Young Doreen with Airdale Terrier
​Whiskers (An Airedale Terrier) & Me
My grandparents lived in Pennsylvania and had 17 children, counting grandpa’s 5 from his first marriage. After becoming widowed he married my grandmother; Grandpa and was an avid hunter (likely by necessity with so many mouths to feed!). He hunted bear in Pennsylvania and had 3 Airedales, Pat, Sport and Pooch. From all I've been told they were wonderful dogs with fearless hearts that treed many a bear in those Pennsylvania hills but then I'm sure you knew that they were wonderful when I mentioned that they were Airedales. I never knew where that first pack of Airedales came from, but I know they started a tradition in my family spanning 5 generations to date with several of my grandchildren also growing up with an Airedale as their family dog.
When I was about 9 or 10 years old and THE dog lover in our family of 7, I begged and pleaded for a dog. After much reasoning on just why we needed a dog, my mother finally agreed saying, "If we get a dog it's going to be an Airedale!" I had no idea what an "Airedale" was but went to the family set of World Book Encyclopedia purchased by my parents from the salesman who had come to the door one day with the promise of the lifetime gift of knowledge that would make their children among the smartest kids in town (of the 5, it worked for 1 – yours truly). Not only was I the dog lover but also the bookworm of the family and wanted to learn more about this breed of dog I had been told about but never actually seen. To this day I have no idea how, but my father located a litter of Airedale puppies not far from our town that would be ready to go home on Christmas Day! I'm sure you can imagine my level of total happiness and pre-adolescent joy which was quickly replaced with sorrow at the bad news, the puppy would cost $100 which was much too much to spend on just one of the 5 children for Christmas. My father struck me a deal, "you earn $50 and I'll give you $50". I washed cars, swept our garage, cleaned house, babysat and begged. Each time I had money to contribute, I would give it to my father and he would place it in the white envelope clearly and boldly marked "Dodie's Puppy" in the SAFE! The safe was a very sacred place for storing the family valuables and still is although my dad has been gone for over 10 years. This spring, the “safe” will make its’ way to my house and I could not be happier to have this piece of family history. I remember my dad telling me when I was a young adult just how to open the safe, he shared this with me as the most trusted child in the group….I later learned there were 4 other most trusted children with the secret to open the safe and I knew that my dad had the remarkable gift to make each of his 5 children feel like the special one although he loved us all the same.
The day before Christmas, we took the envelope from the safe to count the money. Imagine my disappointment to realize that after much saving and so much hard work, I was about $2 shy of my share; there would be no Christmas puppy after all, no puppy to adorn with a big red velvet Christmas bow, no sweet puppy posing perfectly in front of the Christmas tree for those special pictures. There’d be no rambunctious puppy to run and play with me in the snow. No little puppy to sleep by my bed, to chew on the furniture or to pee on the floor. In our house, a deal was a deal. My father, my hero, my Korean War hero dad with “USMC” proudly tattooed on his arm, the tough guy being the best dad in the whole wide world, once again came to my rescue, saving his youngest daughter from certain heartbreak by approving the much-needed $2.00 loan! I’m sure I barely slept that special Christmas Eve, not for peeking down the stairs or out of my bedroom window to catch a glimpse of Santa passing in front of the full Christmas moon, but in anticipation of this long-awaited puppy! I had not identified his name, of course you’d have to see him to know; I was certain his personality would reveal the name that was meant just for him.
On that crisp western New York Christmas morning my dad and I drove to the farm together in his Blue over white Ford pickup truck, it was a treat to be daddy’s girl and have this special Christmas morning errand to run with him in the truck. When we arrived at the farm on the hill we went to the barn to pick the perfect puppy. Picking the perfect pup was serious business as this pup had to be the best, the cutest and smartest I could find. As adorable puppies scattered about, they all were perfect, but I just knew I would know when I saw “Him”. It turned out the runt found me and came up to me for a pet and a secret look that begged to be taken home. He was the sweetest, the calmest and most adorable ever! I named him Whiskers and it fit him perfectly! The tiny puppy learned quickly about peeing on the floor and we had some serious discussions about mothers’ expectations. As we grew up together, we spent wonderful days playing and romping in the yard and taking long walks and hikes in the woods. My parents never had to worry about me with Whiskers by my side as he had proven to be my protector and the guardian of our family home. The days turned into weeks and then months and the months to years; Whiskers was my constant and most loyal companion through it all from failed baseball tryouts, to spats with my siblings and boys, Whiskers was always there to listen and to catch a fallen tear. When I was grown, and Whiskers gone from this earth but never far from my heart, I just knew that one day I would have another Airedale Terrier. Of course, when my granddaughter begged for a dog my words to her were, "If we get a dog it's going to be an Airedale!" I chuckled to myself as she headed off to the modern version of the World Book Encyclopedia, Google….
I recently took a few pictures of a puppy I delivered to my hometown sitting in the same chair where Whiskers cut his teeth so many years ago; the chair still wears those scars from that long ago puppy. I flew that puppy to Rochester and stayed in my mother’s house with him until his family picked him up the next day and relived the joy of seeing a nice young couple experience the elation of receiving that puppy in the same kitchen I had brought Whiskers home to on that long-ago Christmas morning. There were so many memories in that house, when I looked to the backyard I could see Whiskers shoveling the snow with this his nose like a plow and gleefully throwing it to the sky and I was also reminded of the day while my mother was at work and I bathed Whiskers in her special Jean Nate bubble bath and groomed him with her sewing shears - now that would have been a picture to have today!
When I got the puppy for my granddaughter I failed to do good research and picked a breeder too fast. I was so excited to present our granddaughter with that puppy that I jumped and found myself holding a tiny puppy who was infested with fleas for the 2-hour drive home. I later found that she was full of parasites and could have become very sick had we not rescued her when we did. I could not get her bathed and to the vet fast enough! As it turned out she is a wonderful dog and our legacy here at Pilot’s Acres. I vowed then and there that if I ever fulfilled my lifelong desire to breed Airedale Terriers that my puppies would be the best and I would do the absolute best for any puppies produced at Pilot’s Acres and we have done just that. Our pups are sweet, socialized, healthy and clean. We are with them 24/7 with loads of contact and cuddling. For those times we can’t be in the room with them, they are monitored by camera. Our pups are personality tested to match our buyers to the best puppy for each unique circumstance and we remain available to you long after you take that baby home with a return message or phone call typically in less then 30 minutes. Our puppies are part of our family for a lifetime and you can read that in our reviews at Pilot’s Acres on Facebook. While we continue to improve our kennel and property as well as our genetic lines, some things will never change and that is our dedication to our pups and their families.

Visit us at Pilot’s Acres to have a look around and to find available pups! You can join our waiting list here. We look forward to meeting you!

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