Ellie Rescues the Sonenshein Family

In December of 2007, our beloved 11-year old Airedale, Maggie, was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder.  Our veterinarian advised us that while surgery would remove the tumor, in time, another would most certainly return.  We wanted to give her every opportunity to live a quality life, and have more time with her, so we decided to have her undergo surgery. She had been a healthy dog, never outgrowing the comical puppy-like behavior that is so typical of an Airedale.  Even though Maggie received excellent veterinary care from her vet, she never seemed to bounce back to normalcy after the surgery.  Instead, she began sleeping more, eating less and developed a frightening sounding cough.  My fear was that the cancer had metastasized to her lungs.  Our vet told us that she had developed congestive heart failure and recommended a cardiac specialist.  We became well acquainted with Dr. Eva, sometimes making daily trips to regulate her 8 different types of medications.  Dr. Eva even accepted phone calls from the ER, calling me back within 5 minutes in the middle of the night, as well as waiving our exam fee the following day. After we could no longer wait for glimpses of the "sparkle in her eye" or the "bounce in her step" because they were too few and far between, she was no longer enjoying a quality life and we decided to let her be at peace.  Putting her down was by far the hardest thing I've ever done, while also being the most humane.
Maggie had such special needs towards the end that I knew living without her would be difficult, but I had no idea it would be virtually impossible to exist without a four-legged companion.  Each and every time I walked into the house, I was reminded how difficult it was when no one greeted me at the door with a wet nose.  It didn't matter whether I was alone in the house or not, I was always lonely.  Even putting the garbage out became a monumental task ... as it was unnatural not to have dog prints in the snow where we keep the garbage cans.  While I've always been a person to see the cup as "half full", now I've was living an empty existence.

My oldest daughter accompanied me with Maggie to her final vet appointment, so unfortunately, we felt as though we shared her loss in common.  It seemed natural that the next dog we would get would be an Airedale, because once you've experienced having one, you just couldn't settle for anything else.  We went on ATRA's web site to view the dogs that were available for rescue. Maggie was the first dog we ever rescued and we would only be too happy to give another dog a loving home.  We read each and every dog's story and chose Ellie from Michigan to be our new family member.  The first thing we did was fill out the on-line questionnaire. We spoke with the Illinois State Coordinator who put us in touch with the Michigan State Coordinator, who gave us the name & number of the foster home that was caring for Ellie.  We were told that several people have to approve our application, but scheduled a home visit with a local volunteer to expedite the process.  This volunteer came to our home with her Airedale and met with our family.  She watched how we interacted with her dog, asked questions about where Ellie would sleep, examined our dog run facilities, and questioned if and or how often she would be crated each day.  In the meantime, the references we provided of our vet and groomer were being confirmed.  Everyone we encountered from ATRA was friendly, helpful, and interested in placing the dog in the proper home, not just placing the dog anywhere.

We got Ellie less than two weeks from when we began the process.  There were many people, all volunteers, that were responsible for making this happen.  Our family would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you not only for your dedication, but also for your compassion.  Ellie is sweet and affectionate, possessing the wonderful qualities known to an Airedale. We appreciate these qualities, welcome her "happy dances", and enjoy her rambunctious behavior.  Not only did we rescue her, but she rescued us from living an empty existence without a four-legged companion.  Perhaps you should consider renaming the organization, PAATRA, for People And Airedale Terrier Rescue And Adoption.  As the mother of four children, one adopted and three biological, Ellie is definitely now a part of our family.  Although she may not have grown under my heart, she has surely grown in it! Rest assured, Ellie will live "happily ever after" with us.  Thank you again, ATRA.

Robin Sonenshein, Ellie's loving mother
(and the rest of the Sonenshein family too!)


Should you have any comments on/or criticisms of this story or desire to contact its author, feel free to email conniecam@worldnet.att.net.  We always appreciate hearing from both uprights and downrights. Thanks for reading!