We had a
wonderful terrier/mix dog for almost 14 years. He was raised with our daughters
and became part of our family. He was our first terrier. We had a Springer
spaniel for 8 years. A good dog, but not like our friendly, almost human
So now, years
after Fritz had gone to the Rainbow Bridge, we decided we needed a dog in Phil’s
(my husband) and my life. A puppy? A terrier of some kind? A pure bred? A
rescue? From the Humane Society? We looked around, and then I remembered how
much I always liked the looks of an Airedale Terrier. A bigger version of Fritz.
I started doing
research on the breed - books, articles in Dog Magazine, talks with breeders. ‘A
wonderful family dog, a devout guardian of hearth and home, loves the
out-of-doors, loves the water, loves snow but – and here comes the BUT – very
smart to the point of testing who is smarter, them or us. Is not aggressive
toward other animals but when confronted will finish a fight started. Doesn’t
shed. So far all good positive points of a wonderful dog.
Yes, we wanted
a puppy. I didn’t worry about the all-night whining or the taking her out many,
many times during house training. Or the not being gone too long for the first
couple of months so that she’s comfortable when we do leave the house for a
couple of hours. We can handle this.
Now to look for
a good breeder. A wonderful woman called Myra who works for a kennel near us
owns three Airedales and occasionally breeds them. I called her to find out that
she was mating her bitch, Jackie, and that the puppies (if the mating were
successful) would be ready around Christmas, perfect! Such a long to wait!
The first pick
was Myra’s choice so she would keep a female pup and we would get the second
choice so we waited a few more weeks. The pups were due around my eldest
daughter’s birthday, November 4th. We went out of town for Halloween
and on returning home Sunday, 2nd of November, I find out the puppies had been
born that very day.
Nine in all!
Five girls and four boys! Yahoo!
breeder had let me visit with Jackie during her pregnancy – also with Gabor,
fourteen year old, and Raymond, almost two year old, who is a real ‘hoot.’ He
is such a character. Myra asks me if I’m sure I don’t want a male, as they are
the clowns of Airedales. We’ve never had a female and really want a laid back
lady to join our family.
week I was anxious to go to see them. Myra doesn’t usually let anyone visit
during the first few weeks. Says germs aren’t good for the pups. BUT, she
makes an exception as long as I wash my hands when I get to her home. The
sight of seeing those puppies for the first time was amazing. Watching Jackie
take care of them and being the perfect mother was a wonder. We had decided
that we would take our ‘girl’ home the day after Christmas. Oh, that’s a long
time but I knew the eight weeks would fly by.
As it turned
out, we didn’t get our “Annie” as scheduled. Phil and I both came down with the
flu around the middle of December. We had to call off getting her as we could
hardly take care of ourselves, let alone a puppy.
January 3rd, 2004, we went to pick her up. I was nervous, excited, a
little apprehensive, and in the back of my mind wondering if this was the right
thing to do.
Those big brown
eyes and spiked brown/black hair made my heart melt. How could I not bring her
home? Phil was hooked too. He handled her the same way when our daughters were
first born. So gentle. And with love, even after only a few hours…
night… Ok! I was ready. The crate was ready. And every toy was in her toy
basket. We played with her. Took her out to go potty. Gave her food and water.
Took her out again, and again! A couple of accidents inside but that’s to be
expected. It was time for bed, we were all very tired.
We lay in bed
expecting to hear her whine, but there is nothing but quiet. Is she alright? I
didn’t dare get up to check. All of a sudden it’s the next morning –5AM. She has
slept through the night. How did that happen?
We’re up early
on Sunday, but we both have smiles on our faces as “Annie” prances around
looking oh so cute. Out to go potty. Good girl – she peed! Then back in for
breakfast. Within a half hour we’re back outside to poop. Yahoo! Believe it or
not, she’s tired so it’s off to her crate for a nap. Phil and I decided to take
advantage of the time and took a little nap ourselves.
It’s been a
week now. It seems like she’s always been here with us. We’re still working on
the house training part. It’ll come. She’s a very smart girl. Almost more then
what I’ve been told about Airedales. She catches on quickly. Loves the snow.
Loves the car. Loves her water and food. Loves her crate and all her toys.
Wants to play with her brother Richard, our cat, but he’s not so sure he wants
to be buddies yet. She loves to be held. I’m taking advantage of this right now.
Soon she’ll be too big to hold. She’ll always be hugged and kissed – that will
never stop. But there’s something about picking up a 40-plus pound dog that my
aching back just won’t accept.
I’ve been told about Airedales is true. The unconditional love, the
intelligence, the sweet temperament and the wanting to learn and please is right
there in this little puppy of ten weeks. The fun of teaching her to sit, to
come, to learn the meaning of the word NO. Why, in just the week that we’ve had
her she’s grown so that she now bumps her head when ducking under the coffee
table. It’s all been worth it, taking her outside six to eight times a day to
make sure she doesn’t do anything inside. Making sure she always has fresh food
AIREDALE? Because they’re a wonderful breed. And because of ‘all of the
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