Officers and Committees
I've lived with and loved dogs all my life. We always had dogs while I was growing up and my parents and brothers were very tolerant of my pet loving ways. I remember, as a child, sleeping outside in a tent with my brand new puppy because I didn't want him to be lonesome!
When I bought my first house, I adopted a Scottish Terrier. Douglas was my constant companion. For several years I did my own version of Scottie Rescue without even realizing that rescue groups were popping up all over the country. I was the classic foster flunky, keeping most of the Scotties I rescued!
My first Airedale was the picture of perfection. Heather had it all---looks, charm, personality, and the loveliest temperament! I adopted her from a breeder who graciously let me hang around his kennel for several months playing with and training dogs. Heather and I developed such a strong bond that she would sit in a corner of her kennel and watch for me to drive up. The day she was given to me was one of the best days of my life. She and I earned obedience titles, marched in parades, did programs for school children, and visited retirement homes. There was nothing Heather couldn't do. She lived to be 15.
Heather is the reason I got involved with Airedale Rescue. I figured that there had to be other people in the world like me, who got great joy from their dogs. Why not help homeless Airedales find their special person through the rescue network?
Since then, I've been blessed to share my home with Airedale Rescues Harry, Ben, Hamish, Angel, and Bridget. Currently, I live with Airedales Ben and Bridget, Stuey the Scottie, and Gabby the Yorkie/Doxie mix. It is very fulfilling for me to play a part in helping homeless Airedales find their way to a happy and healthy life as part of a family.
Since then I have shown Airedales and Border Terriers (my “old lady” breed) and have put championship titles on both breeds. I have had 3 litters of Airedales and 2 of Borders, mostly to have another dog to show. I still have 2 generations of ‘dales living with me, having lost my first ‘dale Juliet. 4 years ago at the age of 16.
I have been involved in Rescue almost as long as I have had Airedales, all within the state of Texas. I currently am the Treasurer for the Texas Airedale Rescue Team, which I have been a part of for the past 9 or 10 years. I’ve done squares for the Quilting Bee and was one of the early members of the Lone Star Airedale Terrier Club. My husband of 32 years and I have a boarding kennel in Georgetown, TX just north of Austin, where I am able to keep the rescues who don’t have a foster home.
We currently live with Airedales Minuet 12, her brother Nova 12, her daughter Charm 8, and Borders JJ 14, and Diva 2, plus 1 Schnauzer mix named Gidget.
I hope to be a good Chair for Rescue. If anyone has any ideas, problems or issues, please feel free to contact me. I am looking forward to working with all of you.
I have always had dogs in my life, all "makes and models." For our wedding present, my parents gave us a Dandie Dinmont! That was the start of my terrier addiction. The first dog I purchased on my own was a Kerry Blue. My husband's purchase was a St. Bernard. We wanted to show and eventually breed, but we were young and naive! And when we got up to four dogs in our little house and learned how much we did not know, we realized we couldn't keep buying "show quality" dogs that we would of course keep after they proved to have little hope for winning ribbons. Our handling days were over. (A good mentor at that point could have saved the day and changed our history).
As a social worker, I worked in a state adoption unit, so learned to do home studies, work with homeless children, and choose and supervise adoption placements. How handy that professional training and experience later proved when I started doing basically the same thing for dogs! Except it's harder with dogs, because you can't explain to them why you have to uproot them and that what you are doing is better for them in the long run.
For twenty years, we lived and taught overseas (Peace Corps, then International Schools Services), where we could not have a dog at all. It gave us time to really study breeds to decide what we would eventually live with once we returned home. We went to dog shows all around the world. And we were always drawn to Airedales. So the week we finally came back home, we found Airedale Rescue in Connecticut, who was Phyllis Beecroft, and went through the adoption process. And we adopted Wellington, who was about 8 years old. I offered to help Phyllis if there was ever anything I could do, and she proceeded to be a great teacher. She invited me to go along with her for a surrender, for a home visit, and involved me in fostering. I learned the ropes from her...and then she moved away, and I "inherited" Connecticut's rescue program. And then I inherited New England's rescue program. And then, I followed Lynne Jensen as National Chair, for three years.
I have been responsible for 400 placements in New England in these past 15 years or so, fostered a hundred of these myself, adopted nine "keepers", and have made so many wonderful friends and had a lot of fun. I am retired but work harder than ever. The pay isn't very good, but the joy is profound when a sad dog becomes a beloved family member.
I serve on the Board of Directors for the private shelter in our county, The Little Guild, in Cornwall, CT, where among other tasks, I helped set up a program of evaluation of dogs and potential adopters.
I am most fortunate to have a husband, Denis, who loves the dogs equally, and though I get the "credit" for doing rescue, he jumps in and does his share to help with all aspects of the "job." Many late meals, many hours on the road, many sleepless hours when a new dog barks all night. But he's the softee who wants to keep them all, and I'm the practical one who knows that's not good for us or the dogs.
We currently have five dogs, an Airedale, a Wire, and three Welsh Terriers. The reason for the little guys is that the Airedale, Bean, has an inferiority complex, so it builds his self-esteem to be the only big dog among the midgets.
I was primarily a pet owner until 1990 when living in Florida at which time I met Phyllis Madaus while searching for an Airedale puppy. Directed to Nancy Anderson of Warwick Kennel, I bought puppy Airedale Maggie, not realizing how my life was going to change from that day on. To this day I credit Airedale Maggie (pictured here) with being the stimulus that started Airedale rescue in Florida and thereby saved hundreds of fellow Airedale lives.
In October, 1990 I attended my first of many to come Montgomery weekends. In January, 1991, encouraged by Phyllis Madaus, I founded the Sunshine Airedalers of Florida as a means to meet other Florida Airedalers and organize Airedale gatherings. By the end of that year, we had begun rescuing Airedales and declared ourselves an Airedale rescue club.
Over the years that followed our Airedale club grew steadily as did our rescue efforts. The club was “my baby” and I served in every office, did every job, and wrote the newsletters. There wasn’t a part of rescue that I didn’t perform and when we bought a property with some acreage in 1998 I was able to name our little ranch Airedale Acres and do fostering in earnest, having as many as 5 or 6 foster Airedales in residence at a time. We also formed the WAG program, which is a senior Airedale program where we provide financial support to help find good homes for our harder to place senior Airedales. Airedale Acres also became an Airedale Senior Retirement Home, as we kept those rescues who were too old or too ill to be adopted. They comfortably lived out their lives with us.
Airedale meetings were held at Airedale Acres where we would see as many as 60+ Airedalers and 30+ Airedales come to spend the day in the country and watch the Airedales play in a huge fenced in doggie play area. I have glorious memories of those days.
I was deeply privileged to have fostered hundreds of Airedale rescues over the years, giving me the unique opportunity of truly learning about Airedale Terriers. Their behaviors and habits. Which training methods really worked. Working with so many rescues I naturally worked with their varied health problems, giving me a canine medical education. Since the dogs all lived in our home, I learned volumes about working with packs of Airedales. By this time our “little” club had grown to a membership of over 300, statewide. I was a very happy “dog lady”, as I was fondly referred to.
All good things must change at times, and in 2005, due to my husband’s illness, we made a family decision to move to Colorado where we could live together and my son would be there to help me as my husband’s disease progressed. No longer able to do the fostering I used to do, I stay very active in other rescue duties. I have served as a Director for ATRA, currently serve as a rescue volunteer for ATRA in Colorado doing transports, home visits, etc. I also proudly serve as Vice President for our National Airedale Rescue Board. In that capacity I’ve begun the ART (Airedale Rescue Training) program and write monthly newsletter articles on subjects that are designed to help new rescue volunteers as they learn to save and serve our precious Airedale rescues. It’s truly my pleasure to share my years of experience with new volunteers.
Sabu’s “stall” was the first one on the right in the kennel room. I really had no idea how privileged I was to be tending this dog (I called him Sah-be-doo-be!). Every morning about five he woke the whole place up with his howling. Out on the road he was often winning Best in Show. I didn’t even know what a dog show was.
Also residing there at the time was retired top-winning bitch Ch. Westhay Fiona of Harham, who was waiting to be bred to Sabu before going home. Trixie, as she was called at the kennel, loved to eat but was always on a diet (according to her). To help satisfy her appetite, she was giving her dinner in the big washtub in which the food (Ajax kibble and cooked tripe) was mixed. It was a delight to watch her eat... not much food, but lots of licking!
The Airedale who made me fall in love forever with the breed, though, was Sabu’s son, Bengal Bladud of Harham who came over (from England) the following year. He could be a bit of a grump and Mrs. Gately, I remember, didn’t like him at all. He and I, though, were best friends. When he finished his championship and went home to Harold Florsheim’s kennel in Illinois, I could hardly bear it.
In 1962 I bought my first Airedale from Adele Abe at Birchrun Kennels. I had met Adele [and Barbara Strebeigh] while working for the Gatelys. Our friendship has endured over the years and because of it I was able to glean much from her and the boundless knowledge of Barbara as well as many other Airedale breeders and handlers in Adele’s world. Two things I learned from Barbara still stand out in my mind: Airedale should always be capitalized because the breed was named after a place... and when an Airedale is properly groomed you can’t tell he’s been groomed at all... he just looks like he looks like that naturally.
In 1964 I got “Lena” (Ch. Bengal Leprechaun X Ch. Benjamin’s Little Devil) from Edna Dobbins, for whom I later went to work helping manage a miniature schnauzer “home kennel” and learning to clip (a no-no in Mr. Gately’s world!) terrier pets so they looked like “show dogs.” I married Bill in ‘65 and in February of 1967, we whelped our first litter—by Ch. Bengal Sabu!
Over the next twenty-eight years, sixteen champions came from our fifteen litters under the kennel name “Schaire.” In 1995 we decided to stop breeding and devote all of our “dog” energies to Airedale Rescue.
In 1975 a friend who did all-breed rescue got us involved with an eight-week old Airedale puppy who had already had four homes. We placed “Winston” with one of my grooming customers who owned a miniature schnauzer. Since then, hundreds of rescue Airedales have passed through our home. We do stipulate that our foster dogs must like cats, since we have five of them. Every foster experience is a little different. Some dogs melt our hearts and a few we have had a little trouble getting to know how to reach. We continue to learn from each one.
In 1990, spurred by a notation in the minutes of an ATCA meeting which said that there was no need for the club to become involved with Rescue, I conferred with known Airedale rescuers and penned a letter to then-president Trevor Evans. The club agreed to set up an Adoption Committee if I would chair it, which I did for the next five years. In these last fourteen years this committee has come a long way , but the world has changed a lot faster than some of us old fogies can keep up with.
My beloved Bill died suddenly of a heart attack in April of 2005. Since then, the immediate needs of my own dogs (not to mention cats, geese and swans) - and the rescue dogs that have never ceased to knock on my door - have kept me sane and made life well worth living. The last of “Schaire Airedales” died early this year, so the Lonely Cottage is now officially filled with only Rescued Airedales (along with one crippled hound mix and an Airedale/Bullmastiff mix who happens to be black)... and me.