Lizzie: A Story of International Cooperation

Playtime for Tango & Lizzie

Lizzie was a two-year-old rescued Airedale from Minnesota  who was adopted by a family in Thunder Bay, ON, February 20th, 2010. This adoption occurred because Stephanie Callahan from ATRA,  in the words of the adopter, “jumped through hoops to arrange our adoption of Lizzie and was one of the drivers on the longer leg of her journey from Minneapolis to Thunder Bay.” Also facilitating Lizzie’s immigration to Canada and working with Stephanie were AireCanada volunteers, Barbara Durance from Toronto, and Carol Robson of Winnipeg.  The result is both a very happy dog and a delighted family in Canada.

Here is a commentary from Lizzie’s new “mom” extolling the success of this adoption:

I have an appointment to register Lizzie in St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Classes the beginning of March.  We’re looking forward to it and have been reinforcing some obedience commands – come (85-95% depending…after all, she is an Airedale…), front, sit, stay, down, easy, gentle and finish are ones she’s getting pretty good at.  I’m sure she will like this as well as she enjoys being around people and is good with seniors.

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear Lizzie is a reincarnation of both Jay and Carly [Airedales previously owned by this family] personality wise.

Like Jay, she’s a very large girl and now, all muscle.  She is diplomatic in nature and gets along well with every dog she’s met so far.  I think perhaps she might have a sixth sense when it comes to reading other dogs.  When she encounters a dog that tends to be aggressive in nature,  for example, if hackles are up,  and she can approach, she will come very close to the dog and let out a deep low growl – almost inaudible.  I’m amazed at how quickly the hackles go down and the other dog and she take off playing!  If the dog is more aggressive, she does piggy runs around it until it lets its guard down and starts to play.  Lizzie has a face that looks like she is constantly smiling, causing people to warm up to her immediately.

Like Carly, she’s eager to please and has incredible smarts.  She loves to accompany me on errands, and rides well in the van.  She loves to visit the local pet store that allows dogs to shop, too.  She also has begun to develop the confidence and pride of an Airedale and is peeing higher than the males on fences and trees, which she does easily because she’s so large. She waits until all the other dogs have marked then marks over top of everyone else.  I laugh when I see this and so do other people at the dog park that know what she’s up to.  I just smile, thinking of Carly who would almost fall over at times attempting to pee higher than the other dogs, and proudly say “that’s my girl”!

I’m so grateful we have areas close to the city where we can go for off lead runs. She loves to find deer and rabbit track.  I allow her to follow the trail for a few yards into the bush because she comes when called. She is gentle with children and other animals and loves to please — everything anyone could ask for in a farm dog.  She is also protective but not overly so.  If a stranger approaches or someone comes to the door, she stays very close to me.  When I introduce her to them, she warms up and greets them.  She barks rarely,  only doing so to alert or warn.  A few quick loud barks and that’s it.  What a blessing that is!

The only thing I’m not sure I’m too pleased with is she loves her Papa most of all.  Oh well, most daughters do and besides, the other two were more “Mommy’s girls”, as is Tango, so I guess I’ll just have to live with it.  Papa, for his part, is as pleased as punch and reminds me constantly who is the apple of her eye, by referring to her as ‘my girl’.  He also calls her, endearingly, “Elizabeth”.

The transition is amazing.  She has changed from a frightened, timid, young girl who, for the most part, kept her tail buried tightly between her legs for the first six months, into a beautiful, friendly, confident and proud Airedale.

It doesn’t seem that long ago but February 20th will be a year since we brought her home.  After watching our other girls and Jay’s puppies grow, we believe Lizzie was younger than her estimated date of birth.  She came with no papers so I believe her determined December 1st birth date may have been a bit later. We decided to make it December 25 because she was our gift.

We are so grateful for everyone’s help.  Lizzie was destined to be part our family and even though her journey may have gotten a bit off-track at first, she’s finally made it home.

Carol Robson

Shawndee Airedales/AireCanada Coordinator, Manitoba


Tango & Lizzie: Nap buddies



One thought on “Lizzie: A Story of International Cooperation

  1. It is really nice that you thank everyone who was involved in the process Maureen.

    The cutest nap buddies I have ever seen. Not sure if my girls would do that with a cat. Maybe one day.

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