A new rescue is coming in...what do we do now?

Airedale Terriers arrive in our rescue program via many routes. Three normal sources would be: owner release, from a shelter (or other rescue group), or turned in by someone who found a dog that had been lost and the owner has not been found. With every method, there are procedures to follow and paperwork to complete.

Owner Release

During the telephone interview, when originally talking to the owner, complete the Telephone Interview with Dog Owner Form found on the Volunteer Information page.

When you actually pick up the rescue, complete theRescue Release Form, also found on the Volunteer Information page. You and the dog’s owner must complete Rescue Release Form at the time of accepting the dog into our rescue program. Fill the form out completely, including as much information as possible. When completed, the dog’s legal owner, who is releasing the dog to Airedale Rescue, MUST also sign this form. It is good to have two copies of the release form so you can leave one with the owner. Be sure you take the signed copy with you!

Collect from the owner any and all medical records for this dog. Be prepared to take the dog’s food, crate, bed, and any special toys, etc. that would be comforting to the dog. Ask if there are any medications or other supplies that should accompany the dog. Determine and record if the owner has notified the breeder that this dog is being released into rescue, and if so, what the breeder’s response was.

When an owner is ready to release a dog into rescue, make the pick up arrangement as quickly as possible so the owner doesn’t “dump” the dog elsewhere. Reassure the owner that we take special precautions on placing our rescues, using home visits to qualify the adopters, and provide life-long placement service for the dog. The owner must be discouraged from any indication to want to be part of the placement process. The owner is not able to have future contact with the adopter unless that new owner is agreeable to that contact.

Released from Shelter

Determine that the rescue is a purebred Airedale by doing a breed check. If you are not familiar with the various looks an Airedale can have in regard to size, coloration and coat texture, do some research and/or discuss this with another experienced Airedale person. Be sure you know how an un-groomed and scruffy-looking Airedale might appear. Photos of un-groomed, scruffy Airedales can be found on our website on the Is it an Airedale? page. Identify yourself to the shelter as an Airedale Rescue volunteer. If your local rescue group has packets to give to shelters, present that packet along with your card. You should carry proper ID showing your affiliation with your local rescue organization. If you do not have a local rescue group, contact Sally at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further assistance in obtaining that ID. Be prepared to complete the shelter’s release form and pay the required fee (which can be refunded to you.) It is very important for you to retain copies of all paperwork from the shelter. You should also receive documentation of all medical services performed by the shelter’s veterinarian, showing results of all tests done there.

If the shelter does not work with rescue groups, smile nicely and leave your card asking them to contact you if they change their current policy. Then contact the rescue coordinator in your area, or someone from National Airedale Rescue, for advice on what to do. BE SURE to do the breed check before you leave the shelter.

Lost Dog

When taking possession of a lost dog, use the Finder Release Form found on the Volunteer Information page. Complete this form with as much information as known. The name and contact information for the person who found the dog, where it was found, etc. should be noted on this form. Rescue will do its best to return a lost dog to its legal owner. Review and use the information found on the Stray Dog Policy page for suggestions on looking for the dog’s legal owner.

The first way we can help a lost dog is to try our best to find the legal owner. Check with your local animal control officer as to what steps you must take to fulfill the legal requirements for stray dogs in your area. It is our responsibility to follow the law in regard to stray dogs before we can take ownership of the stray. In the event the legal owner of this dog can not be located in the law-established period of time, the dog will then be taken into our rescue program, neutered or spayed if needed, and put up for adoption.

Basic supplies you should carry with you when you go to pick up a rescue:

  • A sturdy leash with a reliable snap on the end. * Not all snaps are equal, so be sure the one you use is heavy duty and will not release too easily.
  • An adjustable collar. * The martingale-type collar is excellent, but remember it must be properly sized the first time for each dog. I like to have a choke chain with me – which can secure the dog while I adjust the martingale properly. The use of two collars is preferred by many rescue volunteers and its use is described in the link below. *
  • An identification tag to be put on the dog’s collar
  • Your rescue identification, showing you are a legitimate volunteer.
  • All rescue forms you will need.
  • A dog crate, if it will fit into your vehicle. *
  • Equipment to use if you don’t have a crate in your vehicle. *
  • Dog treats.
  • Fresh water and bowl.
  • Plastic poop bags.
  • Cash, credit card or check for shelter dog fee (this is reimbursable).

* For more information on leads, collars, and transporting an Airedale safely, see Guidelines for Safely Transporting Rescue Airedales on our Volunteer Information page.

When taking in a new rescue, you should immediately verify if the dog’s breeder is known. Has the breeder been notified? It is a breeder’s responsibility to take back a dog of his or her own breeding, for the life of the dog. If the breeder is a member of the Airedale Terrier Club of America, all pertinent information shall be transmitted to the Chair of the Rescue Committee. The volunteer in custody of the dog may notify the breeder directly. For further information, go to our Rescue and Breeders Policy page.

Never refuse to accept a purebred Airedale Terrier into our rescue due to age or health problems. Airedale Rescue does not discriminate for age or health reasons. We are proud of that fact!

Now that you have the rescue properly secured in your vehicle, what next? Where will this new rescue go?

  • Home with you! If you can foster this dog, at least temporarily, that would be ideal. If you’ve not fostered before, there is plenty of information available to guide you along. Ask and we will provide! (We will also cover the subject of Foster Homes in our next issue of this newsletter.)
  • Another foster home that is available. The foster home is the ideal situation for a rescue. Naturally this new rescue is confused and anxious. Going into a home with experienced Airedale owners is the best experience for the dog. It is also the best way for us to learn more about this rescue, which allows us to make better decisions when it comes to placing the rescue in his or her forever home.
  • To a local boarding kennel. If there is no other choice, we must use a boarding kennel. Prior to selecting the kennel you want to use, be sure to do an inspection of that kennel. Visit the boarding kennel, and introduce yourself as a rescue volunteer. Ask if they give special reduced rates for rescue dogs. Do a good inspection of the premises. Is it clean? Are the kennel floors clean and dry, without standing water? Are the water and food dishes clean and fresh? WOULD YOU LEAVE YOUR DOG THERE?

After the dog has been delivered to the foster home along with the accompanying paperwork, another part of the rescue process begins.

  • Is the dog dirty? A good bath could be the first order of business.
  • The foster person will make an appointment with a vet to have the dog checked out medically.
  • If spaying or neutering is needed, that will be scheduled.
  • Every rescue must have our microchip – that should be done immediately or at the first visit to the vet for the health check. Information on microchips can be found at our Home Again Microchips page.
  • If the foster person can do the grooming, that is great. If not, an appointment with a groomer will be scheduled.
  • An evaluation of this new rescue begins. Temperament is determined. House manners and obedience training are evaluated and worked on if necessary.

If not already done, be sure to turn over all paperwork for this new rescue to your area coordinator, or another person designated to receive it. If the rescue is put into a boarding kennel, the person who accepts the paperwork will designate who is to follow through on the care of this rescue. Submit the paperwork for the microchip at once.

What we have just presented to you in this issue is an outline for taking in a rescue. There is more detailed information available for you on the NAR website.

If you are part of a regional rescue group, you may have your group’s forms to use.
Check with your local coordinator for advise on which forms to use.

The Web address for the National Airedale Rescue (NAR) website is https://www.airedalerescue.net/.
Here you will find many articles and forms for the rescue volunteer on the Volunteer Information page under "About Rescue".

We are so lucky that we have available to us the collective experience of many long-term Airedale Rescue volunteers, who have taken the time to share their experience with us.

If you’ve stayed with me and accessed the links I’ve given you in this newsletter, I believe you’re beginning to realize the huge amount of vital information on every aspect of rescue that is available on the NAR website. I can still remember 18 years ago when I first started doing rescue, being nervous those first few times, wondering if I was doing everything right. How helpful it would have been then if I’d had all this information available to me! However, in those early years, we were accumulating the knowledge that we can now share with you as you’re beginning the process.

My goal is to help some of our new rescue volunteers learn the process by taking the mystery out of just how it’s done – to show that YOU can do it too! Study all you can from the information on the NAR website and sooner than you can imagine, you’ll be one of our experienced volunteers.

When situations arise that haven’t been covered in this brief article (and they will!) contact your area coordinator, or a nearby experienced rescue volunteer for advise. You are also always welcome to contact me, Sally, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Our next newsletter will deal with an extremely important part of rescue: FOSTER HOMES. We are always in need more foster homes. If anyone has any ideas that would be helpful to include in this upcoming newsletter, please do send those ideas to me. Have you thought about fostering, but been afraid to try? If so, please email to me a list of those fears that have held you back, and I’ll address them in our next issue.

It is through our collective experience that we can do the best job. I look forward to hearing from you. Email Sally at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ART Newsletter Copyright 2009 by Sally Schnellmann and National Airedale Rescue. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden without the publisher's written permission.

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Airedale Information

Each year several hundred Airedales find their way into rescue and begin new lives.  Because of the generous support of donors like you, National Airedale Rescue, Inc. is able to assist with the financial needs of Airedale rescue organizations throughout the United States and Canada each year so these great dogs continue to find loving homes.  We appreciate your donations!

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