written by Connie Versagi

Christmas wishes can come true.  Sally knows just what that means.

A message was received by ATRA in Arkansas from a “service worker” whose heart was breaking over a neglected Airedale pup.  She was seeing this dog while on her route and knew it was in trouble.  She had started out healthy a few months before, but she had noticed that the owners had not only left the dog outside alone, but had stopped feeding her.  It was guessed that the pup was about eight months old.  Her name was Sally.  She was malnourished, spine and ribs showing.  Starving for human attention

At the risk of getting into trouble herself for trespassing, this kind soul began bringing the pup food.  When no one was home over Thanksgiving, she went in the yard with kibble and water.  All that was there was an empty kibble bin and a water container with a hole in it.  She just couldn’t leave this dog in such terrible shape.  She continued to feed her five days a week on her route, but couldn’t shut off the nagging worries in her mind about those weekends.  It just wasn’t enough to be there five days.

Then the cold blustery weather began to set in.  This kind soul lay in bed at night, hearing the wind buffeting her house, and all she could think of was the pup, alone, hungry, outside in the weather.  She worried about getting in trouble for being on private property but she persisted in helping the dog when she could.  She knew something had to change, and she got in touch with ATRA.

Well, an ATRA co-coordinator in Arkansas went out to speak to the owners.  At first they claimed to want to keep the pup.  After some haggling, and yes, sad to say, some money exchanged hands, Sally was rescued from her terrible situation.  All because one person who knew her plight and just couldn’t forget those soulful Airedale eyes, so alone and neglected.

Sally is now at a kennel, after having checked out as healthy, getting spayed, and is concentrating on putting on some weight.  Without enough foster homes available, Sally has to stay a kennel for now.  She has had no interaction or love from people and needs to learn just how wonderful it can be to be part of a family.  No more cold lonely nights, no more hunger pangs in her belly.  Volunteers come by the kennel and walk her and say she is doing well.  Still no substitute for a foster or forever home.

Sally is a wonderful pup, now 10 months old, who is very close to having all of her Christmas wishes come true.  Now that she is well cared for, all she needs is someone to give Airedale kisses to.  Hang on, Sally, I’m sure that Santa will bring you the forever home you deserve.  Christmas wishes do come true.


Yes, Sally is finally in her forever home thanks to ATRA!

UPDATE - 1-24-06

Sally's original story is heartbreaking and the pictures reflected her initial condition, but as happens so often with our rescue dogs, it only told a very small part of the story. It does not reflect the spirit, tenacity, and resiliency of our beloved Airedale breed.

Sally has gone from an emaciated forty pounds to a healthy sixty plus pounds  in just twentyseven days.  She has no health issues.  Everyone at the vet hospital fell in love with her and you will too. Sally is now eleven months old, has been in a foster home for about a month now, is crate trained and housebroken.  She is a tall, lanky girl that still needs a few more pounds. 
Her older foster brother and sister are showing her the ropes of being an Airedale. She is learning about her new world since being left alone in her backyard world. She now explores everything. She's learning to play with balls and to chew on Kongs and bones.   She shows no signs of abuse and is all about love.  Her tail wags constantly.  She is learning to walk on the leash and has come a long way from when she would wrap herself around your legs because she  was afraid of activity.  She now comes when you call her and is very smart and a fast learner.  As with so many 'dales she has the "counter surfing" gene - we are working on this and her other basic commands.
Sally can be placed with other dogs, but is over exuberant with small children.  AND, because she is a youngster, her new family must be committed to regular exercise and/or twice daily walks and obedience training.  She is at that wonderful stage where she is like clay and can be properly molded into a fine companion with some work but nothing comes without effort.

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