Having used the old-style collars years ago, they had one strength of ZAP! There were used for one thing and one thing only and that was to stop really bad unwanted behavior. Then we found you and Fred and the adjustable-strength collars. What a revelation!
In May of 2003 I got a call from Gila County Animal Control asking, “are you the Airedale lady?” I did Airedale Rescue in Phoenix and he said, “we’ve got 19 of them for you.” The Animal Control officer was driving along the highway and saw five Airedales keeping pace with his car and 19 running loose.
I arranged to have a former Airedale breeder from Prescott drive to Payson, where the dogs had been put in the Humane Society. Between us we got all but seven of the dogs to safety. The next day a gal from the PHS drove the other seven down to us. We had them scattered all over the state, from Prescott to Ajo to Tucson. All of the dogs were fearful, two of the bitches were pregnant, and they didn’t like people very much. Most of the dogs were adopted within three weeks.
Strangely, we (Ted and I) ended up with the worst two of the bunch – “rare black” Airedales who were terrified, especially of men. When we put them in the backyard, they immediately went under the bunkhouse – and stayed there for six months. We’d feed them in the corral, but couldn’t entice them into the house until September – and then only by guile and trickery (old age does have its advantages).
When we finally got them eating in the kitchen, then in the living room so they wouldn’t try to steal the home gang’s dinner, they started coming around little by little. Onyx, the brighter and braver of the two (and his brother’s keeper) wasn’t much of a problem, but Shadow was terribly afraid. He finally decided that his comfort corner was sitting by my chair, usually trembling and sometimes making puddles if I asked him to do something. We rued the day that we’d have to make a decision about these guys. Do we try to civilize them or do we euthanize them? Given that neither one had so much as curled a lip at us despite their uncertain beginnings, much less growled or shown any defensive attitude, we decided to give it a try.
Onyx was easy. Shadow was another case altogether. He fought the leash, piddled and shat when asked to come along. That’s when we called for help. You came over and worked with him and me with the e-collar and a remarkable change came over him. Tail didn’t wag, head wasn’t up, but he responded.
The upshot of this whole episode is that both of them got adopted the weekend before Christmas.
Even better, Shadow went to an Airedale experienced home where he lives with two of his more traditional buddies and has visited the Veterans’ Administration Hospital here five times. The staff came out to tell him what a handsome lad he was and he accepted strokes, pets and kisses with unusual aplomb. And he wasn’t even wearing the e-collar! From small beginnings sometimes grand things happen. I’m a believer! And so are Shadow and our 19-month puppy, Cash, the original contrarian.
It used to be that Cash would flee to the back 40 whenever we called him, but after three sessions on the collar, that’s no longer the case, whether he’s wearing it or not.
I realize that I’ve gone on far too long, but thought you should have the whole story. I’m so grateful for the change in Shadow I could cry. He’s becoming his own man, out from under the paw of his brother, and he’s the best mannered dog in his current household.
Toni, thanks again.
You saved a worthy dog’s life.
MELISSA MOORE, FOUNDER
Arizona Airedale Rescue Foundation