Adopt a Senior: Bear and Jake Woelfert

written by Ed Woelfert, March 2005

The fact that our first Airedale was an older model was not a consideration by any means.  Penny had shown me an Airedale Rescue ad in "The Shopper" which had gotten her attention.  When I told Penny I wanted to call the number and adopt an Airedale, she took the paper back.  Between my whining, crying and promise to call for information only, I got possession of the paper.  A lady named Carol answered the phone. My answers to the statutory questions must have been right on.  Carol had her co-conspirator, Joyce, call.  Again it seemed the statutory questions were answered satisfactorily.  Joyce came right over with an application and a dog for us to "see".  We saw him all right - it was a long visit.  The application and donation left with Joyce, but Bear did not.  He got his forever home on the spot.  Penny and I were in love with this character.

According to the vet and ATRA, Bear was over ten years old when he moved in, but Bear was tight-lipped about his true age.  He had a rough life previously.  He was one of the infamous "Barn Dogs", one of a group of breeding dogs kept in a barn and fed scraps, trash and less fortunate residents of the barn.  Due to this former life, it took him a while to get used to hugs, kisses and all of that mushy stuff.  But he perservered.  He quickly learned to enjoy having toys to play with, a couch to sleep on and people to love and be loved by.  Bear was quite a character.  We had many, many, many laughs and loving moments with him.  We would not have traded the experience for anything in the world.  After three years and ten months, we had to say good-bye to our friend, Bear.  We felt bad when we lost him, but we'd received a lot of love over those years with him. 

Not long after Bear passed away, Carol put me on the job of tracking down a dog near Cadillac and bringing him into rescue.  Carol had gotten a voice mail from someone who wanted to turn in his dog.  Our sone, Eddie, met the owners, took Jake to McDonalds for lunch and then brought him home.  He obviously came from a good home - he was a happy guy.  Though his papers showed that he was just over 11 years old, our vet was surprised what great shape he was in.  I thought, "Eleven years old, if we were lucky, we'd have him around a year or two."  Four years later he was still playing like a puppy!  Jake was a clown and the alpha leader of our household.  You were never lonely with Jake around.  Open the fridge, there was Jake by your side.  Sit down to eat and there was Jake by your side.  If you tried to ignore him, he got more boistrous as time passed!  One day we left the dishwasher open.  Jake was doing his pre-wash toungue rinse thing.  His collar got hooked on the basket, he got scared, tried to get away and WHAM!  He did a perfect somersault, landing on his back with the basket behind him and dishes and utensils all over the kitchen.  A fourteen-year old acrobat!  He made it to 15 and was still very happy.  So were we.

Unlike the puppies we had in the past, these senior dogs did not need to be housebroken, tolerated through their exhuberant years and forgiven for their appetite of fine furniture and rugs.  These senior dogs moved right in without any of these problems. 

Don't be afraid to adopt an older Airedale.  They are just as much fun and come with a lot less problems!

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