March Saturday the 14th

Posted to AireSuppport on March 16,2008

So many lives he had, so many lives he touched.  His death worked out like the folding of an origami.  He saw the beach for the last time in the morning.  Came to the shop for a few hours. 

At three pm went home, laid down together while we waited, the hardest part, until 6pm.  The vet and tech helped me carry him out in his blanket, I gave them both corn muffins, they left.  Then went out and buried him myself, not a tear, just celebration and a feeling of great light.

I know am in a parallel universe.
The irony of no supporting friend being able to come because of their own grief
turned out to be a great blessing.

Everything was as it should have been, just me and Duncan.
Today was the day he came to me 13 years ago.

Yesterday was Friday the 13th.
The house is so very quiet.
He was three chambers of my heart.
Poor Abyssa, his cat, I wish I could explain to her.

Susan Alon


....the Carey Grant of Airedales
who came to me when he was 16 months old

He was almost fifteen.
We did many house visits for Airedales coming and going on the shoreline and many more were adopted from Barbara after meeting him, because Duncan was so very special.

Duncan and I  bonded instantly and the aggression he 'did not have' came roaring out.  He was very intimidating so off-leash training was essential for the beach community. He was an off leash Airedale, trained by Vicki Hearne, [actually her husband as she was too ill then]

We were inseparable.  He went everywhere and everyone knew him,
but he was aloof and usually disinterested except for his close friends.
He loved the sunroof so he could stick his head out.  I could leave the windows open and a million dollars cash on the seat.  Woe to anyone who came near the car.
I am a solo woman and our bonds grew stronger year by year.
Living alone was not living alone with Duncan.
At the last his age and infirmities overtook him.

He had cheated death many times before.
In December of 2006 they found a tumor in his spleen and gave him 2 to 6 weeks.
There was grief, like Medea hurling curses to the gods.
I started making pots of chicken soup, by June no tumor.

His larygeal flap paralysis was making his breathing more labored as he aged.
In fact his grave was dug in November of 2008,  when he had another attack and I thought it was time.  When he saw the grave he just walked away with his cat and that was that, I called the vet not to come.

We had an extra 4 months, not the easiest, but each day a blessing.
He was one of Barbara's first placements and the best bred ever to come through rescue.  My, he was handsome.  I could not take my eyes off of him.

I am so cheered by all the emails from the posting, it has really helped.
Thank you so much for letting me spout a little.

Tolerated his many Persian cats  [I do Persian rescue also] but had a special bond with the Abyssinian who came feral before Katrina, Abyssa Khan, the Beast.
She adored him, even when he growled in her face she shrugged and walked away.  She walked with him, rubbed against him, licking his beard and walking under him, side to side or front to back.

Susan Alon

Fourteen years ago I placed Duncan with Susan. He came to me from a person who spotted from an interstate highway a dog tied to a tree out in the snow off in the distance. After a couple of days of it bothering her, she took time off work to leave early so she could try to figure out how to reach the place, which meant figuring out which exit and then roads to make her way back to the house. She spent a lot of time doing that, and finally came upon the house. She asked the man about the dog and he said, "Take the damn thing, if you want him."

The woman had no way to care for a dog but she knew she couldn't leave him there, the snow was plowed high and the man could no longer actually get to the dog, he just threw food in that direction. She put him in her car and drove to a vet's office and he was taken in and they then found me. Duncan lived with Susan all these years as a most beloved companion (and he wasn't an easy dog).

I'm thinking about that kind woman who made a great effort to help a dog 14 years ago in the dead of winter. She didn't even know he was an Airedale, he was just a brown blur as she drove down the interstate. But she took the time to follow her heart.

There's another piece of his history that I like to tell.  Susan loves cats and also rescues the hardest cases.  She had a cat 13 years ago that had lived its life in a small box so its leg muscles were atrophied.  It simply wouldn't try to walk.  Duncan befriended it and gently nudged it along from the back, and later the cat only wanted to be where Duncan was so he would walk very slowly and the cat would limp along behind, and eventually the cat could walk and run, but only if Duncan led the way.  Its own physical therapist!

Barbara Curtiss


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Airedale Information

The ATCA Rescue & Adoption Committee fulfills the Airedale Terrier Club of America, Inc. ("ATCA") obligation to protect and advance the interests of the breed by providing services to lost, abandoned, abused or unwanted purebred Airedale Terriers.
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