Teddy Schafer IN

The Story of Teddy

by Stuart Schafer
6 October 2011

In October 2009, following the death of our beloved Airedale, Sami, after a quiet month, my wife Erin and I decided we needed to bring some excitement back to our lives and share our home with a new dog. We decided we wanted an ‘experienced’ Airedale over a puppy, since it might work better with a young child. We wanted to
help a dog in trouble, since we were still in the dumps with our recent loss. After falling in love with Teddy’s picture on the SOAR website, we contacted Barbara Mann about how to get our new dog.
When we got Teddy, he was three years old, very calm for his age, and coming off an injury to one of his back legs. He had a bad limp that gave him trouble most of the time, however he is an Airedale and he would not let this problem get in the way of long walks and silliness, he just wasn’t as quick as other dogs. One of my favorite early memories of Teddy are the times people would give me strange looks as a three-legged dog would lead the way down the street with Chris in his stroller and me pushing. I always felt I had to explain that it was the dog’s idea. After a year of hard work, his limp had gone away and is only noticeable if he sleeps on that side for an extended amount of time.
Teddy is different from other Airedales in that he is very relaxed dog. Any stranger that comes to our house is surprised that he greets our guests when he awakes from his nap, or when they are leaving, no one gets “at the door service” from this Airedale. Teddy is also patient. He can wait unseen under our one year old, Lucy’s, chair and catch every crumb before it hits the floor. Also, Teddy doesn’t bark at other dogs. We live on a busy walking route, and it is difficult to know if Teddy is inside or outside because we never hear him bark.
Teddy’s favorite pastimes are napping and exercising. His biggest issue is deciding where to nap: inside or outside, his pillow or bed, in the sun or shade; life is full of tough decisions; it is fun to watch him go through his dilemmas and angrily get up and move spots because the prior spot was no longer perfect. Teddy is the only dog I have ever seen that actually sleeps with all four legs straight up in the air like a cartoon. One of his biggest problems is sleeping on the couch, asides from the annoyance, the biggest issue is that he will fall asleep and fall off the couch in the middle of the night. The crashing of a 70 pound dog in a silent house is enough to wake up the deepest sleeper. Upon my return from work every day, Teddy allows me five minutes to get the kids and myself ready to take him on a walk or jog. After that he lets me know it is time to take him out. It is typically easier to comply with his demands as he has trained me well. Once he sees the shoes are on and the baby is ready to go, the most relaxed dog turns into a terror, and will only stop when he has left his property. His only issue on walks is that he likes to go to the bathroom at the same place all the time. The trouble is that his spot is far from our house.
Sharing our home with Teddy has been the most rewarding experience. Teddy is a great friend and a good third parent for our kids. Bringing an injured dog back to his full potential is very rewarding. One must consider the extra work required to have such a great dog. One must also remember that the human burns as much energy as the dog does to get tired. A sleepy dog means you are also sleepy.

Thanks to volunteers Susan and Jim Fox for picking Teddy up from the shelter and Barbara Mann for meeting up with the Fox’s to get Teddy into rescue. A big thanks to the Hostetter’s who fostered and helped Teddy the rest of his journey to his forever home.