Fozzie was a runner. It was his running away that got him into Rescue.
As a young pup, he ran away in small town West Virginia. There, he was hit by a pickup truck. The very poor, impoverished animal shelter there, literally picked him up off of the roadside and took him to the vet.
That vet did him the biggest favor of his life. He neutered him while he took x-rays and decided that the hit pup needed extensive surgery on his R hip joint where he had been hit. He patched him up and called the shelter. They would have normally told him to put the pup down, but they already owed him for the neuter surgery, etc. Instead, they called ATRA. Sandi Sprankle drove for 6 hours each way from near Akron, OH to the town in West Virginia and took him into rescue.
Sandi took him to her vet in Wadsworth, OH and he did the Femoral Head Osteotomy on Fozzie's smashed R ball of the hip joint. The pickup had smashed the ball of the ball and socket joint beyond repair. ATRA paid the bill.
Sandi had a house full of "Seniors" and the infirm, so when Fozzie was beyond being crated and leash walked in his recovery, we, having young boys, took him for fostering and rehabilitation at our house. With our pack, he thrived.
Working with ATRA and other rescue groups, Sandi spear headed a fund raiser for the shelter that saved Fozzie and had done the right thing by calling upon Airedale Rescue to take care of him. At Thanksforgiving of 2002, we went to West Virginia with Sandi and Don to help deliver to the shelter the several hundred dollars, and two vans and a trailer full of animal feed, blankets, towels, and other things needed by the shelter. This had been raised as a thank you to the shelter from Airedale Rescue and other rescue groups in Ohio and around the USA for having done the right thing by Fozzie and placing the call to his breed rescue so they could do their job and help him. It made a lasting impression upon the staff of this impoverished shelter.
Fozzie always wanted to be in charge, and was a talker. Moans and groans and he barked a lot in a high pitched yip that went right through your head. He was neutered too young. His voice had not changed and when he was neutered, he still, mostly had his puppy coat.
At our house, with the Deerfield House Pack, he was at the bottom of the pecking order. He had Sir Miles Doo Bop, Andy IV, and Sir Adam Farnsworth Billion, in that order, to cope with and Miles was not stepping aside for a new young gun just because he thought HE should be in charge of the pack.
At Deerfield House, Fozzie needed to be taken out of doors on lead. He would NOT stay with the others around the house. His runner genes would not let him just settle for being with the pack.
Sandi found a home in Northern OH with another Airedale and we placed him there.
When we got back from our trip to Australia, we found out that Fozzie was growling at the infant grandchild who was crawling about the house. We were NOT going to let Fozzie get into trouble due to biting a child. We reclaimed him. We reprogrammed him. And Fozzie became a permanent member of the Deerfield House Pack. We were very surprised at how big, strong, and handsome he had grown to be from the scruffy floppy eared pup we had fostered.
At our house, Fozzie learned to be LAST but wanted to be FIRST. He became a wonderful, loving, boy.
He recently stopped running and could enjoy his freedom in the woods immediately around Deerfield House. He learned to listen and do what we asked of him with just a little grumbling from time to time. He came to appreciate the freedom that came with being dependable and reliable.
2 years ago, in a routine blood test for his pre-anesthesia physical, he flunked the test. Liver enzymes out of whack. Dr. Schwartz took x-rays and saw enlarged organs and told me that he suspected that Fozzie had metastasized cancer through out his abdomen. Liver, pancreas, spleen seemed enlarged. I thought about it and sent his blood serum to LA for testing. Bingo! Fozzie was another Plechner Syndrome boy. Series of injections, then oral meds, and he was fine. We had balanced him out and aside from his ongoing food sensitivities and being pukey from time to time, he was doing AOK.
We knew that his liver and pancreas had been damaged by the undiscovered inflammation caused by the excessive adrenal estrogen in his system. The damage was apparently more than we thought.
He could not survive this pancreatitis attack.
Fozzie is our last and final direct link with Annette Hall and her work with ATRA. Sir Miles II, Arliss, and Winston the Visitor have come to us via post Annette ATRA and via SOAR. He was the last of our pack to remember Sandi and Don's Jake. Jake was the first Airedale that Sandi got from ATRA.
Annette Hall had a very simple saying that she taught me about rescue. "Once a rescue, always a rescue." Fozzie's life is the full example of this saying. His original owners could not, or did not, meet their covenant with him and protect him. Others had to take over and do that job for Fozzie. They picked him up off of the roadside and took him for medical care. They placed the right phone call to the right people when they needed to. Other people met their covenants and effected his rescue, got him medical care, nursed him to health, and put him into the best homes that they could find. Those homes had people in them that understood their covenant with their rescue animal that they were caring for and communicated when they were having issues with his care. His foster family met their covenant with him and reclaimed him to fix him and protect him as best they could for the rest of his life. Rescuers don't own these animals; they accept their covenant with them to protect and care for them to the best of their ability for the full life of these animals that never asked to be born and only want love, food, shelter and proper care.
There will soon be two more stones beneath the large white oak tree in front of Deerfield House. Andy IV and Fozzie Bear will lie there beside Rally, Andy III, Sir Miles Doo Bop, and Sir Adam Farnsworth Billion.
We are going to miss our West Virginia mountain boy very very much. He was a wonderful Airedale boy. Make a spot for him Annette, so he can play with Sir Miles and the rest of the pack that he learned to play from and with.
Fozzie as a pup, very shortly after his Rescue Mom, Sandi Sprankle drove for hours to and from W. VA from Wadsworth, OH to save him from death in a poor impoverished shelter there. It was after this, that he had the FHO surgery and we subsequently took him for rehab and fostering after his surgery. We placed him in a home in OH, but reclaimed him and kept him due to some training issues that we had to fix.
A very recent photo of him doing what he loved about best, sleeping at my feet so he would know when I moved.
Kirk Nims, Mike Billion, Sandi Sprankle, Don Brighenti
Fozzie Bear's Rescue family