Try It, You'll Like It

written by Ann Machek, November 2001

Since both my husband and I are teachers, we look forward to summer when we have time to travel, antique, garden, spend time at Lake Michigan and visit our grandchildren spread around the country.  All this done in the company of our terriers:  Darby, an eight-year old Airedale and Schyuler, a nine-year old Westie.  In restrospect, we call last summer "Airedale Summer".  Between May and October we fostered four rescue Airedales.

Abbey came in May just as Frank finished his teaching year.  Abbey was young, exhuberant and into EVERYTHING.  Frank, with his infinite patience, just laughed as she tested every item in his studio with her teeth.  Abbey went to her new home in Hammond, IN after just four days.  Good thing her new parents were experienced 'dale owners and already had her enrolled in obedience class.  We felt let down to see her go so soon, but barely a week went by and we heard about Elliott.

Elliott was a stray rescued from the Hillsdale County shelter.  He arrived in a poor state of health.  He had just been neutered, was vert thin, had been wormed for everything and had a cracked and infected tooth - not to mention the diarrhea we battled with rice and yogurt for a week or so.  He exhibited some healing sores that looked like rope burns and, worst of all, he had a rather significant heart murmur.  We had Elliott for a month of TLC and he fit into our pack nicely.  He was a laid back, affectionate guy who just wanted a rug and a meal.  Slowly he put on weight and gained strength and his heart murmur diminished enough to have his tooth removed. Elliott was adopted by the best family for him!  Today he resides in a charming Victorian house in Grayslake, IL with his companion 'dale, Kramer, his mom and his dad.  We visited him a month later to find him thoroughly at home but still hanging out at the back door never wanting to be on the run again!

Just about a week after Elliott left, Vanna arrived.  What a cutie!  A pretty zippy two-year old gal who had been scheduled to be euthanized by two previous owners when they discovered she had hip dysplasia.  Her guardian angel was a vet tech in Bloomington, IN who intervened and eventually put her into ATRA's hands.  Our three weeks with Vanna involved helping her recover from hip surgery.  Again, she fit into our pack and, of course, after three weeks when it was time for her to go to her new home, everyone was thoroughtly acclimated, sharing toys, etc.  Just as she was beginning to use her leg and starting to walk on four feet, she went to join her Erie, PA family where she will enjoy hiking in the mountains and playing with her thirteen-year old human sister. 

And now it's Andy's turn.  Andy was a stray from an Oakland County shelter who had once again turned out to be a dog we could keep and gladly call our own.  We often wonder how people could abandon these wonderful animals, pets, companions.  Andy was a bit wild when greeting people initially, but he sure has settled in here becoming quite a cling-on and learner.  He's a toy boy and loves to bound around the yard, but is thoroughly delightful and sweet-tempered.

It is always hard to say good-bye, but we have to remind ourselves that our initial intent was to foster these dogs until they can join their forever families.  Darby reminds us of that now and then!  After our Airedale Summer, we think that all Airedales must be perfect.  We recommend more people give it a try!


ATRA Needs Your Help

We are always in need of foster homes.  If you would like to consider becoming a foster home, please click here to fill out an on-line application.  If you cannot foster, we understand, but perhaps you can help by making a donation to help defray the cost of boarding for our dogs waiting for a foster home.  If you would like to donate towards our boarding expenses, please follow the links here.

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    Ann Arbor, MI  48103