Airedale Rescue and Adoption


Thank you for your interest in our rescue dogs.  We think they are very special and hope you will, too. Because many people are not familiar with "rescue," we would like to explain briefly what we do. Simply put, we find homes for Airedales who no longer have one. (Note: This is not quite the same thing as finding Airedales for people who want one.) Dogs need new homes for many reasons: an owner dies; a dog gets picked up by a shelter as a stray; a family moves and is unwilling to take the dog along; people get divorced (or married);  an owner's job begins to require a lot of travel; people have a baby and decide they no longer have time for the dog;  someone chooses a breed of dog which is not suitable to his own temperament or life-style.

We learn about Airedales in need from a variety of sources. We are notified by shelters, groomers, vets, breeders, or we hear via "the grapevine."

Rarely do we have puppies. (Puppies were made cute for a reason - to make you forget the mess and destruction they create.) Our dogs can be any age, from active adolescents to sweet geriatrics. The resilience of almost all of our dogs to adapt to a new family usually comes as a delightful surprise to people who think you can only "bond" with a puppy.

We seem to get more males than females. If you have any biases about owning a female versus a male, please talk to one of our people about what kind of pet a male Airedale makes.  A lot of us are really partial to the boys. The girls  are the ones most often intolerant of other dogs and have to be placed as "only" dogs!

One of the nicest advantages of adopting a rescue dog is that they are almost always already housebroken.

What to Expect From Us

All  of our adoption dogs have been spayed or neutered. Our dogs are not released with registration papers. Before you adopt them, they will have received rabies and DHLP-P inoculations.  They will have been tested for heartworm and started on heartworm preventative, and they will have had a fecal exam to detect and be treated for any internal parasites. Treatment will have begun or been completed for any known medical problems, such as an ear infection.

Because of the expense of inoculations, veterinary care, and spaying/neutering, as well as boarding fees for some dogs, we do request what we feel is a very reasonable  adoption fee of between $100 and $300, depending upon the age of the dog.

When delivered, your adoption Airedale will have just been correctly groomed (clipped and bathed) so you will have a dog who feels good about himself and is pleasant to have in the house with you-and  you will know how he/she is supposed  to look. Perhaps most importantly:Except in cases where the rescue dog is intolerant of other dogs, our adoption dog will have lived in one of our foster homes for a period of several days to a few weeks while we attempt to learn who he "is," what he knows and doesn't know and what he likes and dislikes.  We feel that this is critical in placing him in a new home. Please be patient with our many questions and concerns.  Please know that they are meant to benefit both you and your adoption dog.  

Obviously, we love Airedales and are dedicated to their well-being. Since we are "Airedale people," we can't imagine life without an Airedale.  But we also realize that Airedales are not for everyone. Often people who think they want an Airedale really don't.  That is why we want to be as honest as possible with you and hope that you will be honest with us.  Especially if you have never owned an Airedale before, please hear us out with an open mind.  If an Airedale isn't the kind of dog who will fit into your life, neither you nor the dog will be happy.   When we place a dog in a home, we want it to be for the rest of his/her life. And we want that dog to be absolutely adored! So please, be honest and be realistic.  No doubt there is a dog out there perfect for you - but maybe not an Airedale.

What We Expect From You

If you have never owned an Airedale, please pay special attention because what we expect is what we believe to be important for a safe, healthy and loving home for an Airedale.

We require a fenced-in yard for play and for bathroom duties-not to live in!  (This is not to say that your entire property must be fenced-just a portion of the yard accessible from the back door.) We know that Airedales are quite adventuresome and find it almost impossible to stay at home when there is a whole world out there to explore. An Airedale needs space to stretch his legs and poke around without a person attached to him. A fenced yard means freedom  to run and jump and be goofy.   And many of our dogs come to us as strays; if they had had a securely  fenced yard, we probably never would have met them.

We do not allow our dogs to be chained outside. We are also skeptical about invisible fencing for Airedales because of their tendency to be territorial and potentially aggressive to other dogs. However, we recognize that invisible fencing may be appropriate for some dogs and it's something to discuss with our rescue workers.

While we are adamant about fences, there are rare circumstances, due to a special owner or special dog, when we might reconsider our position. Dogs without fences would always  have to be walked on a leash.

Families with children (0-16 years old) must  have a fenced-in yard. No exceptions.

If your living arrangements allow, we recommend in/out dog doors which enable your dog to have free access to your house and yard while you are at home.  This makes life so much more enjoyable for both dog and owner - and makes housebreaking an almost non-existent issue.  Please think about it - if you try it, you'll never live life any other way!

Health and Identification
We naturally expect you to provide all future inoculations for your dog and to maintain routine and necessary veterinary treatment.  We expect you to keep dog licenses current and to obey laws relating to the control and ownership of a dog.  We expect you to keep identification of your ownership as well as the license and rabies tag on the dog at all times.  We expect you to care for your adoption dog as you would a member of your family.

Your Airedale will come to you complete with batteries, but some assembly is usually required!  Love, patience, love, understanding, love, fairness, love,  tolerance, love, thoughtfulness and love are the main ingredients for the "glue" that will make your adopted Airedale yours.  No two families live exactly alike. Please keep in mind that a few sacrifices on your part may make all the difference in the world.

For example, if your kitchen trash container has "always" been kept in the corner of your kitchen and your new dog repeatedly gets into it, move the rash! You  will adjust!  In all fairness, it is far easier for you to learn the new location of the trash bin than for you to change the urges and ingrained habits of a dog who cannot resist the delight of searching through its contents.

An adopted Airedale is (usually) full grown. Certainly don't expect him not to steal food off the counter or table. Train yourself to put the stuff out of reach. There are ways to non-violently  teach a dog not to steal, but it takes time and patience.

When a dog demonstrates that he cannot behave if no one is home, put him in a large crate in your bedroom, the kitchen or the den (not the laundry room, garage or cellar)  with a blanket and a chew toy- and water if you're going to be away more than three hours. Leave the radio or television on (no rock music, please). Go about your business with complete confidence that your dog is resting peacefully and you will all  be happy upon your return. If you have preconceived ideas about crates being "cruel," get over them!  Generally dogs love a safe, cozy den of their own.

For whatever problem may arise, there is usually a practical answer. If you cannot think of one, call us.   By now, we have heard of almost any quirky behavior that would come up.  There is no sense in getting all upset over things that are so easily prevented.

Is an Airedale Right for You?

Airedales are smart and very curious.  If it bothers you to be outwitted every now and then, you might not be enchanted with them.  Because they are smart, they can also be quite stubborn - so if you want a dog you can control completely, you won't like an Airedale.  If you want a dog who lies quietly by your side and never questions your judgment, you should consider another breed.  Airedales are very devoted companions, but they fully expect to be an equal partner in your life - and they have opinions about how you are running things.  Airedales seem to have a sense of humor about themselves - and you had better have one too.  Airedales do not respond well to being excluded from family life. You cannot expect an Airedale to be happy if he is confined to the backyard or to a room or two in the house.

Who's the Boss?
While Airedales are smart, they are not always obedient.  They usually have much better things to do than come when called! (Which is why we have solid rules about fences and leashes.) Airedales usually feel that when they have done something once, they've shown you how smart they are - and drills on any exercise are met with less than an enthusiastic response.  

Airedales do not respond well at all to a heavy hand in training.  Training efforts are most successful if they are based on praise rather than punishment.  Airedales want to work with you, not for you, and your training efforts need to take that into account.

Common Objections
Many (non-Airedale) people object to an Airedale's drippy beard after a drink of  water. And Airedales are terriers and so are very often avid diggers...not so much out as down -to "build" a comfortable "nest." Logically, some of that dirt is going to end up on your floors. When considering an Airedale as a pet and companion, you need to think about these things.

The very qualities that make Airedales "the only breed" for some of us, make them most undesirable to others. They are very smart and often extremely stubborn.  Possessing a sense of humor as well as a real thought process, Airedales are even capable of pulling practical jokes. Few people appreciate being the object of gleeful deception, especially by their dog, but that appreciation is one of the basic necessities of owning an Airedale. "Ya gotta laugh!"

Many people are drawn to Airedales because of their appearance.  Well-groomed, they truly are stunning. Other people are attracted to Airedales because they "don't shed."  They don't shed much, provided they get proper grooming...including daily/weekly combing and regular clipping or stripping- preferably every 6 -10 weeks. Show dogs' coats are hand-stripped (The old coat is pulled out and a new coat grows in.), but most pet Airedales' coats are clipped.  Depending on where you live, clipping will cost $4O-$6O.  All-breed grooming shops tend to do a lousy job with an Airedale, and a badly groomed Airedale is NOT pretty.  Of course, you can learn to do this yourself. Most dogs learn to enjoy the attention once they get used to the process - and you will enjoy the results.  Local Airedale clubs may sponsor grooming clinics that help you learn to groom your dog.  Since it's very difficult to find a groomer who clips Airedales properly, we do encourage you to learn, and we are very willing and eager to teach you the right way, if you live close enough for that to be possible!

The Airedale has a reputation for courage and bravery. He has participated in police work, has assisted the military as a messenger and has served as a search and rescue dog. Although he is "King of the Terriers," your Airedale would much rather be a couch potato and your best pal.

You should be aware that some Airedales can be aggressive toward other dogs, while others live very happily in multi-dog families.  Either can be true of both males and females, which is why our application asks you to list all of your current animals, including "frequent visitors," what they are (dog, cat), their ages and whether or not they are neutered.  All of these factors need to be considered to place the right dog in your home.

Some people decide that they want an Airedale because they have allergies and have heard that Airedales are a breed for dog-allergic people.  While this can be true for some people, there are others who are quite allergic to the dander of some Airedales.  If someone in your family is allergic to dogs and you are considering an Airedale for this reason, please let us know.


Because we live with these adoption dogs, we get to know them in a home environment. We ask you to listen carefully to our comments and recommendations.  We know the individual dogs and we've lived with a lot of Airedales.  We've also learned that sometimes people think they want one thing when they really would be happier with something a bit different.  So please do listen to us when we tell you that we think a certain one of our dogs would be a happier match with you, your family and your lifestyle than another dog might be.

If we do not have a rescue dog suitable for your family when you first contact us, please be patient. Because ours is a well-established and very  active rescue group, we have a steady stream of dogs coming through our network. We will tell you if your situation is rare, making your chances unlikely.

And please be patient with our "zeal."  Since we live with most of these dogs, they become one of our own, and we worry when we send them off to a new life.  If we seem strict about our rules and fanatic about our dogs' well-being, please know that it is only because we have come to love them and wish the best for them.  We have long ago had to cope with the reality that, as individuals, we simply cannot keep all the wonderful Airedales who need homes.  We need you and the dogs need you - so we ask you to be understanding of our concern for them.  We put a lot of time, energy, money, patience and love into these guys - and we have been rewarded a hundred times over by their gratitude and by seeing them settle happily into new homes.

We sincerely hope that if you decide an Airedale is the dog for you, you will consider adopting a rescue dog.  They are wonderful dogs who have run into circumstances beyond their control and now find themselves in need of a new home and people who are willing to make a caring commitment to them for the rest of their lives.  

Please feel free to contact any of our rescue workers:

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Airedale Information

The ATCA Rescue & Adoption Committee fulfills the Airedale Terrier Club of America, Inc. ("ATCA") obligation to protect and advance the interests of the breed by providing services to lost, abandoned, abused or unwanted purebred Airedale Terriers.
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