All posts by Steph MacNeil - Ontario

About Steph MacNeil - Ontario

I have been involved with AireCanada Airedale Rescue as a coordinator for the province of Ontario since 2003. I currently have two of my own Airedales, both females, Groovy 6 and Maggie 5. Along with my two furkids we often have foster ‘dales come and spend some time with us while they are waiting for their forever homes.

New! Event Listings for AireCanada

Toronto AireFest is soon! VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

We’re forming a new Committee to help run this wonderful event here in Toronto this summer. Volunteers can help with registration table, setting up the food/BBQ station, gathering prizes and setting up the silent auction and more–many hands would make light work and ensure a fantastic day.
If you are in the Toronto area and can help, please contact us with your availability and prefered volunteer role: newsletter@airecanada.com

Event tentatively set for May 2011. 

And for our west coast friends, be sure to visit these great events happening in BC!

Event: Surrey Museum Easter Fair – featuring animal rescue groups

Date: Saturday April 23, 2011, 1-4pm

Location: Surrey Museum, 17710 – 56A Avenue, Surrey (Cloverdale) 

This is a family-friendly event that also showcases animal rescue groups. We are thrilled to be providing information on our rescue work and a chance to learn all about Airedales. Come see us!

 Event: The Petnership Project- Holistic Wellness Pet Show

Date: Saturday April 30th & Sunday May 1st, 10am-5pm

Location: 4500 Arbutus St. (near 33rd) Hellenic Community Ctr.

Vancouver, BC

At this event we will be discussing what rescue is and the Airedale experience. Come visit to check out the items we’re selling to fundraise for for rescue, and enter our raffles happening throughout the weekend. 

5 Easy steps for grooming an Airedale Terrier

Most of us with pet Airedales (meaning we are not grooming a show dog) like to let our dogs get a little shaggy looking in the wintertime, so that they have more coat to keep them warm with during the winter months. Dale parents will know that weekly brushing helps keep the coat unmatted. Here are top grooming tips from Margaret Glass to keep your airedale’s perm looking perfect: 

1) For dogs with softer coats, to keep the legs looking nice and to help prevent bad mats, use a slicker brush each week – pulling the brush up and down the leg, repeating often – try to remove as much undercoat as possible.

When using a slicker, Mars rake, furminator or combs, always remember not to scrape the dog’s skin with the tool, which can hurt and irritate the dog’s skin.

I recommend brushing out the undercoat on a weekly basis. This helps keep the outer wirehair lying flatter, and the dog looking tidier.  

2) After removing what undercoat that you can, if you have a dog with a really excellent hard coat, it doesn’t hurt to fluff up the jacket backwards, so that the wirehairs are standing on end, then pluck the highest hairs. This will keep the jacket making new wirehair underneath, and when you come to strip the jacket in the springtime, there will be a new jacket underneath. Keep in mind you are only removing the very longest hairs; the dog will still have a long jacket.  You can also do this with the legs just lightly plucking the very longest hairs. 

3) Check the pads of the feet, and remove any fur balls between the pads. This should be done about twice a month. Keeping the hair trimmed around the pads helps prevent these fur balls starting. If there are fur balls, trim with curved scissors, or carefully use clippers to remove them. A comb helps to pull the fur ball out a bit if you need to scissor it all away. One wants to be very careful not to cut the pads. Grinding or cutting toenails at the same time helps to keep the nails short. 

Trim the hair around the edges of the feet helps prevent mats and makes grinding/cutting toenails easier and safer. 

4) I like to keep the hair fairly short behind the front elbows and under the armpits, as the fur tends to mat up there.  It is good to keep the tummy area, particularly for the boys, fairly short and free of mats. 

5) The muzzle is a place that quickly gets matted with the Airedales’ long beard hairs and their proclivity for sticking their noses into everything, so brushing it regularly is important. Trimming the hair around the dog’s lips regularly helps to prevent some of the worst matting. 

A note on Bathing:

Airedales should only be done when absolutely necessary, (some Terrier diehards never bath their dogs). If you do shampoo your dog make really sure that you rinse every vestige of soap out. I personally like to use a conditioner after the soap, such as a mixture of Keri Lotion and water. Some people use a light spray of mineral oil on the jacket. Always towel the jacket going from the head to the tail sort of like a back massage, and repeat often – it feels good for the dog and gets the coat lying flat and shiny. Then towel the furnishings every which way to get them all fluffy-looking. Carefully comb any mats out of the furnishings.  If you are dealing with removing burrs, twigs, etc., spraying a little moisturizer on the furnishings first helps with gently brushing/pulling the offending items out of the hair. 

In between shampoos, if the coat needs a little cleaning, spray a mixture of Listerine (or witch hazel) and water over the jacket and furnishings. Towel the jacket from head to tail, and then brush the furnishings. I have an all purpose skin and hair moisturizer which I like to spray on the dog just before I have finished brushing; it smells nice and it helps to give the jacket a little extra sheen without being oily at all. Toweling/brushing the jacket repeatedly makes it look nicer. 

Voila your dale will look lovely or handsome!!

Margaret Glass, AireCanada

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

Help Airedales in Oklahoma

AireCanada would like to reciprocate the support we received last year when animal lovers from around the world helped vote for us in the Holiday Shelter Challenge last year to win $1000 to help rehome rescued Airedales. We invite you to join AireCanada in supporting Oklahoma Airedale Rescue (http://www.okairedales.com/) – a needy organization that presently has a litter of ten puppies in its care as well as a pregnant female due to whelp shortly.  This rescue group is running in the current Shelter Challenge until late March – please take a moment to vote by clicking here:

  http://tinyurl.com/2b5na43 

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 (http://www.chillydogs.ca/index.php/product/index/30) 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 (http://www.muttluks.com/product_home.php?cat=2) 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

A Good Start ~ 2011

Thank you to everyone for their interest.  Both Max and Buddy have found their forever homes.

2011 has started with comfy beds and lots of love for two foster Airedales in Ottawa.

Update on Montreal SPCA Buddy 

We have found Buddy a foster home here in Ottawa.  On December 31 he was sprung from the shelter and was able to spend a wonderful New Years Eve with his Airedale experienced foster family who might even adopt him if he is a good fit.   I am anxiously awaiting news of their first few nights together and hopefully a few pictures.  This is exactly what we needed for Bud.  Shelters are not good environments for any dog but a dog aggressive terrier in lock up is a bad combination for finding out his true personality.   Thank you so much to his foster family for starting Bud’s year off on the right paw!

Update on Max in Ottawa

Handsome Max

Max did have a pending adoption but was going to be placed as a foster dog with his new family until he could be neutered.  He spent one night with the new family but their resident female welsh terrier took offence to Max and was not ready to welcome a new family member.  In that one 24 hour period I had the chance to have Max at my home and he met my two female Airedales.  He is a very kind and gentle dog who gets along with every dog he meets.  What about the Welsh you ask?  Well he got along just fine with her but she didn’t like him, however, he never retaliated or acted put off, he just went about his happy business of being an Airedale.  Max was placed in foster care on Christmas Eve.  His foster family will make sure will be neutered and ready to go to a new home very soon.  They are writing up a new bio for him and had exclaimed “Are you sure he is an Airedale?  He is so good and listens so well!!!”  Stay tuned for their post on Max.   Oh one other interesting thing about Max is his natural tail.  I love it.  Check it out in the picture above!

Max Meeting My Girls

Again, please do not ask to adopt Max if you cannot drive  to Ottawa.  We have had many requests for adoption from one coast to the other and all places sound like very ideal homes for a rescued Airedale, however, we do not fly dogs unless there are very extenuating circumstances.  Max is young, cute, cuddly gets along with all dogs he meets, would love a home with another dog.   Once he is neutered he will be ready to meet you!

Wishing all our 2 legged and 4 legged friends a wonderful and healthy 2011! 

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 (http://tinyurl.com/2ce2raoSign up here http://eepurl.com/bFTUb !