Rescue Copper Wins CGN Certificate!


Rescueboy Copper, an Airedale who spent much of his early life outdoors by himself, passed the CKC Canine Good Neighbour test recently. His current owner is very happy with his results.

In the test, he had to accept a friendly stranger, politely accept petting, walk politely, walking through a crowd, sit/down on command and stay in place, come when called (long line), accept a strange dog, accept a strange object (trolly) being pushed around and passed him, supervised isolation for 3 min., and politely walk through a door. Copper had to pass all these activities to earn the CGN certificate

AirCanada would like to congratulate both Copper and his owner, Teri, for a terrific achievement. This shows what good care and excellent training can accomplish. Our thanks to Copper’s present owner not only for rescuing and choosing to provide a home for Copper but also  for her ability to see the intelligence and potential in this Airedale. We salute you both!

Artist Sandra Merwin donates to AireCanada!

Well-known Montana artist, Sandra Merwin, is currently working on lovely little drawings based on photos from those provided by her Facebook friends. Each day she draws a different name and sketches a dog owned by that individual. These unique little drawings are for sale with proceeds all this week being donated to AireCanada!

Some of the drawings she has done during past weeks may be seen here:

We thank Sandra very sincerely for her generosity! AireCanada appreciates this unexpected support enormously!

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from Ben, Lizi, Jasmine, Tasha, Henry and everyone at AireCanada

Golden Boy Urgently Seeks Home !


Please think seriously about our young Henry, who, through no fault of his own, isonce again looking for a home. His previous placement proved not to be a good match and he so much wants another chance for a forever home of his own.

Henry is a sweetheart. He is extremely affectionate and wants nothing more than to please his owner and be loved in return. He is at his happiest lying at his human’s feet or sitting next to that person resting his head on the individual’s lap.

This Terrier mix is a very clever fellow who learns quickly through the use of reward-based training. He needs stability and consistency in his life plus mental challenges to get those Terrier brains working.
We are stunned at how similar Henry’s size and behavior is to that of a purebred Airedale. He enjoys a lively round of “bitey-face” and offers enthusiastic play-bows, clearly hoping for a spirited game of “chase”.  If you like to laugh, Henry will keep you in stitches. At the same time, Henry also needs some definitive, positive leadership to discourage pulling on leash, especially in the presence of a rabbit or squirrel, and help making good decisions.

Henry is a really handsome animal with caramel-colored fur and a “lion’s” mane running down his back. He is neutered and up to date on vaccinations.

This boy loves to play with other dogs but his play can be boisterous at times, as is common to young Terriers, and he has a strong prey drive. We believe that he will do best in a home with another dog his size. We do not recommend that Henry be placed in a household with other small animals such as cats or rodents.Off leash, Henry meets and greets dogs he may encounter with friendliness. He has been running very successfully with small groups of dogs under controlled circumstances. Being young, his play at times becomes over-enthusiastic and he needs to be reminded to tone things down. He will “listen” to other dogs who give him this message as well. When meeting strange dogs on leash (or joggers or cyclists), Henry reacts well to the “sit” request and can be settled nicely through the use of the “Open Bar Closed Bar” method.Henry likes children of all ages but we would prefer, because he is easily excited, to place him in a family where any children would be 10 years old or more.Henry is not fond of being left alone. He is not destructive but complains enthusiastically until his family arrives back home. The complaints are significantly reduced when he is left with another dog during the family’s absences. He can be crated with ease when necessary.



This dog will prove to be a wonderful companion for a family where everyone is able to demonstrate firm and positive leadership and who will agree to continue his training on a daily basis.





Henry is our very special “golden boy” and deserves a very special loving home where he can live happily ever after!





Gentle Ben is Looking for a Home!

Gentle Ben appears to have found his new home and will be adopted shortly! Congratulations to this nice boy and to his new family!

Looking for a new buddy? Here’s Gentle Ben who’s eager to have a new home and family!

Hi there! My name is BEN!

Ben is a beautiful, very gentle boy, seven years old, who came to AireCanada when his owner wanted to travel. We nicknamed him the “gentle giant” because he is a big boy.  Ben has lots of Airedale attitude, a dark saddle, and Airedale size but his lovely coat is very soft and woolly. We believe he is that rarity we occasionally see — a sheep-coated Airedale!

Truly I am a very gentle fellow!

Poor Ben was grossly overweight and had an open sore on his nether regions as well as two large lumps on his chest and side when he was taken into AireCanada’s care.  As a result, he has been checked and treated by a vet.  The open sore on his back was medicated and is healing. He is eating a home cooked diet at his foster home. As a result of the diet, he has lost approximately 12 pounds. The lumps have reduced in size considerably and the consensus is that they are fatty cysts.


See! I can SIT!

Ben knows  basic obedience commands, was apparently never let on the furniture and doesn’t beg for food.  He is very timid, was possibly mistreated and seems wary of men  but still maintains a gentleness that is amazing and wonderful.

He is great with children and lived with a cat.  He finds them interesting but would probably chase if the cat ran.

Gentle Ben will only be adopted to a home in Nova Scotia. For further information, please contact Maureen Tate

Please, could I come home with you?


Sverige Danmark Norge Suomi/Finland USA United Kingdom Island Slovensko Holland Germany
Spain Poland France Czech Republic Taiwan Italia China


Some dogs need space

If you see a dog with a yellow ribbon on the leash this is a dog who needs some space. Please do not approach this dog or its people with your dog. They are indicating that their dog cannot be near other dogs. How close is too close? Only the dog or his people know, so maintain distance or give them time to move out of your way.

There are many reasons why a dog may need space:

Maybe he has health issues or is in training.
She may be a rescue dog being rehabilitated. The world can be a very scary place for these dogs.
He may have had a bad experience with another dog or just not like the kind of friendly dogs who always want to say “Hi!”

In short, a yellow marker on a dog means it needs a little space.



Thank you! Those of us who own these
dogs appreciate your help and respect.
print a copy (PDF)

Translation: Amy Samida, Michigan, US

What is Yellow Dog?

Yellow Dog is a campaign that appears in several countries. A campaign for the dogs who need more space.
By a yellow marker on the leash, I can show that my dog needs more space. Maybe temporarily, or for a longer period.

A dog in pain may be scared to get hurt. Or a dog that is adopted may feel that the environment is daunting and requires careful training for a long period.

Or why not on a bitch in heat, so male dog owners can see without having to get close. Even children can learn that yellow means that you can not go to close. Help us to keep the campaign further, it is operated on a voluntary basis and we depend on you visitors to be successful. Thanks in advance!


Do You have questions about our campaign?
Do You want to contribute? Or other things about the campaign in Your mind?

Please contact us (form) »

England/United Kingdom
International Page

Do you know about FB pages? Please tell us or ask us för help if you wan’t to start one!



Help us translate?

We appreciate if you would help us to translate.
You must have good knowledge of the language as it may be difficult for us to check if it is correct.

Please contact us before you start, maybe a translation in Your suggested language has already started.



Toffee’s Legacy: Saying Good-bye through Hospice Care

By Scott Boyd


Toffee was born 28 October 1998, and adopted with her “sister” Taylor by Barbara and Scott on 05 January 2008 from AireCanada Airedale Rescue Network. Toffee underwent Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy on 20 May 2011, with Dr. Todd Scott of the Crestwood Veterinary Centre in Edmonton. In early January 2012, she was diagnosed with canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Although the signs appeared gradually and had been somewhat managed through medication, an overwhelming majority of her symptoms worsened to the point where she formally entered hospice care passing away on 11 February, 2012.

Why this feature for AireCanada?
If you are reading this, whether or not you have companion animals, are a volunteer, or veterinary professional, we likely share the values of compassion, respect and empathy. We may also share the need for education to enhance quality of life: ours and our companion Airedales.

When Barbara, Dr. Scott and I first discussed regenerative stem cell therapy for Toffee, we read whatever we could find to inform and educate ourselves. There wasn’t much, so it didn’t take long, but, as a service to AireCanada and others, we offered Toffee’s Adventure: Healing with regenerative stem cell therapy as a means to inform and educate others about this new and potentially beneficial treatment.

In adopting three older Airedales we knew that there were some inescapable truths we would face. We also thought we had educated ourselves to provide appropriate care. In many ways we were well prepared, but in one, preparing for their end of life, we found ourselves largely ignorant. What we hope to provide in this report is information and resources for that end point in the continuum of life that we discovered through our hospice care of Toffee. Fortunately there is much more information available on canine elder-care and hospice than on regenerative stem cell therapy, but we’ll present those resources, along with some anecdotes, in one feature for your easier access.

Everyone who worked on this report would like to thank to Maureen Scott, AireCanada Airedale Rescue Network, for giving us the opportunity to present this information for those taking care of elderly Airedales. Thanks too, to Joni Bulat and Joe Miller, Molly, Denise Bohaychuk, and Taylor and Ruby for selflessly providing hospice and respite care for Toffee, Barbara and me, as well as editorial support. Taylor gives thanks to Marie-Andree Lachapelle and Gary Poliquin, foster family, for grief healing support.

Why hospice care for Toffee?

Who hasn’t been touched by loved ones in human elder-care or hospice? In Canada, especially, elder-care is well established within the health care construct. Even though relatively new to Canada, hospice care, is becoming more widely accepted by families experiencing end-of-life care for their loved ones. However, end-of-life care, and death in general, remain very difficult subjects to discuss for North Americans; perhaps even more so when it comes to animal companions.

Barbara and I, although completely unprepared, knew one thing, “good death” (euthanasia) as a first option for any of our ‘grrrls’ was not an option for us. Our reasons were personal but, perhaps much like us, you’ll know intuitively when you face the question, and you will.
We had been recently touched by human hospice. What we didn’t know by choosing animal hospice care was just how little information, resources and support exists in Canada. Regardless, we would not have chosen any other path with Toffee, nor will we likely with Taylor or Ruby.

Hospice care is a very specific type of end-of-life care that supports the patient and family and always entails palliative care to allow terminally ill patients to live out their lives as fully and comfortably as possible. Hospice follows a number of basic principles that distinguish it from other care given to animals at the end of life:

Hospice recognizes that death is a natural part of the cycle of life, not a failed medical event, and does not have to be feared or avoided; the focus is “intensive caring instead of intensive care,” without prolonging or hastening death.

Source: When is End-of-life Care for Animals Truly Hospice?, Ella E. Bittel (Holistic Veterinarian) and James C. Armer, DVM, ( in The Latham Letter, Fall 2011).

Caring for Aging Airedales

OMG…read, ask questions, and speak to those with elderly dogs because there is so much more information available about caring for puppies and adults than there ever will be for older dogs, which seems to parallel our society’s perhaps similar lack of interest in older humans. Interestingly, if you delve into the “hospice” websites in this feature you’ll see resources closely linked between human hospice and animal hospice.

As with humans, defining “old” and the aging process for dogs is filled with mysteries, misconceptions and myths. Some myths are so prevalent they are taken for “common sense” and, for the elderly Airedale, could actually speed the aging, or an associated disease process. For example, there is no one definition for “old dog” (it is breed specific). There is also no legal meaning in Canada and America for “senior” dog food. The label can mean whatever the manufacturer wants it to mean. Some “senior” dog foods actually have higher sodium content than adult dog foods so, for the older Airedale with heart disease, eating this food would make it harder for her to cope with the disease.

Do you know where to find statements of Nutritional Adequacy on commercial dog foods let alone what the statements mean? To find out, visit the Competition Bureau of Canada at

It goes without saying that there are many things to consider with caring for an aging dog and it cannot be stressed enough that preparation and prevention are key to a proactive approach. Keeping one’s dog healthy for life involves some specific work on our part, and a comprehensive wellness plan developed in collaboration with our consulting veterinary professionals.

Recently published books for your reference:

Good Old Dog, Expert Advice for Keeping Your Aging Dog Happy, Healthy and Comfortable, Faculty of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Edited by Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, with Lawrence Linder, MA, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010).
Caring for your Aging Dog: A Quality-of-Life Guide for Your Dog’s Senior Years, Janice Borzendowski, (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2007).
Hound Health Handbook, Betsy Brevitz, DVM, (Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 2004).
Senior Dogs for Dummies, Susan McCullough (Wiley Publishing, Inc.2004).
Complete Care for Your Aging Dog, Amy D. Shojai, (New American Library, 2003).

Web sites for your “favourites”:

Aging, and Geriatric Supports and Resources for Lay-person and Veterinary Professional:

  • · Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association (CVMA)  and from the CVMA website

  • · American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

  • · American Veterinary Medicine Association

  • · American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians

  • · Old Dog Paws

A Final Gift.

Barbara and I had experienced pet loss before, but I know we were not fully aware of, or prepared for, the challenges and rewards of hospice care.  We were fortunate to have a supportive veterinarian in Dr. Scott, even though he had not experienced hospice care himself.  He provided the objectivity we needed to help us assess and decide on the subjective and personal quality-of-life issues that would lead to end-of-life decisions we could live with.

Recruiting Toffee’s Hospice Team.

Recruiting Dr. Scott was only the first step in forming Toffee’s Hospice Team. Had we had more time we would have secured the services of a house-call-making (mobile) Veterinarian or Animal Health Technician.  Why a mobile veterinary professional?  For one, the patient’s home is the hospice. So, while she may still need the specialized medical care provided in a clinic, she may not be able to be safely (or conveniently during clinic hours) transported.  That said, we anticipate a little resistance from those in veterinary medicine to make house-calls, as the current norm seems to be, “bring the animal to us”, during office hours or to an after-hours emergency clinic.  Unlike in America, Canada does not have an association or registry for vets and technicians who make house calls. It appears it is the responsibility of the human care-giver to find and/or entice a veterinary professional to go against the current norm, but they are available  One has to ask around. Again planning and preparation are paramount.

Another option to consider for the delivery of specific medical services in the hospice, if a mobile veterinary professional is not available, is to have the vet and/or tech instruct the human care-giver.  Anyone with a diabetic dog will have likely learned how to administer insulin, so to be taught how to assess and chart vital signs, to monitor pain and provide relief, to monitor eating and drinking, to monitor bladder and bowel function, and to know the signs of impending death can all be learned by the committed care-giver.

In our case, Dr. Scott was prepared to train us and/or provide house-call support.  To his credit, and our surprise, he admitted his inexperience with hospice care and his willingness to assist Toffee and us as best he could.  We concluded a planning meeting with him by confirming the best means of correspondence given his work and personal schedules and Toffee’s anticipated urgent needs.

Even if I wasn’t the lone care-giver and Barbara wasn’t working in Regina during hospice, we would have recruited others to Toffee’s Hospice Team.  She loved attention, like most Airedales, so to have “visits” from her friends and family for intensive caring we knew would be important to her during her hospice.  These “visits” also included giving Taylor and Ruby some special attention, such as going for a walk, grooming, reading to them and making special meals.  For primary care-givers, having respite is crucial to maintaining balance, focus and calm.

For Toffee’s Hospice Team I recruited family members who I considered secure in providing intensive caring for Toffee, were secure in being alone with Toffee given her condition, and were able to “visit” regularly in order to provide consistency for Toffee and myself.  As you might expect these requirements narrow the field considerably, even if one has a large pool to draw from.  I didn’t receive a “yes” from every person I asked, and I didn’t expect to.  I knew the demands and commitment required and I explained them to each person beforehand.  Some who were unable to join the Hospice Team, joined a Support Team and brought prepared meals, which I was grateful. There was one day that I just ate oranges, chiefly because they were easy to prepare and could be enjoyed at Toffee’s bedside.

If one has the luxury of time as a result of their planning ahead, there are online courses available for hospice care-givers (Spirits in Transition, Nikki Hospice Foundation, and International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care).  Through this training an orientation for your dog’s hospice team could be prepared and delivered.  Even if your Team is knowledgeable about hospice, I would recommend an orientation for them in order that they and your dog become comfortable with each other and the surroundings.

Preparing Toffee’s Hospice.

Each hospice setting will be unique.  Given Toffee’s condition we had to remove any bump, slip and trip hazards, block stairs, and create circular spaces out of square rooms.  We set up her “safe place”, which included favourite beds, blankets, toys and scents.  It wasn’t immediately obvious to me, until I did some online research, just how important familiar scents are to keeping an animal in hospice calm and peaceful.  One article even suggested using female pheromones on bedding to remind the patient of “mother” and “safe”.  I was never able to locate a source for such pheromones, so I used Rescue Remedy and ensured Toffee had all of her favourites around her.  I also had beds set up for Taylor and Ruby adjacent to Toffee’s should they choose to lay down beside her.

In Toffee’s “safe place” I set up a station for “charting”, storing her medications, and a laptop computer for online searches and corresponding with Toffee’s Team. I also discretely kept my bedding there as I would often nap beside Toffee, which was comforting in one obvious regard, but not so in another.

During my online search for information I read that some animals in hospice develop new anxieties, or that existing ones are exacerbated.  Toffee did show some separation anxiety previously, but I did not expect this anxiety to be exacerbated by her seeing my eyes close when I slept so close to her. I wanted to tattoo pupils on my eyelids so we could both get some rest.  I finally trained myself to sleep with my hand, or one of her toys, over my eyes as a solution.

I also read that blankets and toys covering your dog at this stage can feel like dead weights, cause over-heating and thus may be very uncomfortable. So I would make a tent for Toffee using her toys and blanket.  She appeared quite comfortable and by checking with my hand on her body, not too hot or too cold.

Toffee initially took her meals with the other grrrls, but when she got to the stage of only taking food by hand, I had to create a separate feeding area.  When she was no longer able to move unassisted , but was still hungry and thirsty, I had to corral Taylor and Ruby to keep them from joining us.  I knew they wanted to help Toffee, but eating her food and drinking her water would have been a problem.  Having the otherwise active and able-bodied grrrls did present a challenge sometimes, but the challenge was far outweighed by their support and companionship.

Oh how I wish I would have thought of this sooner for Toffee…grippy socks.  The floors in our house include a combination of hardwood, linoleum and tile. Even for young Airedale feet this can pose a problem. For older, unsteady legs the slippery flooring is a real concern.  I had put down area rugs in Toffee’s “safe place”, but much of the lino and hardwood was exposed and, unfortunately, clean-up from her indoor bathroom activities was taking precedence over mobility.

But one day Joni suggested I get pairs of children’s socks with grips on the soles…grippy socks!  Toffee loved them, though I don’t think she really cared for the high-rise style.  She was no longer slipping and was able to move with confidence on her own. We did have to monitor her for over-heating and fatigue, as we know dogs regulate their body heat through their mouths and feet.  Thank you Joni, and thank you grippy socks!

Because we live in an urban area and the Grrrls were known in the ‘hood, I circulated a notice to neighbours of Toffee’s Hospice, which included signs of her condition, i.e., reversed sleep-wake cycle and night-time walks, changes in traffic patterns to our home, people other than me walking Taylor and/or Ruby, and a copy of a  Special-Needs or Hospice Certificate* completed by Dr. Scott and indicating that Toffee was in Hospice under his care.

One neighbor even came by to thank me, wish us well, and share his story of losing his dog.  I was grateful for his response. Prior to circulating the notice another neighbor passed an unsolicited comment when he saw Toffee and I out for a walk one afternoon (she walked slowly and frequently stumbled, but was walking nonetheless I thought). Another neighbor took it upon themselves to file a noise complaint (OMG…two terriers in a new home situation with new people walking them).  Words to the wise, don’t expect that long-standing neighbours will necessarily be understanding of your situation.

To alert folks not aware of Toffee’s Hospice, i.e., Canada Post, unexpected guests, etc. I posted, in addition to the original Hospice Certificate, notices on front and back doors indicating: home serving as hospice, doorbells disconnected, please knock, and calm and quiet guests welcome.

Toffee’s Legacy.

Saturday, the day of Toffee’s passing, was as traumatic as it was sudden. We were still forming her Team and had nothing prepared for her body or memorial, which only added to our grief.  Toffee’s Legacy is, in one part, a step forward in our healing, and in another, helping inform fellow care-givers.

Hospice may or may not be for you and your companion.  It is heart- and gut-wrenching, requires planning and preparation, and time and resources.  BUT it does provide an intimacy and an opportunity for sharing and expressing that human-animal bond one would never have any other time.

Websites for your review:

Supports, Resources, Training, and Guidelines for Lay-person and Veterinary Professional:

  • · Spirits in Transition (* available here for download)

  • · The Nikki Hospice Foundation for Pets

  • · International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care

  • · BrightHaven Healing Arts Centre for Animals

  • · Angel’s Gate Hospice for Animals

  • · American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA)

  • · American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians

  • · The Latham Foundation for the Promotion of Humane Education

  • · Special Needs Pets


Grief Healing Discussion and Support Groups:

  • · Hospice of the Valley Grief Healing Discussion Group

  • · Special Needs Pets

  • · Pet Loss Canada

  • · Pet Loss Resources: Canada

  • · American Humane Association Pet Loss Program


Recently published books for your reference library:

  • · The Dog on the Bed A Canine Alphabet, , Richard Teleky, (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2011).
  • · Pet Parents:A Journey Through Unconditional Love and Grief, Coleen Ellis, ( 2011).
  • · The Legacy of Beezer and Boome: Lessons on Living and Dying from My Canine Brothers, David Koktavy, (B Brothers Press, 2010).
  • · The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein, (Harper Perennial, 2008).


In Memory of Toffee