Carol Vanderlaan

Hi, I’m Carol Vanderlaan. My father introduced me to Airedales when I was a child because he wanted his family to enjoy what he (and later I) considered to be magnificent creatures. There’s something unique about their intelligence and independence, and yet they have an entertaining, almost clownish side that makes them utterly irresistible.

When my husband’s job took us to Texas, I worked with Airedale Rescue in the Fort Worth area doing home visits, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I used to say that I could tell by their homes if prospective adopters were worthy of a ‘Dale! Now that we’re retired, we live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in a dog-friendly condo with floor to ceiling windows that allow our two “fur” kids – Cricket, an Airedale, and Stormy, a Portuguese Water Dog, a clear view of the park across the street.

We adopted Cricket from SOAR after my husband fell in love with her on the Internet. When no one was available to transport her to us, we drove to the northeastern part of Arkansas and picked her up ourselves. Although Stormy wasn’t thrilled about sharing us with this newcomer, that quickly changed. Now they’re inseparable, the best of friends, where one goes, the other goes too.

I began volunteering with SOAR in 2011, doing home visits again. And I enjoyed them as much as ever. Except for one occasion. This potential adopter lived in a tiny shack with a yard fenced on only two of its three sides. Lying in the yard was a large, heavy chain. Despite his insistence that he wouldn’t chain the dog to it, I didn’t believe him. Coupled with the fact that he had no money, I recommended his application be refused.

Nothing pleases me more than seeing Airedales adopted by people who truly love and appreciate the breed – and want them for all the right reasons. Especially that Airedale brand of humor. One of my childhood ‘Dales would “punish” us for leaving the house by going to the basement, taking only the underwear out of the clothes chute, and strewing it all over the house! A friend’s ‘Dale opens all of the kitchen cupboards (complete with childproof locks) just to show her that she can.

Our Cricket performs with a golf club (a wood). When she noticed it propped up in a corner of my friend’s living room, she checked the club out curiously, then started pawing the carpet, barking and doing the crouch/play stance again and again.

You’ve got to love a breed with a sense of humor!