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On Wednesday, 7 January 2004, I e-mailed ATRA (Airedale Terrier Rescue and Adoption) Wisconsin contact Paula Lackner about an Airedale in our local newspaper: "Wonderful, 8 years old, needs new home, call for an interview". Paula called; dog had to be "out of the house by Friday", but he had already been promised to a new home. End of story (we thought), although Paula did leave her phone number.


On Wednesday, 14 January, Paula called me to say that the original owner had called her; the new home "isn't working out", and would I be able to pick him up ASAP.

He is a nine-year-old, 75-pound, intact male that likes to run away, which, with my two females (April the Street Fightin' Airedale mix & Cari the Cairn Terrier) and one male (Rico the Cairn Terrier), could make for an interesting time! But we have a six-foot privacy fence and quite a few crates, one of which is Great-Dane-sized, so . . .

. . . VetteMan & I picked him up later that evening. The complaints were that he "got into the garbage" (as the woman was telling me this, she was moving a frying pan filled with solidified fat off the dining table so she could sign the ATRA release), and "he marked all over the house". Actually, it was not a house; it was a second-story apartment; up a rickety set of stairs, with no place for him to run, and three kids who completely ignored him.


(I don't know about you, but I cannot be in the same room with a dog without speaking to it, or touching it).

His name is Eric, I was told, as this beautiful and proud Airedale loped out of the kitchen and greeted us, perhaps thinking his original person had come to take him home. With his reddish coat, Eric the Red seemed to be a natural nickname for him.

We carefully took him down the rickety, unlighted stairway, VetteMan carrying the garbage can half full of his food and medical records. He jumped right into the SUV and into the crate, and we were off for the five-minute ride home, and the next phase of his life.

We let our three into the backyard, and then introduced Eric to them. April, our Street Fighter, was the one who worried me, but she and the Cairns were fine with him, and he with them. He was more interested in marking every tree in the yard, but since we have quite a few, he was soon running on empty.


Then we brought them all into the house . . . where he continued his attempts to mark territory. VetteMan, tired of chasing him around the house with a squirt bottle and yelling, "ERIC NO!", reminded me of the belly band we used on Rico when he first came here (as a foster . . . you can see why VetteMan worries when I bring home another so-called foster). I quickly drove to Walgreen's for an elastic bandage (their brand is half the price of the name brand) and some incontinence pads, and we were all set.

He was so restless that first night: panting; drooling on poor Rico, who had to be wiped down before he could come to bed. The inclination to mark stopped with the belly band, luckily. He slept that night in the Great-Dane-sized crate I'd picked up curbside last winter. (Our dining room currently has four crates of various sizes installed. Good thing we rarely actually EAT in there!)

He is a lovely large Airedale; high on the legs, good ear set, beard needs to grow out. He has that smooth gait when he runs that is so graceful. He free feeds (and is not food possessive), so his weight is just right. (Speaking of food: he takes it VERY GENTLY from your hand; no grabbing or lunging, even when giving treats to the other dogs right in front of him.)

He very quickly learned where the door to go outside is, and how to ask us to open it. He also quickly learned where the treat canister was and how to ask for a treat - typical Airedale!


He will let me clean his eyes, and put OtiCalm into his ears and clean them (which hasn't been done in months, I can see). His tail is constantly wagging: THUMP THUMP THUMP. On the wall. THUMP THUMP THUMP. On the floor. THUMP THUMP THUMP. On me (ouch!).


He likes to sit outside and guard the yard, or look inside to see if he's missing something exciting, like the distribution of treats. When he's inside, he will lie in front of the patio doors, watching "Squirrel Vision"; he does NOT go crazy when there is a squirrel right in front of him, like Cari & Rico do; he just watches, calmly and attentively.


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