Now we're getting into a pretty good routine."


"Look what Ron came 'home' with Wednesday morning! We had driven Oliver to and fro in my little convertible before, but now he can ride in style!"


"Oliver, November 14, 1998 - There's quite a difference between the pathetic Airedale we rescued on October 19 and this dog! He's gained 20 pounds and spent the day prior to this picture at the beauty parlor. He's through all his medications and seems to be on the brink of great health.

"Look at those great front Airedale legs! He prances with his tail up, but I couldn't get him to raise it for this picture."


"Oliver is 25 inches at the withers and weights 80 pounds so far. He's still awfully skinny."


"I'm trying to show you Oliver's face. He really is a handsome boy. He's getting more and more demanding with his belly rubs!"

"I asked Ron to pose Oliver for a nice picture, and this is what I get. Men! There are no signs of hip problems with Oliver. He is ambi-leg-strous and kicks as high as a Rockette!"


On 22 November 1998, Oliver was delivered to Mary Gade, to join Dolly and again make the Gade House a Two-'Dale Home . . . the story of Oliver Babcock, now Clancy Gade, continues here

Every time I read Oliver/Clancy's story, I am amazed and gratified by Sally and Mary's Rescue Work! Thank you all . . .

Oliver shown with the kind permission of Sally Babcock


The Airedale can do anything any other dog can do and then whip the other dog. -- Teddy Roosevelt

If you have a Second-Hand 'Dale and would like to share her/his story, please e-mail me.

Be sure to visit FRIENDS OF AIREDALES MEMORIAL FUND. Your memorial will make a difference in an Airedale's life.


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Thanks to Karen Clouston for the Airedale Graphics

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