Tag Archives: Life with Airedales

Remembering Lucy

Lucy 2

[Lucy was a rescued Airedale with a number of challenging behaviors that AireCanada placed some years ago with Michele Bond. Michele recently wrote this touching essay about Lucy. We wish that all those Airedales who are adopted through rescue could  be so lucky as to have an owner with the sense — and sensitivity — of Michele Bond. AireCanada thanks her and her family very, very  much for their loving care of Lucy.]

Lucy passed away on Monday.

I have been so privileged to have been a part of her life. I know I have said it many times but Lucy taught me so much. No, the first year wasn’t easy. I was devastated when people were trying to convince me she was too difficult and that I should give her up. I am so glad I didn’t. She and I both had things to learn. She needed to trust me and I needed to accept her limitations and know that she was never going to be totally secure around other dogs.

She was the softest, kindest dog . She only had that one problem….but don’t we all! She became so well trained and was always just my side kick. I had to know where she was at all times. She had to always be in my view. I had to be fully aware of our surroundings and plan our moves. Even in the house with people around I had to make sure doors weren’t opened….or doors were closed. Thus she became my shadow….attentive to what I wanted from her. She actually never walked out a door or gate without looking at me for permission. This all sounds difficult and time consuming but it became second nature to us both. She achieved instant recall so if she was in the yard and spotted a rabbit to chase, I could call and she would come to my side. She knew her muzzle was a good thing, brought fun times and was always accepting of putting it on.

I am so proud of her.

I am still in disbelief and shock that she is gone. There had been little things since after Christmas. Maybe it all started with the teeth grinding and chattering. We had two teeth pulled that may have been an issue but turned out were not. The grinding just mysteriously ended. I always thought it was environmental as we were living in a situation where many neighbours, including myself, were suffering from headaches, coughs etc. In January, she seemed to be not eating and was lethargic so we put her on a two week program of antibiotics. That seemed to do the trick and she was back to her goofy Airedale self.

We went away for two weeks and when we got home on Monday, she was happy and bouncy, but earlier that day she had fallen over. After that she didn’t want to walk far, but other signs were all good….eating…..drinking…..no temperature.…pink gums and capillary refill time was great….bowels good. She still wanted to play….jump on the bed to sleep.

Lucy 1

Sunday night — her last night — she still had her dinner and her plate-licker specials. She slept in my room as always but didn’t get on the bed. She got up about three times during the night to change positions but stayed in the room. In the morning, I let her out and she did her business but then became disoriented so I helped her into the house and made a vet appointment.

That was when I realized she was not going to make it. She went to her favorite place in the kitchen where she would sit and watch the cooking preparations in hope something would fall her way (and, of course, it always did). I lay down beside her for a little, and talked to her. Just as we were preparing to take her to the hospital, she left us. I don’t know why I was disturbing her to take her to the hospital. I knew she was dying and, actually, by that time, even though she had vital signs, she really wasn’t there.

Among many other things, Lucy taught me that there are many ways to own a dog. She taught me not to believe everything you read or are told by trainers, to trust your own instincts, to do the things that work for you and your dog.

I learned how important it was to work with the dog YOU have.

Dogs do not always need other dogs for companionship. Dogs don’t need to walk in different places for variety; yes, it would be nice, but sometimes it’s not possible. We walked every day, one direction or the other, and she was just as excited and enthusiastic as the day before. I never became the calm owner when other dogs would try to approach. There were too many altercations when I didn’t know better that made me permanently nervous but I can’t believe Lucy didn’t understand that of me. I am convinced she knew how much I loved her….fought for her….protected her…and that is the important thing.

Thank you for Lucy. Sending her to me turned out the way it should. I am so very sad right now but I know having her in my life was a good thing.

Buddy & Oakley: Another AireCanada Success Story!

 Buddy & Oakley were adopted about two years apart by a wonderful family who live in BC’s Cariboo region. Very Airedale experienced, they welcomed the quirky Oakley first to their home and, this past year, added Buddy as well. These dogs have both become 4-H projects for the teenagers in the household who are working successfully to teach obedience to their companions. Continue reading Buddy & Oakley: Another AireCanada Success Story!

Saving One Dog at a Time . . .

Once upon a time, there was an elderly Airedale named Murphy the Wonder Dog. Without Rescue, Murphy would not have survived past 11 years of age. Thanks to Rescue, he lived until he was nearly 15!

When Murphy was ten, his circumstances changed abruptly and not for the better. After years of living in comfort in a house, he found himself tethered in the yard while another dog occupied his home.

Picture the loss of freedom, suddenly being tied out on a short rope in the brutal Yukon weather and pulling until your throat hurt. Think about an old, old dog shivering endlessly in the winter ice and searching vainly for shelter from the hot summer sun . . . . Imagine having only a bowl of food, a dish of water and the hard ground or a snow drift for a bed and comfort.

Murphy stopped eating. Clearly, he hoped he might die and he nearly did until an AireCanada Airedale rescue worker undertook to save him . . . .

And then, once safe in Rescue’s care, no one wanted such an old, thin dog, so thin one could see his heart beat. His legs shook when he walked. He was nearly blind. “Why would we adopt this dog,” people asked, “when we can have a much younger animal?”

So he came to Jim and I to join Angie Airedale and our toy Poodle.

Murphy was one of the very best dogs we have ever had. He was gentle and quiet, loving and well-mannered, a character in his own right and, often, an inadvertently very funny boy. He ate for us and gained weight; we treated his ailments and he grew strong. His head came up and his tail stood straight as a ramrod. He was an Airedale again — one of the cherished ones, one of the lucky ones . . . .

And he was our boy for nearly three years . . . . We wouldn’t have traded those three years for anything . . . .

Airedale Rescue saves the old ones like Murphy the Wonder Dog (and middle aged ones and youngsters, too) and finds them new homes but not without cost. Please help us save more dogs like Murphy — one dog at a time!

Rescue Now Works as Pet Therapy Dog


Chelsea began her “job” as a Pet Therapy Dog at Bethesda Senior’s Home in Steinbach, Manitoba in October 2009. After only 6 months of getting to know Chelsea…when she rescued our family, she displayed ideal characteristics of a “therapy dog”. She is gentle, patient, polite, and very intuitive. I introduced her to Pam, the activities director at the senior’s home and Pam was so impressed with Chelsea’s gentle disposition and good manners she was hired! And so our journey began…weekly visits to cheer and heal the elderly. Once a week I drive Chelsea to her “job”. As she enters the building, her tail begins to wag. We spend an hour peeking into Senior’s rooms waiting for an invite from the “regulars” who need healing therapy from Chelsea. Sometimes it’s just a pat on the head or even a gentle hug. I am always amazed how alzheimer’s patients suddenly recall the name of their family pet of 30 years ago, or the very sick reach out a crippled hand to rub her ear. Sometimes Chelsea’s job is as simple as just sitting quietly next to a patients bed for a few minutes. At only 5 years old, Chelsea has many years ahead to bring “paw-sitive” pet therapy healing to many local seniors.

Chelsea lives in Ste. Genevieve, Manitoba on a 10 acre property with her 3 year old wire fox terrier brother, Cosmo and 12 year old airedale sister, Mookie, also “rescues”.

Her hobbies include long walks with her “people”, playing with Cosmo and occasionally barking at the 2 resident cats.

[Chelsea’s owner is Michele Krowchuk.]



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