Amber-Aire Airedales, Carol Stull,, 570-836-2203

Airedale Care FAQs

15) Make the Bender Promise!

Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, an owner can get to a point in their life where they can no longer care for the canine member of their family. Some family illness, or financial disaster, or other unanticipated event may make it impossible to give your Airedale the care it deserves. If this time ever comes for you, Amber-Aire Airedales is there to help. Please read Bender's story below, and make the Bender promise.

Clause 5 of the contract you sign with Amber-Aire Airedales when you buy your puppy states "Throughout the lifetime of the Airedale, if FOR ANY REASON the Buyer can no longer keep this Airedale, it is to be returned to the Seller/Breeder with the AKC papers."

Why is this clause in your contract? The 'Surrender Form' of Airedale Rescue and Adoption of the Deleware Valley provides the answer. (This is the form owners have to fill out when they hand their dogs over to that Airedale rescue organization.) It states:

"NOTE: Please notify the breeder, if available, before surrendering to rescue. All good, responsible breeders will want to take back any dog they've bred, regardless of age, for the privelege of placing that dog in a suitable new home themselves."

They are correct. But it is you, the owner, that has to do the right thing.

In my thirty years of breeding I have gotten back six adult dogs; coincidentally two in this last week of February 2014. One of these returns had a happy ending, the other didn't. This is ...


Last Sunday I took back an almost-eight-year-old Airedale who has now gone to his third loving home. He was given up by his first owner at age five, due to the owners illness and his inability to care for him. I found him another wonderful home. Unfortunately illness struck again. His new owner was a single Mom with an elderly live-in mother. The mother had a stroke and her daughter instantly became a care giver as well as a working mom. This second time around, the Airedale was not with me long enough for him to dry from his grooming and bath, before his new family showed up to meet and immediately adopt him. I spoke with them today and they are thrilled with him. This Airedale's three owners are a perfect example of 'the right thing to do'! Ironically the Airdale's first name was 'Lucky'.

'Lucky' with his third family, Clark and Linda Van Orden. (They've chosen to call him 'Kelvin', the name his second owner gave him.)

Bender's story will break your heart.

First I would like to thank Cindy Johnstonbaugh for picking up Bender. I've worked with Delaware Valley Rescue and know how indispensable foster care givers are. When Cindy took possession of Bender, she could see that he had not been groomed in at least six months. He stank, was filthy dirty, had hot spots, and had a mass on his right hind leg near his rectum. Cindy said there was no sign of toys or a dog bed in the home; all she was given was a metal tin of dry food and his vet records.

One of Bender's active hotspots. It had been bleeding freely when I picked him up and before I groomed him and treated it.

As soon as I got Bender home Friday, up on the grooming table he went. To my horror as I clipped away several inches of hair, the mass grew in size. It was bigger than a baseball and then some, and the anus was definitely involved. After he was nice and clean and, I'm sure, feeling better than he had in a long time, he walked into my house and instantly got along with everyone; both humans and my dog pack of six. Bender was a sweet, gentle, loving dog.

I had made a vet appointment for Bender Wednesday evening but after spending the night with him, I realized he needed to be seen sooner. Thankfully we got an appointment for 11:15 Saturday morning.

Bender's tumor viewed from the back. It is clear he can no longer completely control his stool.

When the vet saw the mass as Bender stood on the scale she said "Oh my god, that's huge". During the examination there was no option for surgery as she said the anus would have to be removed. The internal exam confirmed that the mass on the inside was almost as big as the mass on the outside. She also confirmed that it had to be very uncomfortable for the dog, and he had feces running out of his rectum.

Bender's tumor from the side. How could an owner ignore this?

We all made the decision to end his suffering. He died in my arms. I cannot tell you how heartbroken I was that a beautiful, sweet puppy I sold to someone almost ten years ago, could have been neglected like this over such a long period.

The owner told Cindy she realized she should have given him up five years ago when she got divorced because she really didn't have the money to care for him.

When we studied the medical records in detail we found that on 3/25/2010 Bender's tumor was first reported to the vet as having been there "for 3-6 months." But his tumor was not removed until 4/11/2011, thirteen months later! On 10/27/2011 he was back "lethargic ... seems painful in hips." On 1/26/2012 he was back at the vet again, and there was "stool stuck to tail." On 9/20/2013 Bender was back again. The vet noted that the "mass ... removed several years ago has returned within the last 1.5 years" and that the "rectal mass [is] pressing on the left anal area."

At this point Bender's vet record is annotated "client asks we not call for update because she sleeps during day and PM is full. She will call us if there's a problem."

That was the last visit Bender had with a vet until I brought him to my veterinarian five months later on 2/22/2014.


I could have re-homed Bender five years ago with a caring owner who would have addressed the tumor issue long before it got to the point of no return. I keep in touch with all of my puppy buyers, at the very least with a Christmas card every year. But this family moved and never contacted me with their new address and phone number. The daughter e-mailed me on January 23, 2014. I called her back on the 24th and told her I absolutely would take the dog back. The daughter emailed me twice more, but never let me know where they lived. In the last email I was simply informed the owner had "made other arrangements."

Perhaps the owners had become embarrassed at the thought of returning Bender to his breeder in the state to which he had deteriorated.

Thankfully, I was able to learn of Bender's whereabouts by posting an APB on Facebook. Cindy contacted me immediately that she was about to take possession of a ten year old Airedale. It turned out to be Bender and I took responsibility for him. His last vet visit, euthenasia, and cremation cost me $145.

I am grateful that it was me he was the last to see, that I held him, spoke softly to him, and let my tears flow freely as he slipped away. At the very end he was loved. I did what the owners could not bring themselves to do; the right thing!

If you ever find yourself unable to care for your Airedale. Please, PLEASE, in memory of Bender, make the Bender promise, and contact me for help. I am only a phone call away.

Groomed, cared for and loved, Carol and Bender during his last visit to the vet.