Senior Airedales

I got an 11 1/2 year old Airedale when his elderly owner had to move in with younger relatives who did not want a dog as well as the five cats she had. "TJ" was a little arthritic and certainly overweight, but otherwise healthy and a dream of a good dog. Who would adopt a dog of his age?? Then he was met by a couple who seven years ago had adopted two seven year old litter brothers (boys who until that time had never been out of their backyard pen), and though one was recently lost, the other, Hobbes, is still going strong at 14, so when this couple heard about TJ, they thought he sounded young! And so he is, living with happily with them, still three years younger than his new Airedale brother. It's all...relative.


My first ATRA foster (I adopted him) was Duke, aged 9. He always had the most mischievous smile on his face. I never could look in a drawer, open a door, a cupboard or the refrigerator without his head pushing and sniffing his way in first. He loved to steal tissues and when you were blowing your nose, you could count on him rushing from whatever room to your side, just in case. Duke struggled to get on his feet because of arthritis but once up, he would jog around the yard and give the squirrels whatfor. Our only struggle was over trimming his toenails. Finally, I decided the vet techs would be the best solution. He was a joy in my life and just writing this short note makes me smile to remember him. Duke was only with us for 2 years but will be remembered for always.

Hannah-Banana ChaCha Dancer came to our family one cold early spring day. She was in deplorable shape and could hardly stand. No one knew how old she might have been but we guessed at 14 or 15 yrs. She responded to love and warmth and good food like a champ. She started trotting around the house with the other Airedales like she knew her pack. She loved to be held and loved on and I gave her everything she wanted. Always before feeding time, she would try to jump up with happiness but could only "dance" a bit with her front legs. Unfortunately, she became blind and succumbed to a suspected brain tumor after 41 days. Way too soon for us. Hannah will always be my ChaCha Dancer.

Rita Ferrer

Breezie and Wiggles Ragan

I hear all the time. We don’t want an old Airedale -- they may die too soon. Well, people, get over it. Stop thinking about yourselves and think about an old body who only wants to be loved and some peace and quiet in a warm bed and warm food. There are no promises of a long life to even a younger dog. I have lost a 5 yr old that I got at 11 months from Rescue. Healthy, Active and all of a sudden very sick and died in 24 hrs. Heart was enlarged and a few other medical problems that were never enough to cause alarm, so I was told by vets.

My next was Brandy a 13 yr old who wanting nothing but love and a nice warm bed, a few car rides and walks around the yard. She asked for nothing more and was loved and pampered for 11 months when her kidneys gave out. Brandy had a relaxing 11 months here.. I missed her, but was immediately told about a 9 yr old tied to a shelter gate with a note: We don’t want her anymore. So Breezie came here. Now 10 going on 11. She is a joy. She plays happy dance, loves to ride and wants nothing more than a home and love. Yes, her knee gave out and she had a.c.l. surgery..She lay on her mat of 4 folded quilts and barked for her pillow to be fluffed, fresh water please, while you are in the kitchen a treat would be nice. If she could have gotten her paws on a bell, I would have been summoned for more pillow fluffing. She is doing fine.

So, after losing a Beagle of 13 years, I picked up a 10 yr old Airedale named Wiggles. It was to be a foster. That is not what was planned for Wiggles, Breezie and I. When you spend the first 3 years of your life in a wire metal grain bin, no shelter, no shots, no grooming and weighed 1/2 of what you should. Rescued by a shelter and sent to a family who then started having kids. They threw toys at her, would corner her and hit her and finally she growled at them.. So Wiggles was out of there. This old girl is amazing. She follows me all day, loves to ride, nice little walks and can sleep with her eyes open -- I am sure from watching for kids to jump on her. She has now been here 3 months and starting to play and no longer afraid to go out in the yard alone. Only barks when needing to go out or come back in. Her favorite thing is food, and second is clean quilts -- the more the better -- and she can stretch out and wiggle to make her body conform to the nest and give a big sigh and off to sleep the nite through. To look at these old girls, sleeping and happy, makes tears come to my eyes. They deserve so much now in their senior years. The joy they give everyone who comes and myself who cares for them would not be traded for a younger dog.

So to all who pass these older dogs up -- you are missing too much. Give up thinking about how badly you will feel when they pass. Of course you will feel lost, But get over it. Let’s not let them feel lost while they are still alive. Give them a warm bed, love, food and kindness that maybe is the last kind thing they know. In some cases maybe the first kindness they know.

November is Adopt a Senior dog month. Give a senior its last home.
We rescue them to save their lives
They rescue us and fill our hearts.
Zoeie, Brandy, Max, Breezie, & Wiggles

Peggy and Tori Rogers

Peggy's owner (in her 80's) was killed in an automobile accident. Luckily Peggy (then Peppy) was not in the car. Three weeks prior to the accident I had met the owner (Netta) at a dental office waiting room. I left her a rescue brochure after our chat. We had talked Airedale and I wanted her to have my # in case she wanted to continue to chat about Airedales. Netta's daughter, Stephanie, was finally found 3 days after her mother's death (she is a flight attendant). Of course Stephanie rushed out to her mother’s home and found Peppy and her cat friend surviving alone in the home. ON THE TABLE was my bright yellow rescue brochure. Stephanie took the brochure and later called me thinking we would not take in an almost 14 year old, and asked if there was anything we could do for Peppy. She didn’t want to put her down but couldn’t take her either. She was shocked when I said that we would be happy to help. My mom and I drove out to the kennel where Stephanie had taken Peppy and picked up this sad, frumpy girl with bedroom slipper feet. Peppy blossomed with us and, you know the rest of the story. She wasn’t exactly Peppy anymore so we renamed her "Peggy" :).

Stephanie and I both got goose bumps thinking about the timeliness of my chance encounter with Netta and the rescue brochure. To make it a little bit stranger, Stephanie said she was shocked her mother chose to talk with me that day in the dental office in that she had some paranoid tendencies and rarely talked with strangers.

On our daily walks, Peggy taught me to slow down and take time to see the beauty that life has to offer. Together we would stop and watch birds playing in a puddle. We would together catch the drift of wonderful aromas from a nearby flower garden. I would smile with her when she would meet a doggie friend and want to linger to enjoy the friendship. Taking Peggy in at the age of 14 for the last year and a half of her life was one of the best things I have ever done

Some things happen for a reason...


In my experience, Senior Dogs are a real blessing!

They have survived the test of time, usually carry some battle scars
(Like the rest of us who are approaching the "golden years")
And appreciate the little things that contribute to a "good life."

It does take a bit of time to realize how just how many "surprises"
(i.e. old tricks!)
A Senior brings along in his/her baggage,
But the alert owner of a new Senior'dale can set boundaries and limits early,
Thus ensuring a more graceful adjustment to a new environment.
That is what being "proactive" and "in charge" is all about,
At least when living with children and/or Airedales.

A Senior Dog probably had some sort of obedience training in his/her previous life,
And so we can work out more easily
What is necessary for living contentedly with each other–

"Breakfast before the crack of dawn, my dinner at 6, please,
And I promise to lie quietly nearby while you have your meals–usually, that is.
And yes, I do know that the crate awaits me if I can't be polite during your time at table!"

"I don't "sit" too well because of my arthritic joints,
but I usually go "down" when asked."

"You do not have to shout at me–I probably can't hear you anyway.
A sense of humor, a guiding hand on my collar
and firm direction is the best way to handle me
We are really on the same side here–
in the beginning I just need to figure out
How much I can get away with!"

Let the younger and more energetic souls among us take on the exciting challenges of the pups–
We who elect to live with Seniors are grateful
That the days of agile counter-surfing, chewing everything in sight, threatening the mail person
And even worse pranks are deeply buried in the past.

Senior Dogs do not have to conquer the world any longer–
Leave that to the youngsters.
Any attempts at reproducing exciting escapades of the past are usually less intense
Than they would have been in the glory days of youthful vigor and Airedalean creativity.
Senior Dogs appreciate regular meds and quiet walks around the neighborhood,
Meeting friends with happy woofs, smiles, and profuse tail wags.
Tossing a few tennis balls is appreciated, too!

Senior Dogs can still bark with enthusiasm when spotting a squirrel
Or meeting another dog,
But they will also lie contentedly (and snore) at our feet for long periods of time,
Because being near us is the most satisfying place in the world to be.

Senior Dogs, like their human counterparts,
Just need someone to love and care for them as they are right now–
Warts and kisses alike accepted.

And when our turn comes 'round and the "last day" arrives,
as it must for all of us,
Being in the embrace of the one who has loved us dearly,
And whose love was returned without measure, is the final gift.
It gives meaning to the phrase that "parting is such sweet sorrow."

Try it:
you'll find that as we grow (older) together
the rewards are rich and precious memories.


Janice Parkinson-Tucker
October 18, 2007

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Airedale Information

National Airedale Rescue, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and is the Official Treasury of the Airedale Terrier Club of America (ATCA) Rescue & Adoption Committee. Funds donated to National Airedale Rescue, Inc. are distributed on an as-needed basis to Airedale Rescue volunteers and groups who have agreed to abide by the Airedale Terrier Club of America Rescue & Adoption Committee policies and guidelines.