Ann Osburn’s two rescued Airedales, Paige (left) and Willow.
GODFREY — For Ann Osburn, there’s no reason not to have an Airedale terrier.
“They are the king of terriers with all the attitude of a terrier,” Osburn said. “They’re extremely stubborn and can be very energetic, but they are also very sweet.”
Osburn is a volunteer with ATRA — Airedale Terrier Rescue and Adoption — and doesn’t just talk the talk. She owns two rescued Airedales.
“I went with Airedales because the Airedale mix I have is one of the coolest dogs I’ve ever had,” Osburn said. “Airedales are very vocal dogs to begin with but I’ve never had a dog talk to me as much as she does.”
One of her dogs, Paige, is 13 1/2 years old and has lupus and cancer. Osburn brought in Willow, now 2, so the older dog could help train the young one.
“Willow is an absolute character,” Osburn said. “Paige has done a wonderful job training her.”
Osburn started volunteering with the organization about four years ago and was briefly its state coordinator. Health reasons forced her to drop that position, but she continues to volunteer and promote the organization, including a June fundraiser in Missouri.
“It’s one of their three annual fundraisers and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to ATRA,” Osburn said. “We’ll be selling raffle tickets for a walnut bench from DNC Resources in Dow.”
Osburn said she was grateful for a recent $400 donation to ATRA from the Grandpa Gang’s Christmas Wonderland fundraiser.
Vendors, including an equine therapist and Steve Tharp of blueShadow Photography in St. Louis, will be there. Treats Unleashed Food Truck will offer high-quality, all-natural pet food and treats.
ATRA covers 13 states in the Midwest plus the province of Ontario, Canada. Osburn’s area is Springfield south to the bottom of Illinois. In 2014, the organization took in 94 dogs, adopting out all of them plus three dogs not placed previously. Several years ago, 244 dogs were brought in.
“The numbers are going down every year because we’re letting people know that Airedale terriers aren’t for everyone,” Osburn said.
Scared, abused, sick or healthy, the organization takes them all. When Osburn gets a call that a dog is being surrendered or has been found, she informs the 13 state coordinators. All dogs are given a health check, which might include vaccinations or even surgery.
Locally, Osburn uses Dr. Robert Formea in Alton. When the dogs are ready to be boarded, she takes them to Rowens Kennels in Brighton.
“I visit them daily, walk them and observe them,” Osburn said. “Once I’ve made my assessment, I let the state coordinators aware of any temperament issues or behavior that might need modification.” This could take anywhere from three weeks to several months.
“Our objective is to adopt the dog out,” she said. “We’re careful who gets the dog. You might not be the best family for the dog or it might not be the best dog for the family. We try to do the best we can for them.”
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 13
Westinn Kennels Training Center, 1522 Swantner Road, Wentzville, Mo.
$3 admission includes a simple lunch and a door prize raffle ticket
Leashed dogs with proof of rabies shot are welcome