"Hi! My name is Katy!
"I am a five-year-old Airedale and I am just beginning to learn what it is like to have a loving home. I used to live in a barn with three other Airedales where I was bred over and over to provide litters of puppies. I also cowered a lot and ran at the sight of any fast movements or when anyone tried to come near me.
"ATRA [Airedale Terrier Rescue & Adoption] found out about me, though, and came out to save both me and one of my Airedale buddies, Bear. I am surprised that they wanted us. When offered a dog biscuit, I ran to the other end of my chain with my tail between my legs. I also had a big open, bleeding sore on my ear and was very thin. I did not feel well and the man who was selling me told Rescue that half of my puppies from this past spring had died.
"Bear had a typical Airedale greeting with kisses and barks, but was also thin, had no hair on the top of his back, and was covered with three inches of matted hair everywhere else. I am sure glad I don't have to go back to that man and that barn!
"I was taken to a veterinarian to be checked over before being taken to my foster mom. There, they found out that I had ear mites, hook worms, and worst of all - heartworms. I was told that my heartworms could be treated, but I would have to remain quiet for several months. I didn't think this would be a problem, since I preferred a corner to huddle in anyway, but I was in for a shock. Living in a home was not the same as living in the barn.
"The first thing I had to learn was how to get along with my foster mom's Airedale, Dusty. Dusty is a very dominant female Airedale, and at the time, I preferred that she just leave me alone. She would try to steal my food and toys, and would chase me around the house. Then I had to learn to do my business outside. My foster mom put me on a schedule - I had water whenever I wanted, I got several milk bones in the morning, and had a bowl of dry dog food in the evening. I stayed in a crate between my outings. With regular trips outside, I learned the routine with only one mistake in the house. I also learned to run around in circles and sit by the front door when I wanted to go out.
"Within a few weeks, my foster mom decided that she could trust me to stay loose in the house for short periods of time. That is when I found out that I could curl up on the sofa or bed to sleep. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! After five weeks, I didn't have to stay in the crate any more.
"I have not chewed on anything in my foster mom's home, even though there are plenty of things to chew. My foster mom gave me some rawhide bones and they tasted great. I don't put my paws on the countertops or table and I don't beg for people food. I cried a few nights during the first week or two that I was there and sleeping in the crate. My foster mom took me out and slept with me on the sofa. This made me feel better, but I did not take advantage of her and cry every night.
"Thunderstorms don't seem to make me upset, but I prefer to be around my foster mom when they come instead of by myself.
"My foster mom has given me a bath and a haircut. She has also cut my toenails and I don't seen to mind. However, I do not like it when she tries to wash the crust off from around my eyes or to clean my ears. I wiggle and try to get away. If I feel any pain at all when I am touched, I just yelp, but I do not bite. It took two to three weeks of being at my foster mom's but I now wag my tail occasionally and will come up to her on my own and give a loving sniff or kiss.
"I love to be outside but my foster mom does not have a fenced yard. I am let out to do my business on a leash. One time I pushed my way through an open door and ran away from my foster home - forgetting that I had to remain quiet for my heartworm treatment. My foster mom had to come looking for me and found me in a neighbor's garage with a big Doberman. I hope I have a fenced yard to play in when I get my permanent home. I have no obedience training. My foster mom has taught me how to sit and give me pills and clean my eyes, but I am not supposed to be exercising, so I can't learn anything else yet.
"There are two methods to train a dog - be firm or be gentle and reassuring. I will need the gentle and reassuring method. If I hear firm words or loud voices, my tail still goes between my legs, my ears go back and I cower. I have responded well to me foster mom's words of praise and a gentle pat on the head when I do something right. I am quite attentive and a quick learner.
"Until I get to know you, I may revert to my shy self when I first come into your home. Please be patient and kind with me. After a few weeks, I am sure we will become fast friends."
Painting of Dusty ©1996 Lynn O'Shaughnessy. Photo taken in 1991.
Lynn writes: "Two different placements were tried for Katy, but it seems that she was depressed. She missed her foster family. After returning from her second placement, her foster parents, Bob & Lynn O'Shaughnessy, decided that Katy would have to look no more for a home. She is back where she belongs and doesn't stop wagging her tail to show how much she appreciates it!"
Lynn is now the editor of the ATRA newsletter, AIRE-MAIL, and has become a member of ATUR (Airedale Terrier Underground Railroad), for which she is ready to fly a SpareDale to its Forever Home. And here is Dusty, ready to help!.
Katy shown with the kind permission of Lynn & Bob O'Shaughnessy,
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.
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Updated 15 APRIL 2007