lovely, a new canine companion for the old boy so he won’t be lonely any more.
Of course they’ll get along, he’s such a sweetheart, when he isn’t up to the
usual Airedale mischief. Unfortunately it doesn’t always go so smoothly, as we
found out when we brought 7 month-old Katy home to live with us and 4-year-old
For a start, Katy is small and basically quite timid. Fred is about as big as
male dales get and although desexed at six months, still quite the ladies man.
to overcome all obstacles to ensure the continuation of each species, but what
happened next was more a case of ‘fatal attraction’.
Admittedly Katy is quite beautiful and Fred couldn’t keep his eyes, or his nose,
off her. He tried to mount her almost the minute she arrived and was so
persistent that the poor girl was scared out of her wits. Then he’d follow her
about, herding her so she couldn’t explore her new home properly, and try to
hook his leg under hers to trip her up and have his wicked way.
Inside or outside it was the same, Fred just wouldn’t give up. If we locked him
out to give her some peace he’d bang on the door and howl. If we locked her in
her crate he’d climb on top of it trying to get to her or scratch her through
the wire. When we locked him in the laundry at night as was usual, he almost
broke the door down and yelped for hours. We hardly got any sleep.
Poor Katy, poor us! After 48 hours of this we were frantic. I couldn’t bear the
thought of having to return her to the breeders as we were as besotted with her
as Fred was. But what to do? The breeders and more experienced Airedalers
thought it was just a case of Fred asserting his dominance and that things would
soon settle down.
Wrong! By the 3rd day Fred had almost worn himself out but not quite. Katy had
discovered that the only way to avoid his attentions was to keep moving, so
Fred, who was distinctly out of shape from his lazy ‘only child’ existence, had
to keep pursuing her, even though he was showing all the signs of exhaustion. In
that sense, it WAS funny,
watching Freddy Fatbum lumbering along behind this cute little ballerina, who
out-manouvred him at every turn. When they would finally stop to rest, Fred’s
tongue would be hanging out and he’d be struggling to keep his eyes open. I’ve
never seen him look so tired and I was beginning to worry that he might
collapse. So we called the vet for advice.
“Desexed males who are still mounting need hormonal help” he said. “And the
female will need to be spayed straight away.” Fred was given two shots of female
hormone to calm his raging desires and booked into a kennel for a few days. Katy
had her operation and spent a few quiet days alone with us to recover.
When Fred came home he was still determined but a bit less frenzied, so off to
the vet’s he went for a booster hormone shot. This tided him over till Katy’s
body stopped producing the hormones that had sent him crazy, which took another
couple of days. I must add here that Katy wasn’t in heat, it was just that Fred
had no doubt as to why his parents had brought him this pretty young female and
was determined to fulfil his destiny.
By the third week peace eventually reigned and they began to play together like
pals, practising biteyface and chasies and I-can-beat-you-to-the-tennis-ball. We
heaved a huge sigh of relief. We finally knew the end was in sight when
energetic little Katy had tired Fred out so much with her playfulness that he
crawled into her crate to escape from her.
A year has passed now and these days Katy’s idea of a good game is to dare Fred
to chase her... if he has the energy, of course. On the rare occasions he does
catch her, all he does is bite her back leg and play-growl. They love to go
walking together on the double lead and Katy is happy to run about on her own
during the day while Fred (also known as Capt’n Snooze) sleeps in his favourite