Interview With a Senior Airedale: Sebastian

written by Leslie Eiler and Tammie Forster, November 2007

Sebastian is an exceptionally sweet and loving senior Airedale, whose overall greatest wish is to just be part of a family again.  During a recent exclusive interview with an ATRA volunteer, Sebastian reveals how the aging process has affected his life as an Airedale, he talks about the realities of age, and explains how Airedale Rescue has given him new hope for a better future.

ATRA Volunteer:
Hello there Sebastian, and thank you so much for talking with us today. Is this your first public interview?

Airedale Sebastian:
Well, thank you for coming to visit me! As you can see, I am very photogenic, and will do just about anything to get on TV or have my picture in the paper. This is my first public interview, but I love spending time with people every chance I get.

ATRA Volunteer:
Let me start with the hard questions. After nearly a decade of experience being a loyal Airedale, and after living with the same family since you were a puppy, how did you take the news when you found out you had been surrendered?

Airedale Sebastian: <long moment of silence>
Honestly, I didn’t have a clue what was going on until after it was all over. I never dreamed that my owner would give me away; I just assumed she was taking me on a fun trip to meet new people. I love people! When the new people invited me to get in their car, of course I felt honored by the gesture, and I jumped right in. (I also ove to go for car rides) When we drove away, I knew something was different. From that moment on, my life was changed forever. Frankly, the first few days were plain confusing, but I have finally come to terms. When I look at this in hindsight, there were signs this was coming. I was getting older, and was finding myself alone more often than usual. I’ve heard that some people just can’t bear the thought of their dogs getting old, and maybe that had something to do with it. Even so, it is just as hard for dogs to be without their people. I don’t like to be alone, and although I may be an older dog, I’m certainly not ready to throw in my collar or leash. While this has left me in a very difficult situation, I try to stay positive. I’m hoping that many people will read this, and immediately recognize all my wonderful qualities, without worrying so much about my age.

ATRA Volunteer:
Do you think it will be hard for you to bond to a new family?

Airedale Sebastian:
Not a chance! I’m an Airedale, and as you know… we dogs need someone to be loyal to, or we suffer identity crisis! I can’t wait to be adopted by a new family. My foster mom tells me that Airedale Rescue only picks out the very best new homes, so I’m hoping they can find me a new family tomorrow! I’m not getting any younger, and since I am hoping for an expedient placement, I’m fully prepared to offer incentives.

ATRA Volunteer:
Incentives?

Airedale Sebastian:
Why certainly… they tell me I needed these incentives, or I’d have no chance to compete with all these younger Airedales. You know, the ones that are full of hormones, growing pains, and don’t know anything yet? Here I am, seasoned like a fine wine, and back on the market. I don’t think about the fact that I’m broke, and in a foster home; in fact, my foster mom… she has done a mighty fine job of functioning as my secretary.  The first thing I added to her agenda, was to type up a list of all my good qualities; it’s about three pages long… would you like me to go fetch it for you?

ATRA Volunteer:
Just explain it to me in your own words, if you don’t mind.

Airedale Sebastian:
Well first of all, I’m a genius. You can’t find an Airedale that learns faster than me on account that I already know everything. I suppose it’s a bonus that I’ve been housebroken for nearly a decade. Let’s see… I walk real good on the leash. I don’t pull and I don’t bark at others (pets or people) going by. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m anti-social, I just have real good manners about it. I ride real well in the car too. I jump right in, but I do try to take my time getting out. When new people come over, I really get excited, but I never jump on people. Actually, I can't. I am not as young as I used to be, and get a little stiff in the rear. 

ATRA Volunteer:
I hear you have a foster-sister that is an Airedale Mix; what it is like living with another dog?

Airedale Sebastian:
I must admit, this has been one of the best things about my new foster home. It’s a great pleasure to have another dog to play with. I’m not sure if it’s acceptable to print this, but my foster-sister is a real looker, she really knows how to handle herself, and she likes to be the boss. She makes an old Airedale like me feel like a real puppy again. We eat together, play together, but the best part: she keeps me company when my foster mom has to go on errands.

ATRA Volunteer:
Is it hard for you to spend too much time alone?

Airedale Sebastian:
YES! I hate being alone. If you ask me, there isn’t anything worse. I might rather go to the boarding kennel where there are at least some other dogs. In fact, I might need to go to the kennel if they don’t find me a home pretty soon!  You should know that I tend to sing loudly when I am left alone for too long!  It helps me pass the time away…

ATRA Volunteer:
Do you think you would like living with another dog as much if it were a male?

Airedale Sebastian:
Gosh, I don’t know? I’ve never tried that…but I have lived with some friendly cats before. In fact, years ago, one of my best friends was a cat! That has to count for something. I suspect that living with any other animal is better than being alone, though I must admit, the two-legged ones [people] are my special favorites.

ATRA Volunteer:
How do you feel about children, and have you ever wanted any of your own?

Airedale Sebastian:
Well… if you mean puppies, no way young lady! I hate to burst your bubble, but I’ve been fixed for most of my life… what kind of dog do you think I am?

ATRA Volunteer:
Actually, I meant human children…

Airedale Sebastian:
Human children? He he heh…Maybe I’m getting senile in my old age, but I don’t recall ever living with children, however, I have let really little ones pet me before. I tried to be really gentle about it, they seem innocent enough… but I’m not sure I’d want to be left alone with one, just in case they would want to pull my tail!  I think I could handle children as long as they were nice to me, and if adults were there to supervise.

ATRA Volunteer:
What is your greatest wish?

Airedale Sebastian:
Look, I know I have fewer years in front of me than behind me.  All I want is someone who can accept that, who would like to spend some time with a sage old ‘dale, who will take me for nice strolls, snuggle with me, yodel with me and love me.  Is that too much to ask???
 

For More information about Sebastion, please contact Leslie at leslie@aire-rescue.com or call 719-237-7128.

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