Monday, December 4, 2023

One Sunny Day

My mum and I were taking a walk on that sunny day and Mum noticed our black shadows.  She took some photos of me. 
She said that even if all she saw were the shadow, she would have known it was me, or some other Airedale.
We are a very distinctive breed, don't you think?.
We may get snow tomorrow!

Nancy here.  And I wonder if Nona will roll around in the snow like she did the frost!

We hope you have a fun day.

--Nancy and Nona.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Leaf Magnet

That's Nona, about two weeks ago.
"What are you looking at?"
One of her favorite things to do outside in the yard is run after her tennis ball, prance around with it, then roll around on the ground.  The leaves attach to her fur but, thankfully, they brush off easily before she comes inside.
It was 23 degrees, with frost, the other day.  I thought Nona would just run and play but she was her happy self rolling around on the ground.  She sticks her paws in the air, then twists and turns on her back, and happily chew her ball.  What a girl!

Her fur is growing and she could do with a clip but I don't really want to send her into winter with short hair.  Brrrrr.  Maybe just a trim will do.


Saturday, October 28, 2023

Nona and the Kitten

Nona said she would like to tell this story....

Two Wednesday afternoons ago, Mum and I were outside playing.  I chased the ball, raced around with it in my mouth (my mum calls it prancing), and rolled in the leaves.  Then Mum asked, "What kind of bird is making that sound?  It's not like any bird I've heard before."  Mum kept looking around for a bird but there weren't any.  Next, she looked over the fence to the other side of the yard trying to figure out where the sound was coming from.  Then she walked that way, and I ran that way, and the next thing you know, we saw a tiny kitten.

I want you to know I keep a clean yard.  No squirrels, no birds, no cats, no other animals come into my yard and get to stay there if I'm outside.  I chase them away.  So when I saw that kitten on the other side of the fence, I was at the gate ready to run through as Mum opened it.  I was eager to meet that cat and take care of it so it wouldn't come into my yard.  But she wouldn't let me go through the gate.

All I could do was watch what was going on.  She went inside by the other door (and left me outside!) and was in there for a while, probably talking to my pop.  She came back out with a dish of wet cat food that my human sister keeps here for when her cats visit.  That kitten ate and ate and ate.
After it finished eating the kitten hid in the bushes again but Mum squatted and encouraged it to come out.  She took it inside--leaving me behind again!--to show my pop and see what he thought.  They decided it was too young to be outside alone and guessed its mom was a feral cat.  They put it in our breezeway with a little bed and a litter box and Mum contacted a bunch of cat rescue places but no one wanted the kitten.  They said they were all full.  One of the places said not to bother leaving it outside for its mom to come because it was already weaned.  Then my mum contacted several people she thought might want a kitty, but they didn't.  The next night it was too cold for it to stay in the breezeway so they brought it into the house--MY house, which I already share with two cats when they visit!

My human sister and her two cats came on Sunday to stay for four days and she decided she would adopt the kitten.  It was itchy and scratching so they gave it a Dawn bath and saw that it had fleas.  My mum puts flea treatment on me so I don't have to get a Dawn bath.  My sister or my mum combs the kitten with a flea comb several times a day, searching for fleas.  My sister will take it away this coming Wednesday.  Hooray!

This is what the kitten looks like.  Mum doesn't love cats but she said if it had been a grey or a grey tabby, she might have wanted to keep it.  I'm glad it's neither of those colors!   I want Mum to myself again.
Nancy here.  Everything Nona wrote is true.  She fiercely defends her yard and chases any animal she sees in it.  (If she caught one I suspect it would be the death of it.)  What she didn't tell you is that when inside the house, she has amazing restraint and forbearance with the cats.  As much as she can, she either avoids or ignores them.  (It's almost like children using inside voices and outside voices.)  Even though the kitten won't be here except for visits it has the best chance of all three cats of persuading Nona that cats could possibly become friends when indoors.

We're calling the kitten It because we can't tell whether it's a female or a male.  The vet couldn't tell from photos but after it visits the vet on Monday, we'll know and then my daughter will give it a name.

What a busy time it's been at our house this past week.

--Nancy and Nona

Friday, October 27, 2023

Airedale Bedhead

I smile every morning when Nona greets me.  It's because of her bedhead muzzle and beard.  They are always askew after a night's sleep, or even a nap.
She has no clue my smile borders on laughter at her appearance.  Even if she knew, I think she would join in.  Airedales love to make their people laugh. 
After breakfast, I brush her muzzle and beard, neatening it so she looks tidy.  But it only lasts a little while--until she starts to play.  And then we do it all over again later in the day.

There are a million reasons to love an Airedale and this mess of a muzzle and beard is one of them!


Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Height of Airedale Fashion...

Airedale Nona wearing t-shirt as post-spay surgery protecton
...for the just-spayed lady, to prevent chewing and licking.  Nona doesn't know how silly she looks.

In case you can't tell what she's wearing, we bought a package of men's strap t-shirts.  We put one over her head with the back toward her chest and the front over her back.  We put her head through the neck hole and her legs through the armholes.  We tied a knot in the hem so her legs wouldn't catch and trip on the shrit.  She wore this when going outside to do her business. 

When inside most of the time, she also wore a shirt over her back end.  The hem of the shirt went over her bottom first which allowed her tail to go through neck hole and her legs to go through the armholes.  When both shirts were on, I pinned the top shirt behind her neckline so it wouldn't slide off or drag low and trip her.
She looked pretty silly but she was protected, and since she was on limited activity it wasn't like she was out and about in the neighborhood, the park, or stores.  Even if people had laughed, she probably would have enjoyed it.

It's been 11 days since her surgery and I think the incision is healed.  The amazing thing is that she never tried to touch it, not to bite or scratch or lick it.  Amazing!

We hope you're having good days and enjoying the beginning of autumn.

--Nancy and Nona.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Nona Gets a Bath, a Clip, and a Spay

Airedales can look cute, cuddly, and adorable or smart, sleek, and stylish.  I think it mostly depends on appearance, particularly, the length of their hair.  (Of course, whether you want to cuddle an Airedale may also depend on whether her hair is brushed and whether she smells clean and fresh.)  This is Nona, ungroomed (with her ears in helicoptor mode) ready and willing for a hug, a pet, a cuddle.
shaggy Airedale Nona
But the thing with letting an Airedale's hair grow is that it grows and grows and grows until it's a shaggy, straggly mess.  For Airedales, grooming includes clipping or stripping their coats.  Since Nona's not a show girl she gets a clip.

But a bath comes before a clip.  I didn't take any bath photos because we were a little busy with water, shampoo,  cleaning her fur, and rinsing.  Too much water for a phone.  She didn't love her bath but she was agreeable.  At least she didn't try to jump out of the tub mid-bath, and she mostly waited till she was towel-dried and covered with a towel before shaking.  Good girl!

The day after her bath, I gave Nona a clip.   There are no photos of that, either.  It's been more than four years since I clipped an Airedale so I was a little out of practice and paying close attention.  We got the job done but let's just say there will be some editing, adjustments, and improvements to the clip over the next few weeks.  Thanks goodness hair grows!

All clean, dry, and clipped, Nona was a happy girl, especially as she rolled around in the grass.  I love her big smile.
Airedale Nona rolling in the grass with a happy smile
Five days after the clip I took her for a spay.  She was pleased and excited when we arrived at the vet's office yesterday morning.  She's a social girl and loves to be out and about meeting and greeting people.  I filled out some forms and then she happily walked away with the vet tech--and I sorrowfully drove home.

Later in the afternoon I went to get her.  The tech went over home-going instructions with me, then went back to bring Nona to the outer office.  During that time, a couple with two cats in carriers came in for an appointment.  When Nona arrived with the vet tech, she glanced at me, gave me the side-eye, then stopped to greet the other humans.  I wondered how long it would take me to get back in her good graces.  Thankfully, it wasn't long.

Poor girl.  I know she wasn't in pain but gosh, she was dopey.  She just stood, or stood near me to get pets.  She finally decided to lie down, then fell asleep for a while.  A few hours later, I offered her a little food.  She accepted the food but refused to drink water.    

When the vet called after surgery to report, I asked whether she could go up stairs, since that's where the bedrooms are.  He said it would be fine as long as she didn't race up the steps.  So we went up to bed later in the evening (after she went outside and did nothing).

She's happier today but doesn't have much energy.  I was hoping she would leave the incision alone but as a precaution, I put a men's tank top over her head and pulled it back to cover her back and belly.  I think I added insult to injury when, after I saw her head too close to her incision, I pulled another shirt over her from behind with her tail in the head hole and her legs in the arm holes, to make it harder for her to get anywhere near the incision..  I'm glad it's not a hot day! 
Airedale in post-surgery protective t-shirts
I'm confident she'll be back to her happy self soon, with a healed belly and hair a little longer, looking a little like she did a month ago, below.
Airedale Nona with hair a little long
We are enjoying this cooler weather and looking forward to plenty of walks and outdoor play this fall.

We hope all is well with you.
Nancy and Nona

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Book: The Money Tree

I'm always exciting to find children's books with Airedales.  This one is The Money Tree, written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small.

I love this investigative stance which is so true to the character of Airedales. 


Friday, August 25, 2023

Nona's Recent Doings

Airedale Nona
Finally, Nona looks at the camera for a photo.  Tight-lipped, not thrilled, but it's a start.

Here she is in all her golden/tan, glorious color.  Interested in something other than the camera, of course.
Airedale Nona
She is the first Airedale I've known who is not interested in mailing tubes.  When I first pulled it out, I think she thought I was going to hit her and she ran.  I've been desensitizing her by standing it on end and having her watch me drop a biscuit into the tube, then teaching her to nudge the tube to tip it over so she can get the biscuit.  She's doing it consistently now, but has no interest in touching the tube.  I hope she'll eventually find joy in carrying and tossing the tube.

We thought she might like a pool of water, especially in this heat we've been having.  We dragged out a child's pool that was in the garage, then added 3-4 gallons of water, just enough to cover most of the bottom. 
Airedale Nona with her back to the camera
She looked at it disdainfully, sniffed, then turned away.  I lifted her front paws, then her back paws so she was standing in the pool.  No way was she interested   She watched from afar. 

I think her real-life experiences have been limited, so a lot of things are new to her.  I'm glad to be the one to offer her new, but sad that at five years, they are new.

She still delights in playing "Where's Nona" with a handkerchief.  I love it that she pulls off the handkerchief, rolls onto her side for pets and belly rubs, then settles next to me for hugs, all the time with a smile.  The behavior is so puppy-ish.  I hope her Airedale humor blossoms.

She went to the vet today for a pre-spay blood draw and two vaccines.  She did great!  We walked in to find two small dogs on a bench with their owner and a cat in a carrier and its owner.  She ignored the dogs, looked at the cat with curiosity but didn't go near, then sat.  I didn't tell her stay and she was up in a minute.  Then I asked her to sit and stay which she did until the tech came to take her back for the blood draw.  Excellent girl, excellent learner!

I've been looking through a book about the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test.  I know she needs more socialization but it's been so hot to take her out for longer than a few minutes.  Cool weather will be here soon and then I hope she can go along most of the time.  There are other things we can work on for the CGC, then I'll have to learn where she can take it.

Bye for now from Nona and me.
--Nancy and Nona

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Our AireGirl Has a Name!

After considering more than four dozen names, and trying out more than a dozen for a day or two each, we finally settled on Nona (with a long o) for our girl.  We used it for a day or two, then wondered if she might confuse it with "No" and went back to other possible names.  I realized that we really don't have to use "No" very often and since we hadn't found any other name that seemed right, she became Nona.  Does she like it?  Well, she responds to it, and that's what matters.
Airedale Nona running toward camera
On the other hand, Nona has a firm and fixed dislike of cameras--regular or phone.  I have no idea how she knows a phone is a camera, but she seems to.  When she's sitting near me and I call her name, she looks, but when she sees the camera she immediately looks away.
Airedale Nona avoiding the camera
If I call her again, she looks even further away.  Any other least little thing is so much more interesting when someone has a camera pointed in her direction.
Airedale Nona avoiding the camera
What's New?
Nona is learning to play!  Who knew it would be hard to teach an Airedale to play?!  One of the first games was "Where's Nona?"  I put a large handkerchief over her face and said, "Where's Nona?"  At first she just sat there.  I pulled the handkerchief off and excitedly responded with, "There's Nona!"  After a few tries over a few days, she pulled the handkerchief off with her paw, and looked so pleased with herself.  Big praise and hugs for her!  Funnily, she gets excited about this game.

Next, I held the handkerchief up in front of me and asked her where I was.  By then she knew the game, but instead of pulling if down from my face, she went around the side of the handkerchief and stuck her face in front of me.  Smarty pants.  Again, big praise for Nona.

We're working on take it and leave it.  She almost seems offended when I close my hand around a treat when I tell her to leave it, but she's slowly learning.  Of course, "take it" is easy.

And the best fun is that she's actually begun to run after a tennis ball when I throw it in the yard, then she pushes it with her paw or nose to send it rolling again, then runs after it again (and again, sometimes).  It's too hot to play this game for long.

There's one thing I'm trying to teach her not to do.  When she gets excited she gently mouths my arms or hands.  I don't mind it but I don't think it's safe.  If she were to play with grandchildren, it would not be good for her to use her toothy mouth that way.  She's getting better about this.  The thing about teaching a behavior change is that the dog has to perform the unwanted behavior and receive a correction to know it's something not to do.

There's so much for a five-year-old Airedale to learn!

Since Nona won't pose for the camera, I thought I'd share this Airedale. 
Airedale book I like Airedale Terriers
It's a cute little book, written to introduce children to the Airedale Terrier breed.  It has a fun layout with lots of photos and is mostly accurate.  (Of course, not every Airedale is the same, so what's true for one might not be accurate for another.) 

I hope you're having fun!

Saturday, July 22, 2023

AireGirl Update, July 22, 2023

Airedale Nona, a bundle of fur
A bundle of fur.
Adopting an older Airedale is an interesting experience.  No matter the age, they come with their own personalities, but older 'dales come with everything they've learned, too, both good and less-than-good.  In AireGirl's case, she's comfortable with thunder and lightening but hesitant about the rattle of a pan in the kitchen and the thud of a book falling to the floor.  There are other common, everyday things that she's hesitant about.  It makes me wonder how much she did not experience in her previous situation....

Airedale Nona, her teeth showing
AireGirl completely relaxed.
AireGirl has begun to blossom in the three weeks she's been her.  She no longer feels like she has to stay by my side in our fenced yard.  She has begun exploring and investigating.  She discovered a cat on the other side of the fence and checks the area very time we go out.

She has begun doing tuckbuttruns.  The joy of seeing them!

She playbows to invite a chase.   What fun!

And she has--once--done a twirl or spin.   Does you Airedale do that, too?  She gets excited and then dances or twists in a circle until she's spinning.  She is only the second Airedale we've had who has done that.  Look out if she twirls too close because it could knock a person off balance.

She is not food motivated and turned up her nose at her dog food, ignored treats, and turned her back on food rewards for doing as requested.  All that until we discovered pill pockets/pouches.  They are soft and appealing.  I cut each into 12 or 15 pieces so she gets just a tiny taste, but they are motivating to her when I ask for a sit or a down.  That pleases me a lot because I found it hard to train with praise as the only reward.   She already gets so many pets and hugs, they didn't mean anything to her as praise for doing a job.

Airedale Nona looking away from the camera
What's going on over there?
She continues to be camera shy.  I hope that improves as I take more photos of her, and I hope my photo-taking skills improve, too.

I'm still working on teaching her to tell me she needs or wants to go outside.  We have a bell on the door but she's uncertain about it.  I try to remember to ring it whenever we go out, hoping she'll get the idea.

She does not yet have a new name.  Her previous name ended with the sound "see" and she seems to like and respond to names that end that way.  We've tried out many.  She seems to me like a Pippa, but her human sister has a cat named Pippa, so that name's out.  But maybe Pippin, Pipsy for short.  Other names we've considered are Minna, Jenna, Mia, Myma, Tansy, and Tedda.  Oh, and Lizbet --> Little Bit--> Bitsy.  She is a standard size Airedale but because of her demeanor she seems young. 

There's more -- isn't there always more with an Airedale?  But I'll post another time.


Monday, July 10, 2023

Welcoming a New AireGirl

It had been more than four years since the presence of an Airedale graced our home. 
Airedale Nona
We welcomed this new AireGirl on June 30.  She is a retired mama, a little more than five years old.  And she is oh, so sweet.

She is well-mannered both inside and out, watchful to see my next move, interested in our activities but not necessarily in joining in.  She walks well on lead and respectfully allows humans to go into and out of doors before her.  Best of all, she comes when called.  If outside, she races to me when I call and, if inside, she comes quickly.  She has some learning to do, too, though.  She won't sit or lie down on command, doesn't know wait or stay, and when greeting people she enthusiastically jumps up on her toes.  And there are plenty of other commands, along with hand signals, she can learn.  She seems a little hesitant or insecure sometimes.  Often, her ears are pulled to the side and her tail is down, indications that she is nervous or uncertain.  (And who wouldn't be uncertain when in a new and unfamiliar home with strangers?!) 
Airedale Nona running toward the camera
It was fun to see her outside yesterday, ears alert, tail high, racing to the fence to tell the neighbor he shouldn't be mowing so close to her fence, then racing back to me when I called her.   

She loves being near me, especially, though she likes other family members, too, and enjoys being petted or getting any kind of attention.  She's not much interested in treats or toys--a real people dog.

We had visitors yesterday.  She came in from outside, greeted them, and asked for pets.  (She did not jump up, I think because they were here when she came in.  Had she been inside when they came, she would probably have jumped to welcome them.)  She tried to sniff.  (Bad manners!)  Then she laid on the floor and eventually stretched out on her side for a snooze.  I'm glad she felt safe.

Observations about AireGirl since she's been here.
  • She does not like to walk in grass after a rain and does not like being out in the rain.  (Me, either.)
  • She doesn't like fireworks but instead of cowering or trying to hide as our previous Airedales have done, she comes to me for assurance in the form of pets.
  • Outside, cats are critters of interest, to be chased if possible.  Inside, cats are animals to be respected because they hiss.  Two cats visit us periodically. 
  • Much like Hannah, AireGirl does not like to be photographed, at least not these past few days.  I hope that changes. 
  • The water in the water bowl is dirty if she's taken a drink and she will not drink from it again until it's been rinsed and has clean water. 

She will have a new name but we haven't decided yet what it will be.  What name will fit her personality (which we're still discovering)?  It needs two syllables with the accent on the first.  We should decide soon so she can learn it.

I hope you're having fun with your Airedales!

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Airedale Behavior: Snorfle

snorfle, v.
loud and enthusiastic sniffing of the ground by a large dog in the hope of something to eat or something dead to roll on.
There seem to be various definitions of this word, but this is the most accurate one I found as relates to Airedale terriers.  It's the "loud and enthusiastic" part that makes this different from the common sniffing the ground.  Sometimes the 'dales use their noses to move leaves and dirt around to get a deeper snorfle.  Ya gotta love Airedales!

I think every Airedale who's ever lived with us has snorfled.  How about your Airedales?