written by Connie Versagi

In July 2006 Airedale Terrier Rescue and Adoption took in a litter of 10 pups from a breeder.  The pups were 12 weeks old.  Nine girls and one boy.  The breeder couldn’t sell them, so they had become a liability.  They had not been given puppy shots, or any other type of care.  They were a cash crop that had not paid off.

The first overwhelming week the pups were in a kennel together as ATRA made plans for foster homes to care for them.  Off they went to their foster families until forever homes could be found.  Ten wonderful bundles of puppy fur and mischief.

Shortly thereafter, two of the pups were diagnosed with Parvo.  ATRA paid for the successful treatment for these two.  They were one by one beginning to find and go off to their forever homes.

One of the girls, Gussie, went on her way to a new home.  They were so very excited to get her.  The first week was happy puppy times.  Gussie and her new family were in love, no doubt about that.

Suddenly Gussie stopped eating and drinking, started sleeping most of the day, and coughing until you know her little sides had to hurt her so.  She was diagnosed with a very bad case of kennel cough, was put on antibiotics.  Well, her appetite decreased further, her cough worsened, her breathing became labored.  Her Parvo test came back negative thankfully.  The antibiotics were switched to a stronger prescription.  Still she didn’t respond.

Then the diagnosis was made that little Gussie had pneumonia.  She was placed on IV’s.  Surely this would treat the problem.  In fact, Gussie got even sicker still.  She went to the emergency vet where she was put in isolation with oxygen and more antibiotics.  She could only stay at the emergency vet over night.  It was agreed she needed around the clock care and monitoring and they were not equipped to handle such intensive treatment for this little girl.

So, IV bags in tow, she was placed in the car and taken to an animal hospital that could handle this crisis.  There the x-rays showed stress on her poor tiny little lungs.  She was just wasn’t  perfusing her blood.  A swab was done of her lungs to attempt to find a diagnosis, and then a treatment.

This little girl was fading from the arms of her new family and they were heartbroken.  They knew she had just started to settle in with them after a rough start to her short life.  She recognized them when they would come to the hospital to see her, but was so confused about what was happening to her.  They just kept asking her to fight.  They had a wonderful life planned for her.  One that was worth fighting for, if she could just hold on until the doctors got an answer.  All this trauma and too little to even know her name yet.

At one point her little trachea was closing off.  A trachea wash was suggested but she was not strong enough to undergo the procedure.  The hose delivering air to her lungs had to be stitched to her little nose to keep it in place.  It was literally her lifeline. 

After four days of around the clock monitoring, antibiotics, oxygen therapy; four sleepless nights by a family who just wanted their beautiful pup back home to play, Gussie began to respond to the antibiotics.  She began to eat and things turned around quickly.  The battle was won for Gussie’s life.

She will need to be on antibiotics for a few months and will need regular lung x-rays for a while, but she finally got to come home.

So many trials for one so young, and so determined to fight to stay with her loving family.  They didn’t give up for one second on Gussie, and she didn’t give up on them.

As you can well imagine, the vet bills reflect the need for the around the clock care that it took to save this pup.  But there are ten families out there that would tell you it was worth every penny.  Also there are ten of the cutest Airedale black button noses that are glad to be around, finding places, appropriate and some less than appropriate, to stick their black button Airedale noses.

A donation of any size to help Airedales like Gussie and her siblings would help make it possible for ATRA’s budget to be ready for the next phone call for help.  The ones who cannot help themselves really belong to us all.  Ten little lives set right.  That is what rescue is all about.

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    1123 Vesper Road
    Ann Arbor, MI  48103