Category Archives: Life with Airedales

Skeena: a Cautionary Tale of Hardship and Luck

Airedale puppy Skeena was born in 2007. A year later, her owner developed an illness and subsequently lost his job. He could barely afford to feed himself. Providing his puppy with food became a nearly impossible task. Dependent on table scraps and dog food provided by his friends, Skeena survived but did not thrive. She became thin and her coat grew dry, her skin flaky and inflamed.  Desperate for cash, her owner decided to breed Skeena so he could sell the pups to earn some money. Fortunately, for Skeena’s sake, this plan did not come to fruition. Poor starved Skeena might have died giving birth to puppies; she certainly did not have the physical resources to feed them.

Enter a pensioner with little money herself – a friend of Skeena’s owner. Extremely concerned about Skeena’s condition, she managed to gather together a few dollars and offered to buy Skeena. The owner, luckily, agreed. This Good Samaritan took Skeena to the vet at her own cost and had her bathed and groomed as well. She planned to keep the dog but, in the end, was unable to do so. She offered Skeena to AireCanada.

Skeena turned up at my house to be fostered – an emaciated skin-and-bone skeleton covered in rough, wiry, brittle hair through which infected skin could be glimpsed. We promptly put Skeena on a diet rich in nutrients and protein. We urged her to play with our three Airedales to improve her stamina and develop muscle. She fell in love with our young male and the two bonded like littermates.

Throughout all her hardships, Skeena remained a bouncy, bubbly, happy little girl – one who was ball crazy in the extreme. Skeena chased a ball for as many hours a day as someone could be persuaded to throw it for her!  Fostering Skeena was guaranteed to result in a sore arm. Skeena was checked out thoroughly by our wonderful veterinarian, Dr. Pawel Cichon at Sunwood Veterinary Hospital. Once she was deemed strong enough, she was spayed. 

While Skeena’s medical bills cost AireCanada over $500, we were committed to helping her get ready for a better life. That life became a reality when a wonderful and Airedale-experienced couple adopted Skeena. They dote on her endlessly and care for her as if she were a very precious treasure. 

Despite a very rough start to her life, Skeena has found friends who genuinely care about her, who saved her from a painful death by starvation and now are ensuring she lives happily ever after. Truly, Skeena’s story is a cautionary tale of how life takes unexpected turns and knowing when to ask for help is so important to the whole household. When jobs are lost, the family pet can suffer equally along with other family members. Skeena was a victim of tough economic times and possibly one of the luckiest dogs we have ever fostered for AireCanada. 

Maureen Scott, AireCanada

Canadian Dales in winter – we’ll miss all that gear

The winter has been long in many parts of Canada – so you may have found that taking your Airedale for a long walk in deep wet snow without boots can lead to this:

With Spring around the corner, I have begun anticipating the warmer days of mud and puddles that will mean I can walk the Airedales without all the winter accoutrements. We live in Eastern Ontario and get our share of snow and cold days. Since walking the dogs isn’t an option but a necessity, finding ways of dealing with our Canadian winters makes these walks manageable. Sure you can just put your dale in the shower for a warm hose down but to create a truly snowball-free terrier; you’ll need some winter gear. Here are my top suggestions:

Coats: When the snow gets deep and or when it is close to -20 I often put coats on the dogs. The coats are occasionally for warmth but most times they wear them to limit the amount of snow coming back into my home. While blanket coats ( are easy to put on and take off, they do not keep the long furnishings dry. For wet or heavy snow I prefer coats with legs and then I pull the boots up to meet the coat. On a side note, I’ve also found that letting the fur coats grow creates a good insulating layer for those frigid days. I get the dogs groomed in early October and let the fur grow until March. They are wooly and look like fuzzy teddy bears but with weekly combing and brushing they are matt-free.

Boots: I have tried a few different types of boots and have found the Mutt Luks ( to be the best value for the money (I picked up a new pair -size large- for less than forty dollars at Petsmart). They have a long sock top that you can pull right up to cover lots of leg. The common complaint I hear about these boots is that they don’t stay on to which I offer this solution: hockey tape! Not the textured type you would put on a hockey stick but the clear equipment tape used to keep shin guards in place. This tape pulls on and off very easily without damaging the boots yet will not come off during a vigorous run in deep snow. I pull the boots on the dogs then put the stocking part up the legs and do two quick wraps around the ankle area (just above the Velcro) with the hockey tape. We haven’t lost a boot in 10 years!!

The groundhog said spring will be here next week. We still have our doggie coats and boots by the door just in case.

– Steph MacNeill

Introducing our rescue newsletter AireCanada Post!

AireCanada Airedale Rescue Network has some great news!  We now have a newsletter so we can share all our exciting Airedale adventures with you. Find out who has a new home, when the next Airedale event will take place or join us for our fun photo contests.   This month we are looking for mugs of our crazy Airekids that show off their Muzzle Madness.  You can see our first newsletter at this link ( up here !

Teddy Receives His Canine Good Neighbour Award!

 Puppy Teddy was surrendered to AireCanada Rescue last January. He was a silly youngster who enjoyed watching TV each evening with Treasurer Jim and who loved attending Doggy Daycare while staying with Webmaster Scott and his wife, Karen.

Teddy was a very lucky boy. The day he was advertised as being available for adoption, Jen and Ian, already owners of young Airedale Molly, happened to inquire about adopting an Airedale from rescue. We offered Teddy and the rest, as they say, is history.

Teddy fell in love with his new Airedale sister, learned to respect the family Border Collie and came quickly to adore all the family members. He was affectionate and minded his manners. Taken for training, he did very well. In fact, Teddy who is barely a year old, has earned his Canine Good Neighbour Badge from the Canadian Kennel Club!

AireCanada would like to congratulate Teddy and his owners for this achievement!

Teddy Bear, CGN

Airedale Pumpkin Army

On Halloween when the sky darkened, Scairey Pumpkins were seen across the world.  Here are some reported sightings….

Waiting for darkness

Carved by Galya Schwartz in Ontario, Canada.



Scaire-ing kids in Pittsburgh

Carved by Linda Brendlinger – Pittsburgh

And from across the pond....

Carved by Julia Geller – Ukraine

Happy Howl-o-ween!

Carved by Belinda Beokhoven with help from adt rescue boy Munro – Ontario, Canada

Huh? Who are YOU?






Duncan Pumpkindale



Carved by Judy Dwiggins and adt rescue boy Duncan – Oregon


Carved by Charlene Stahl


Carved by Steph MacNeill – Ontario Canada

Vairey Scairey

Carved by Michelle Hamilton – Kentucky

If you have any Halloween aire-pumpkins to add or you have pictures of your ‘dales dressed up to trick or treat please send them to me at and I will add them to the post.  Hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!


Have a Scairey Halloween

You too can ‘dale up your doorway with this Airedale pumpkin pattern! 

First I got this template from

I put a piece of white paper over top and traced the eyes, noes and tongue but added triangles for ears and a shaggy beard.   ***Note: do not make complete triangles for ears, leave the  corner closest to the head incomplete ***

Next I taped the new and improved dog to the pumpkin.  Then using a tooth pick I poked holes along all the edges.

Cut along toothpick holes to reveal your Scairy-dale Terror


  Happy Halloween Aaaarooooooo!

**** If you carve an ADT pumpkin, please email me a picture at .  For Halloween I will post a picture of our Airedale Pumpkin Army!!!  *****

A Rescue Success from Beginning to End

It was September in 2004 when I first heard about him.  Duke was in Calgary when I got the call that this oversized boy needed a last chance foster placement or he would be euthanized.  He had been with his second family who had adopted him through the SPCA.  They had no history other than knowing he was about 4 years old and then one day shortly after being adopted he had snapped at one of the kids.  The family felt they couldn’t keep him because of their children but felt it wasn’t Duke’s fault and he needed a last chance.  After having him assessed in Calgary, it was determined that this boy could be saved but he needed a special place where he would be trained and have lots of one on one time.  I jumped up and down and sent an email asking for him to be sent to me in Ottawa.

Sending an Airedale, let alone an oversized Airedale, on a plane is not something AireCanada ever does but this was a one shot deal.  This had to work or Duke was going to be put down.  Joanne Helm in Calgary took care of getting a crate and making flight arrangements while our treasurer Jim Scott tried to find the dollars to make this work.  One quick email out to all the Airedale lovers we knew and all the sudden funds for Duke were pouring in from across the globe.  We had enough money to fly this big guy and money to spare to deal with his sensitive medical needs.  Duke was hypothyroid and showed all signs of being a Plechner dog ( so we knew that he would use these funds quickly but that they would make a difference in making him adoptable.

Upon arriving in Ottawa  I was stunned to see this Airedale who was massive and looked like he was part hippo.  Little did I know that this boy was going to steal our hearts and teach me more than any other foster I have ever had.

This is Duke with Groovy.  Groovy is a standard Airedale female weighing 55lbs

After visiting with our vet and starting Duke on the proper thyroid medication, our next task was obedience classes because he was a puller and was not sure about other dogs.  He passed with flying colours and learned not to dive through my legs and toss me head over heels.  He was so tall and I am a mere 5′ 2″  so that when he went through my legs he picked me up off my feet and I would half stumble and half ride him to regain my footing!

At that time I had 3 of my own dogs, a 15 year old Airedale mix, a 12 year old senior rescue (Bowfsie who was sooooo grumpy) and a young 2 year old Airedale female.  The young one, Groovy LOVED Duke.  They played and cuddled and chased day and night.  Bowfsie and Duke hated each other and we quickly learned that if Duke didn’t like something he made a point of letting everyone know about it.  After a major conflict between Duke and Bowfsie, poor Duke was relegated to living in a muzzle when loose with all the other dogs. 

He had so much against him.  Who was going to adopt a big goofy boy with thyroid and hip issues who couldn’t be around children, probably could never live with another dog and who did what he wanted when he wanted.  Let me tell you, when a 120 dog decided to lay down in front of the fridge and not move, he doesn’t move!

 Duke had his own room with a crate.  He chose to sleep on the couch! 

Well after 6 months of re-training and medical issues being dealt with, I got an email from Barbara Curtiss of NEAR (New England Airedale Rescue) with the perfect family for Duke.  She was so right!!  Dawn and Richard from Vermont drove to Ottawa to meet Dukey.  It was love at first sight.  They sat down on my couch and Duke climbed right up and laid across Dawn’s lap.  He picked them.   In March 2005 Duke moved to his new home and finally got to be the dog he was meant to be.   Boy did he live the life, I just about packed my bags and joined him.

Duke’s cruisin’ car

 Duke’s work truck

 Duke’s Cows

Duke’s chair and favorite sleeping spot

What amazes me to this day is that Duke traveled from Calgary to Ottawa to Vermont but his story traveled the globe as Airedale friends helped make his journey possible.  But now the tale comes to a conclusion.

It is with great sadness that today I received a call letting me know that the King has gone to the rainbow bridge.  His family helped him cross when he was no longer able to live a pain free life due to his hips and mobility issues.  We speculate that Duke was about eleven and a half.  He lived the best Airedale life.  He worked on the farm, he slept in his chair, he cruised around town and three years ago he began a new adventure raising an Airedale sister, Ruby who was his very best friend.  And most importantly he knew the love of a family who cared for him deeply.

My heart goes out to Richard, Dawn and family who gave Dukey so much love and care over the past 6 years. I can only hope that the joy he brought you over
your time together will live in your hearts and minds forever. My heartfelt thanks also goes out to all the friends who helped Duke on this incredible journey.

Thank you for touching so many of our lives Dukey.  You will stay in our hearts  always.