Hugo came to Squirrel View in October of 2003, after I received an email from Barbara Mann, ATRA coordinator for Ohio. She had found out about an Airedale in the animal shelter in Wooster, Ohio, who had been rounded-up near Rittman, Ohio.
I drove down to Wooster that evening and picked him up... he was a big, friendly boy who had been recently groomed by someone, perhaps the original owners. One problem... he had a severe problem with his left rear leg... he held it off the ground and would not walk on it or put any weight on it! I figured he probably had a run-in with a vehicle while on the lam. How wrong I would be...
We took him in for his check-up, and the doctor X-rayed his leg, expecting to find damage from a collision. Nope... bone cancer! The bone ends were all marbled, above and below the left knee joint. (To quote Barbara, "S**T!"... the only swear word I've known her to utter...) The 3 doctors at the clinic figured he had six months with this condition, echoed by Dr. Marcia Carruthers Rukavina when she reviewed the radiographs with the specialists at her clinic in November. Judging from his chompers, we guesstimate Hugo to be 3 or 4 years old.
Hugo knows... he has run of the house, yet he prefers to keep quiet in his "great dane" cage, or lay on his leopard spot bed while the others rough-house. He hops about on three legs and his hobby is rummaging around the trash can to see what yummies are to be had. It's his only vice!
Hugo the gentle giant, is about 25 to 26 inches, depending on whether it's a good day or a bad one. He weighs about 60-65 pounds and you would think that he is malnourished and skinny as a rail, however he is not... His weight is mostly due to the muscle atrophy in his left hip and left leg. There is little meat left from the hip down, due to inactivity of the leg. I figure that normally, he'd be closer to 80 pounds. The lighter weight helps him get about on the three good wheels!
He gets along well with the other 'dales, even the Ho... and just kinda looks at the two c*ts Scooter and Groucho, with bemusement. His favorite activity is to completely empty the toybox in the family room... he will take every toy and chew bone out, shake it gently, then set it aside and go back for another.
Hugo is a yowdeller... not a howler... not a yodeler... but a combination of the two styles. Occasionally, he will let loose with this mournful song, invariably in the wee hours of the morning. The first time he did it, we thought he got his bad leg caught in the cage bars where he sleeps at night. Nope... just vocalizing! His scales are something to hear...
He'll hang in his 'hood here at Squirrel View, until his time comes. Guess we're on borrowed time, already...
'Dale & Kimbee
This photo is from last fall when he felt better. He liked retrieving his red canvas dummy!
Photo is a past CoverDale: In exchange for a $25 donation to National Airedale Rescue, Inc., your favorite picture of a rehomed Airedale will be featured on the front page of the ATCA Rescue & Adoption Committee website for one week.