Nikki's Story - Now on the path to healing and a new life

by Stephanie Callahan

I got an email from a woman. She wrote, “I have a neighbor that I have talked into giving away his Airedale. She is an un-spayed 5-year-old female and she is not in very good shape. The Airedale is a purebred and has a skin condition - probably an allergy, and needs help fast. She had a litter of 1 pup about 3 or 4 years ago, although the owner claims she never had pups (he shot it). I remember.” I wrote back and said we can help. She replied and continued to tell me Nikki’s story:

This dog was well loved as a puppy and for the first year roamed around his farm. She stayed in the house the first winter. The second year she was tied to a doghouse outside the back door. The third year she was moved to a shed on the side of the house and last winter she was tied behind the barn on an 8-foot chain with no people contact. She has another dog (coon hound, that I am trying to find a home for also) and they are about 10 feet apart.

“I cannot stand to watch this any longer. I was going to take the dogs as he probably wouldn’t miss them but decided to ask him about them and he would be willing to give them away.


“It was Nikki’s lucky day. We have Nikki. When she came in she was anemic, had an abscessed tooth tested positive for Lyme’s, had ear infections in both ears and a bad skin infection over about 85 percent of her body. To start the treatment the coat that was very sparse had to be shaved off. Her skin is black and leathery looking. Someone said it looks like elephant skin. Her ears are thick from the infected skin that covers them.”

Treatment began. Her hipbones were sticking out and you could count her ribs without touching her (you could see them quite clearly).

Her coat started to come back but she was scratching.  She was on antibiotics and bathes once a week with special shampoo, but she was scratching behind her ears until there were open sores.  I went to get her for a walk and she looked like she had been in a fight and lost.  Her head was all bloody.

Back to the vet.  He had done skin scrapings before but found nothing.  He did more and looked at them in the scope.. nothing.  More scrapings..... ah ha, this time he found a mite... she had mange.  We started treatment. 

Nikki is ready for a foster home

Dispite all she has been through, Nikki is a love.  She wags and smiles and tries to get as close to you as she can.  She walks good on a leash but does search for critters if you let her.

Nikki has now been through the treatment but continues to need special bathes to clear up the skin infection.  She has put on weight... we actually just cut her food back a little.  Years of going with out food have made her crazy for food.  It has also had another side effect.  She thinks small animals (including small dogs) are prey.  So she will need to be in a home with no small critters (small dogs included).


Nikki is in and kennel and is looking for someone to help her continue on her recovery from years of abuse.  Can you foster this little girl? She will repay you with love and kisses.

If you would like to foster Nikki contact Stephanie Callahan: - 763-780-4413 or Judy Corey:, 952-882-6350

ATRA is taking donations to help defray Nikki’s expenses. There are four ways to contribute. In all cases, please note the donation is “For Nikki.”

PAYPAL: ATRA’s account username is
Credit Card: Call 734-995-4455
Check: Make payable to ATRA, note “For Nikki” and send to:
1123 Vesper Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Annette’s Airelooms “Sponsor an Airedale” on our website