Monday, November 15, 2010

Love Is Patient - A Year With the Airedales

This is me and Stevie, one of the two Airedales we adopted last year from rescue. After the passing of our dearest dog-friend Henley the Great Dane, we were heartbroken. We cried every day, at things no one else would have even noticed. He and his routine were such a part of our lives that every day, many times a day, we'd mark the loss of his fellowship with tears. This went on for weeks and had almost reached two months when we got a call from Airedale rescue that two Airedales were in need of a new home.

They were brother and sister, and had started life in Florida but went into rescue and were moved with the rescue person to just outside Cordele, Georgia. They had been living on a farm initially, and were living in the country then. The first pictures we got of them were of two wild looking dogs running inside a pen fenced with what we always called "hog wire."

Stevie had even been bitten by a snake while in Florida and the feeling from the rescue folks was that they needed to be kept together, and that they need to go to a good home. We went up just to look, were talking all the way that we'd probably only want to take one, and then wound up taking them both home that evening. We were prepared for their personality being different than our Great Dane. Since we had previously had mini schnauzers, and Bunny had spent a lot of time in the last couple of years with a friend who had an awesome Airedale, we thought we were ready.

Sure they were different, but there was more than that going on. Mick, the male Airedale, was extremely stand-offish and hesitant to let anyone really have close contact with him. There was to be no holding that guy, or sitting with him on the couch. He freaked out whenever anyone tried to hold him for any reason, and would run away. It about broke our hearts again to think that this big strong Airedale had apparently been mistreated.

So we worked at letting him know he was safe and that he was loved. It was aggravatingly slow work. But here they are sleeping together on the bed. I'm asleep on the other side - Bunny took the picture.

There are times now when Mick is a loving dog. He's still nervous sometimes. But he's so lovable. Stevie is one of the sweetest dogs we have ever known and will sit with you for hours and cuddle as long as you want. We're so glad we got them both, and know that we'll be loving them both for many years to come.

Love is patient.

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