To know an Airedale is to love an Airedale. Sometimes you would think that they are human; expecting them to utter words at any moment. The more I read about them the more I realize that many of their “personality” traits are traits common to their breed. I have to believe though that Maggy was unique. At only eight years old, she was taken from the world way too early after fighting a brief illness; a battle she could not win.
In life there wasn’t a rabbit or squirrel that was safe on the ground. Each morning on her walks she would examine every sign post, tree trunk and fire hydrant as if she were reading the morning paper. Never short on love or opinions she expressed herself through her eyes; everything from pure joy to utter disgust. It was easy to tell when the wheels were turning, preparing for her next antic.
Maggy loved to travel, both on foot and by car. Admired by many sitting in the back seat of her convertible with goggles on, she was always ready for the next adventure. Trips to the coffee shop generally resulted in a treat (depending on who was working that day) which she enjoyed with gusto. If no treat was visible that meant (to her) that it must be in the coffee cup; and pure disappointment when that wasn’t the case. Never to fear though, if it was Saturday morning, that meant that Miss Joanie would be at her booth of freshly baked goodies at the neighborhood Farmers’ Market. But there was a secret, Miss Joanie also had Airedales and a soft spot in her heart for Maggy so there would always be a treat waiting there. One Saturday morning the adventure started before the market was open but we went to the coffee shop anyway. Maggy was sure that Miss Joanie would be there and we walked to her normal spot but there was no Miss Joanie. At Maggy’s insistence, we walked another block; way beyond where she would normally be and still no Miss Joanie. We walked back and tried to head home but Maggy wasn’t going to give up that easily. She sat down. After some prodding and the promise of a treat as SOON as we got home, Maggy finally conceded. We hadn’t walked ten steps before a white van rolled around the corner; a van occupied by Miss Joanie, her husband and Maggy’s treat. How would Maggy ever trust me again?
One of our Saturday morning strolls to the Farmers’ Market included a stop at the ATM. It was a drive-through ATM but in our little neighborhood with the Farmers Market right there, we weren’t the only ones in the drive through ATM line who were on foot. I put my bank card in the slot as I always do and entered my pass code. Hving completed my part of the transaction, we both waited expectantly on the little door to open and dispense cash (a treat)? Well no treat came out but it surprised me more than a little to think that Maggy thought it would/should. Maybe she is on to something there.
Stubborn? Well maybe strong willed is a better term. The walks home often ended in a debate at the quiet five point intersection in the neighborhood. Often Maggy would be standing in the middle of the intersection at the very end of her leash with collar pulled up under her ears and that determined look in her eyes; she wanted to go to the park and we wanted to go home. Maggy knew how to choose her battles; win a few, let someone else win a few and everyone gets along. One exception may be the times when you were working at the desk or with a computer in your lap. There was no question when it was time to stop because you would either experience a nose nudging the underside of your forearm, which you could put off for a time; or you got the finale – the head laid squarely on the keyboard.
While in some ways, her wants, needs and likes were simple, her personality was complex. She loved ears; sitting on the floor with her was an invitation to a free ear wash, and in turn she loved nothing more than having hers rubbed as she would groan in pure pleasure. She seemed to understand emotions around her and feared storms when not wearing her Thundershirt. I don’t think I realized how much this Airedale touched my life until she was gone. While she is gone, she will never be forgotten. I am so glad that there is a place here where her story can be shared and she can be remembered and I hope that one day in the future I will rub her ears again.