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In May 2000, Lana MacInnes writes:

Sandi Sprankle sent me these pics of her three boys & Lance (he's the one sitting up in front), as well as a solo shot from when she was fostering him. Although Lance is 48 pounds and Lester is hovering around 90 pounds, they are both supposed to be standard size. According to Sandi, Lance was a twin born in the same placenta as his brother, who is now 85 pounds and was born deaf. Lance was born with both retinas detached and is almost blind. Our vet thinks he can make out some light and shadows as his pupils dilate very slowly under a bright light, but all his other senses are in overdrive so he gets around quite well (he can smell when I am eating chocolate at the opposite end of the house!) and is a typical goofy Airedale.


I had no intention of getting another dog when I came across Lance on ATRA's website. I was still anguishing over the loss of our seven year old Bouvier Lucy, who died one week before Christmas after a brief but horrible illness.


Lester & Lance (on right) getting to know each other.

We have an eight-year-old Airedale, Lester, who seemed perfectly content at being an only child. I had no idea what rescue was as we had always adopted puppies from breeders to live out their full lives with us.


We were shocked at how many hundreds of abandoned, older and special needs dogs we discovered on the internet who were looking for homes. Something made me keep going back to Lance, who was identified as an eight-year-old Airedale who was born with an orbital motor problem, who wobbled when he walked, had a hard time seeing, had trouble with stairs and whose previous owner had died in a fire.

There was something about the little guy that touched my heart. Every day I went on the computer and pulled up ATRA's site to look at his picture and see if he had been adopted. I was driving my husband, Cam, who is a bona fide Airedale lover, crazy by continually crying over Lucy and talking about Lance. He kept telling me that I should send in an application, but I kept making excuses. I was not sure how Lester would react around another dog. As Lance was older with special needs, his life span may not be long. I didn't know if I would I be able to deal with the loss of another dog. I thought that it would just be wrong to replace Lucy so soon. Still, I kept going back to Lance . . . there was just something about him.

Cam finally convinced me that Lester was a good boy who would adapt, Lance needed a good forever home, I needed something to fill the void in my life that Lucy had left, and he needed a sane wife. And so I sent an e-mail off to Annette Hall, inquiring about Lance.


The boys, watching the world go by . . .

So began two weeks of phone calls & e-mails. The more we learned about the little guy, the more he tugged at our hearts. Sandi told us that he had been in the house and had survived the fire that his owner died in. She also said that he was just recently neutered by ATRA, had a heart murmur and had broken his hip in the past. He was born with detached retinas in both eyes and was nearly blind. ATRA contacted his breeder, who said that if he took Lance back, he would have to put him to sleep, as he was unadoptable. ATRA would have none of that and took him under its wing.


Dad reassures Lester he still loves him . . .

Sandi was very attached to Lance. She recognized how special he was and wanted to make sure that our home was right for him. She advised us to put carpet runners on our hardwood floor and steps to the backyard so he wouldn't slip and fall. ATRA contacted Bill & Sandy Jackson who live nearby, and asked them if they would bring over their rescue Rachel, a beautiful Airedale/Retriever X to see how Lester would react around another dog in his territory.

When all the references were checked and the tests were passed, we finally drove to meet Sandi half-way in Erie, Pennsylvania on Easter weekend to bring home our beautiful new son whom we fell in love with immediately.

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